Why Knowing Individual Energy Cost is Important
Energy planning is a term that is usually used on a large scale, where large corporations and national governments develop a long term and sustainable strategy to provide economically viable energy. However, like the simpler “energy management”, the term can also be simply used to generally refer to any kind of action that would reduce, or at least economize, consumption of energy in a small establishment.
But as much as we want renewable and passive energy systems and to be included in our energy saving plans, we must always start first with the basics. It is important to learn more about the energy costs of your individual appliances and devices first before moving to a more advanced energy strategy, and here are some of the reasons why:
- You can have a mental check of the general consumption rate of your home. Knowing how each appliance eats up energy makes us more conscious about our home’s energy consumption rate in general. As soon as you learn the exact energy cost of your TV, A/C unit and computer for example, it would really hard to ignore them (at least for a considerable number of people), and you would always have a mental image of a ticking meter as each appliance continues to work by the hour.
- It provides you with a way to know if your usage of the device/appliance is inefficient. As soon as you see the wattage of the appliance or device, you can easily know if it is efficient or not, by simply equating the number of hours that you use it and the actual live wattage at each unit time with the “productivity” that it holds. For example, we can say that a 500-watt steamer that is set to “warm” mode for more than an hour after cooking the food is inefficient, simply because it continues to use the same amount of energy while it no longer does its intended purpose.
- Individual energy cost data allows you to set a target energy cost per month. Of course, if you know the individual cost of each appliance and device, you would now have a clear idea on how much energy you have to spend in a single time frame. Each watt-hour of energy would correspond to an allocated energy “allowance” for a single appliance. You can then easily balance individual consumption rates by using the determined energy cost “allowance” as a guide. As long as the protocols and rules that you developed are followed strictly, controlled energy consumption can be achieved without the help of computers at a considerably good degree.
- You can be a lot more conscious about the general energy consumption of commonly used technologies. This is mostly knowledge and “mind food” based advantage, but I believe that this is also equally important as the others. For example, if you know that your Plasma HDTV’s are huge energy eaters, then perhaps next time you would opt for a TV technology that would be a lot more energy efficient. Why go for a 70-watt electric fan when you can cool yourself in the summer heat just as well using a 40-watt one?
Remember, to determine the kWh (kilowatt-hour) value of appliances and devices, you must first divide the wattage value into 1000 before multiplying it by the number of hours it will be used (kWh = (W/1000) x hours). Power rates printed on labels and boxes are just rough estimates though, so if you really want to see live wattage value, you’ll have to use a wattmeter or a commercial integrated measuring device like a KIll-a-Watt. (Especially for appliances that constantly change power consumption rates like A/C units)
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