Hi, Alex here from the SwitchHop team. For you early adopters of SwitchHop: thanks so much for taking part. We’re really excited to have you on board. And just wait – there’s some awesome features in the pipeline that’ll be released shortly.
We’re also working to bring you lots of valuable content to help you get the most of our current version of the toolset. So, one area we can add value is to get you thinking about how your everyday behaviour affects power usage (and bill).
To demonstrate this, I’m going to use my home’s usage from yesterday (Sunday) compared to the Sunday before it. Last Sunday, I only used 11 kWh while yesterday, I used 20 kWh. What gives?
Step One: Compare Hydro Consumption Between the Two Days
First things first, let’s look at the two days together. Below is a screenshot from my SwitchHop account.
The blue line represents my house’s power usage yesterday while the grey line represents the previous Sunday. It’s important to use the same day of the week so that you’re looking at apples to apples (no worries, our tool does that automatically for you). Sunday’s usage signature would look a lot different than Tuesday’s, for example.
You can see that the big discrepancy is the huge morning spike and then the late afternoon spike, which both occurred yesterday.
Step Two: Behaviour
Alright, so now we can see where yesterday differed from the previous Sunday. The next step is understanding what created the differences.
There’s three people that live at my house (four if you include my pug, Tony):
- My wife
- My son (2 yrs old)
The weather was pretty consistent between the two days (so it wasn’t much of a factor).
Explaining Hump #1
Yesterday, between 7 am (where the spike starts) and 10 am (where it starts to come down), we used a lot of power compared to the Sunday before. What happened?
Well, the difference is what didn’t happen. The night before last Sunday, there was a charity ball that my wife and I attended. Our son slept over at his grandparent’s house. You can probably see where this is going…
At the ball, I had a
bazillion couple drinks. With no son to wake us up at 6:30 the next morning, we snoozed longer than usual. The result? No power being used in the morning.
Now, let’s contrast that peaceful morning with what happened yesterday in the same time frame:
7 a.m. - 8 a.m.
- lights on all over
- electric kettle to make oatmeal for son
- blender making smoothies
- electric stove making eggs and refried beans (the magical fruit, the more you eat ‘em, the more you…)
8 a.m. - 9 a.m.
- load of laundry goes on
- dishwasher goes on
9 a.m. - 10 a.m.
- load of laundry goes into dryer
- another load goes in washer (now both are running simultaneously)
- beans kick in, family disowns me and turns on every fan in the house (joking, joking (about the fans, anyways) )
- toaster used for son’s snack
You can begin to see how our collective behaviour affects power usage.
Explaining Hump #2
What about that second afternoon spike? Easy to explain.
Yesterday, there was a family dinner (not at our house) and we cooked an appetizer to bring. We also put the second load of laundry in the dryer during that timeframe. The two behaviours produced that spike.
This also explains yesterday’s low-point that follows the second hump.
Since we didn’t cook dinner and weren’t home during that time, there’s no “dinner spike” like there was the previous Sunday.
Step Three: Lessons Learned
What lessons can be learned by looking back at my usage yesterday versus the Sunday before? Well there’s some obvious ones:
- Doing laundry (especially running your dryer) should be done when power is cheapest because it’s an absolute hog
- Sleeping in is good for energy conservation :)
- Might be time to start considering a gas stove…
At the end of the day, the value of this exercise is to be aware of how my behaviour drives power consumption. Am I going to avoid eating because my stove uses so much energy? Absolutely not!
But, I may be more conscious of unnecessarily running kitchen appliances or leaving a couple lights on. It sounds cheesy, but being conscious of all this stuff will start making you smarter about your usage.
On a similar note, I would like to point out that I’m kicking the rest of my colleagues’ butts in average consumption! Check out this screenshot from my SwitchHop interface:
The blue bubble is what I’ve used so far this month and the green bubble is the average of what they’ve used. Slackers :)