Energy-wise, can we get more from what is currently available? Certainly we can! As consumers, in order for this to happen, though, per-capita consumption must be less. When per-capita consumption is less, then whatever energy is produced is able to go farther.
During summer months when temperatures climb, energy use can go through the roof. When this happens, the load (or demand) on the supply is higher compared to times of the year when energy usage is less. The less of a load there is the more the energy savings. So let’s see what’s going on energy-usage-wise in the home.
I use my own energy-consumption-usage profile as an example.
In the envelope with my utility bill is a “Home Energy Report” data sheet. The report period in question covers Sept. 11, 2012 to Nov. 7, 2012.
In a household-to-household comparison, according to the report, my energy consumption was 38 percent less compared to similar efficient homes. Other consumption information in the report indicated that my home had an “energy index” of 630 with corresponding qualifying information indicating the energy index combines electricity (kilowatt-hours or kWh) “and natural gas (therms) into a single measurement.”1
In a corresponding scale showed was my home’s usage compared to “Efficient Similar Homes” at 1,013. One additional comparison is made: the “Similar Homes” category which, in this case, has an energy index of 1,585. The “Efficient Similar Homes” and “Similar Homes” designations where clearly defined.
- “Similar Homes: Approximately 100 occupied nearby homes that are similar in size to yours…and have gas heat.”
- “Efficient Similar Homes: The most efficient 20 percent of similar homes.”
On an average day in the report period, indicated was that the highest energy usage in my home occurs between 6 p.m. and 11 p.m.
And, finally, between Jan. and Oct. in a year-over-year comparison, my home used 5 percent less energy in 2012 compared to 2011 and my home “is on pace to use less in 2012.”
What this effectively translates into is that with less per capita energy consumption, my own home is placing less of a load on the energy supply this year compared to last. And, by virtue of this, presumably, the energy supply can then go farther, and therefore, there is additional energy available for other uses without the need to increase capacity. This is how I see it.
The presumption is that if there is no need to increase capacity then whatever way the electricity component is produced, be it nuclear, hydro-electric, wind, solar, geothermal or coal, less environmental impact results.
Presumably the same could be said regarding production of natural gas.
- “My Home Energy Report,” Pacific Gas & Electric Company, Sept. 11, 2012 to Nov. 7, 2012.
– Alan Kandel
This post was last revised on Dec. 31, 2019 @ 8:40 a.m. Pacific Standard Time.