Curbing Your Consumption:
Where do I start?
By John Ford
Many people would like to make some changes, but have limited
resources. So which steps could you take now which will give you the
best bang for the buck?
For comparison, one compact fluorescent of 13 Watts replacing a 60
Watt bulb on for 8 hours a day saves $13 per year.
Information on the the National Resources Canada web site lists the
average energy use of appliances by year in kWh:
As you can see, replacing a 20 year old range will not bring big
savings, but a new fridge or freezer would be quite worthwhile. Also
keep in mind that an older fridge or freezer will also have suffered
insulation breakdown, so the numbers today might be as much as 50%
higher. At today's cost of 9.23¢/kWh* it could take 5 to 8
years to pay for a new fridge on energy savings. As electricity rates
rise (expected in the spring) these times will shorten quickly. If
you're using enough to trigger the higher 10.1¢/kWh price, you
might save enough to bring you back under 750 kWh/month, increasing
Also look at reliability. If you listen to CBC radio's appliance
call-in show like I do, you'll know that today's appliances
are made with more plastic parts, are less reliable, and are sometimes
not repairable. Appliances take energy to produce them. If a new
dishwasher only lasts 5 years and needs replacing, there is no
economy, financial or energy-wise. Always do some homework before
buying an appliance to see how reliable it will be.
*Total cost after all charges and taxes.
Ask the Miser
If you would like to see answers here to your questions about energy
consumption, email them to
John Ford is a technology consultant, and owner of a small energy