Clark’s written a bit recently about the irrationality that afflicts nearly everyone’s decisions about energy (see here and here). As a partial antidote, I give you this: Seattle’s super-groovy online energy and resource audit.
Basically, you fill out a short survey about your energy habits and your home’s characteristics. Then, based on your answers, plus your billing history for electricity, water consumption, and garbage you get a customized report detailing how much your household uses—and how much it costs you. Better yet, the report also gives detailed suggestions to improve your efficiency.
It even goes so far as to calculate an estimate cost savings for you. For example, installing newer toilets in my house, circa 1943, would save me $13 to $18 per year. But low flow showerheads would net me savings of $31 to $42. So the “payback period” for a showerhead is around one year. Actually, it’s no time at all, since Seattle is giving them away for free right now.
What’s great about this stuff is that it gets us energy consumers to confront how much we actually pay for our wasteful ways. And when we understand the costs of our consumption, it seems that the costs of our investments in efficiency are pretty darn cheap. Or free. Or they actually put money back in our pockets.
It turns out that the best thing for my greedy self-interest is to do good things for the planet.
The Home Resource Profile, as it’s officially called, is open only to folks who are Seattle City Light customers and who have 10 consecutive months of billing history. I’m willing to bet that other cities have similar programs, but I don’t know of them. But you know of others, send them to me and I’ll post them here.