Energy Diet

There are so many things we can do to improve our homes from a green living perspective. Most of these home improvements are relatively easy, such as replacing the old inefficient lighting technologies we are used to and reducing the amount of light at home that is not needed. For example, in my kitchen there is a place for 24 long light tubes, and we reduced it to eight. I also took home appliances off stand-by mode and enabled a screensaver after one minute on my computer. All actions save money as well as help the environment.

Ali marks his energy diet tasks on the calendar each week.

Ali marks his energy diet tasks on the calendar each week.

As energy costs increase, we are becoming increasingly conscious of our daily energy use. Without accurate and effective monitoring, it is tough to know where to start when it comes to finding ways to reduce my energy bills. A reliable home energy meter is a must for any energy-conscious household.

We have installed a real-time energy metering system on our main distribution board at home, and we have installed one Current Transducer on the first phase and two more CT on all three phases. Now I am getting the full readings for the last 10 days and I can see the trend and the behavior for all electricity consumption. I am shocked at the results: I noticed higher consumption over the weekend and the fact that even when appliances are not in use, I am still consuming power!!!

Now that we’ve had data for around 10 days, the energy-saving consultants will get back to us and provide us with recommendations and action plans. The good thing is that I will be able to measure the impact on the spot… I am so excited to see the results after implementing the recommendations, and I will immediately see some great savings on my home energy bills.

I also found a good digital timer that reduces power consumption by controlling electrical appliances. The only problem is that I need to add a special part so that it works in my house, as it is made for a European home.

I had difficulties in finding filters for my three air purifiers at home, which I need for my children to help reduce their allergies, and when I found them they were expensive. One possible way to get rid of air pollution in the house with a low cost is to keep natural plants like bamboo, which I spread around the house. Another thing I never thought of is sealing doors and windows to prevent heat or cold or even sand from a storm (which we had a month ago) from coming into the house.

Here are a few things I’m learning in the kitchen:
– Covering pans when you heat food prevents heat escaping, and pressure cookers are great energy savers, so use one if you have one. I’m also getting familiar with the amount of water I need to boil for tea or coffee, so that I can be more efficient.
– Planting more food at home, including tomato, strawberry, basil and parsley.
– Started to clean the house with lemon and vinegar. Did you know that lemon juice is the best grease remover, besides acting as a chloride? Call it old-fashioned, but really I got a good result, and it’s comforting to know that it’s 100% pure natural.
– Composting at home is nice. I don’t have to feel guilty and at the same time teach my children the value of food.
– Donated most of my kids’ clothes and toys from when they were in younger age. It really made me happy when I saw my kids giving away some of their favorite good toys.
– I was so pleased to replace my 10-year-old dishwasher with an energy-efficient model. I tried to give my old one back to the same company, but they don’t accept previous models for recycling. Since it is in good condition, I found a big family in need and donated it to them. Also planning to buy a new refrigerator.

Basically our behavior changed at home, and once we are used to it, it will get easier. I am pleased with my family, as they notice the huge difference in my house and try to be like me. Things that they liked best were the solar chargers, solar lanterns and flowers in the garden. I also have a talking bear with my recorded voice on the refrigerator to remind them to close it quickly and to act as an alarm it’s left open. I feel ready to build my own passive house, knowing that we have most of the requirements. I know it will take time, but I know for sure how green I want my house to be.

Comments

  1. Christina
    March 9, 2011, 10:11 am

    Very cool post — ironically, screensavers do not actually save energy, apparently: http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=power_mgt.pr_power_mgt_faq. If you put the computer on hibernate or standby, that should do the trick!

  2. clipton
    March 9, 2011, 11:24 am

    You may want to put some appliances on power switches, which makes it easier to turn them off when not in use.

    Glad to see the kids are getting involved–that’s when behavior change is the easiest.

  3. boudour
    abu dhabi, uae
    March 9, 2011, 1:51 pm

    thanks christina for the tip, and i thought i was doing it right, like i said before, every day there is a new information. as for the kids, i can say that i am really proud of them, they race on writting their name on the board when ever they have done something right,in order to get the golden star.kids getting involved makes the whole chalange more fun.

  4. Tom Sahagian
    NYC
    March 11, 2011, 1:55 pm

    Hi Boudour, long time no talk!

    I’m intrigued to learn more about the electric meter you installed. Also, you mentioned putting CTs on all three phases — do you have 3-phase power in your house? That in itself would suggest your house is in the stratosphere, electiricity-wise.

    The add-on electric meter can be a very useful tool to monitor consumption, but you could probably use your existing utility meter almost as easily, and at no cost.

    In any event, if you can send me the data from the meter I can check it out and make some suggestions for further reductions. Are the data in Excel format by any chance?

    TS

  5. boudour
    Abu Dhabi,UAE
    March 17, 2011, 4:11 am

    hi coach Tom, its been a while, sorry about that. Kindly find below the link and the Eniscope code
    http://www.eniscope.com/
    Access Code : 49775, have fun with the readings, and i am sure that u r right about using my existing utility meter but i really dont know how, also my husband, and i think we r asking the wrong people, but with this company they offered to help us once they knew about our family. and its getting serious, they will visit us by next week to tell us their Recommendation, wish us luck. i am sure i will be taking things out very soon, but lets see what they have to say first.