Save Energy Blogs November 2011

Save Energy Families Blogs

November 2011

Our Energy Ambassador Families were asked to complete this first task called "Check The Kitchen" this month, equipped with new OWL CM119 wireless energy monitors.  Here's what the families wrote!


Mandie and her family in Sligo:

"We are Mandie (38), Martin(41), Finn(6) and Fenna(2) and Ayana the French Bulldog who is 5. We were all really excited to take part in the first mission of measuring how many kwh’s our appliances used.  I was super organised when everything arrived but then I was handed a whole load of assignments from my degree course and everything went pear shaped.  Never fear, I managed to get my head to stop spinning long enough to take some readings.  I armed the children with pens and the notepad paper.  Our six year old watched the numbers going up (in some instances too fast ;-)) after starting our appliances up.  Our 2 year old wrote down the numbers, in no particular order, and I made a back-up on another sheet of paper (which got drenched in juice on the table). The results were emailed in quickly in one piece….just.  We completed the first mission and survived 😀"


Berenice and her family also in Sligo

"The courier delivered the OWL wireless electricity monitor on the afternoon of Thursday, 10 November… All excitement in the family as Terry gets to setting up the monitor. We are a family of 5, my partner and I and our 3 children aged 16, 13 and 2 years. Since moving into our new home a few months ago we had set ourselves a target as a family to conserve energy and save money.

Prior to receiving the monitor we had changed most of the light bulbs to energy saving bulbs and kept a few regular light bulbs so that we could monitor the difference in the usage of the different bulbs. When we did our little experiment it was clear that the regular light bulbs had to go! We had also installed a stove into the fireplace area so that we could enjoy more of the heat instead of it going up the chimney. We are in the process of replacing the electric stove with a gas appliance; the electric kettle with a kettle which will be used on top of the gas stove.

Terry then set a maximum usage on the monitor after which the alarm sounds when we go over the pre-set usage. Over the past couple of weeks it has been an eye opener for all of us [even the little one, he pipes up every time the alarm sounds] and we have definitely become more aware of how we use our electricity. The length of the showers we take and just generally the switching on of appliances, etc!"


Michaela and her family live in Wexford:

Such a simple task to complete,the most difficult part being the the actual set up of the rather clever energy monitor! Cue much huffing,puffing and tutting from Alpha Male during said setup ~ but a small price to pay for me, as like most women, I am too impatient, and don't read instructions, trusting my instincts to get me up and running with most things!

The children are most intrigued by the monitor,and have lots of questions,as you can imagine,ranging from:

                                                   ~ how much does our electricity bill cost?

                                                   ~ where does the electric come from?

We positioned the monitor on the kitchen windowsill, and I have found myself checking it  frequently throughout the course of the day, surprised at the seemingly swift establishment of our home's daily routine in the peaks and troughs of use.

We all use electricity,and indeed, depend on it greatly for the smooth functioning of daily life.  It is one of our great privileges in the Western world~but do we take it for granted?

It has been really interesting to watch the monitor clocking up our energy consumption and in the first few days, I had a few perplexing moments when, knowing that there was no major appliance in use, was intrigued to see that it was running at a higher rate than it had been. Then after racking my brains, I realised that it was because of our Geothermal heating system and it was at its busiest time of the 24 hours.

This monitor is great; however much you thought you knew before, it concentates your effort, and indeed, challenges you on a daily basis to see if you can use LESS ~ which can only be a good thing in the times we live in.

The children, at 7 and 9, now check that tv and satellite box are switched OFF when not in use, and they also (after reminding) switch off the ceiling downlighters in the kitchen when we don't really need them on.

Getting back to the task in hand,we decided to put the kettle versus microwave theory to the test.

        ~One mug of water for 2 mins in MICROWAVE used .07kw

        ~(probably a little more than 1 mug) boiled in KETTLE used .14kw

        TOASTER used .07kw in a cycle

We do not use a TUMBLE DRYER.

We are unable to provide readings for the WASHING MACHINE or DISHWASHER.

Due to the expense of installing and running a geothermal heating system, we also have a nightrate electricity meter.We cannot provide readings for the above because we only EVER programme them to come on between 4 and 06.30 am.  Needless to say,we are not up and about to record the usage at the time!

In conclusion, our first task, as I am sure to say of those to come, has been both interesting and thought provoking.

                                              Here's to the next task!

                                      Michaela, Padraic, Michael and Harry


Aine & her family in Dublin
We are a family of 2 parents and 3 kids from 9 years down to 18 months + our Spanish aupair.

We had problems installing the owl (monitor) because our meter (outdoor) has the 3 wires very close together and we had to get an electrician friend to come by and loosen some of the cabling so that we could connect red wire.  Anyway, too much information and we got sorted in the end.  
Hope I'm doing the whole thing right but I'm like a child going around turning things on and off and seeing what happens.  Can't believe the difference it makes to dim the lights in the kitchen or to turn off the PC screen.  Kettle and toaster seem hard on units, but dishwasher and washing machine are relatively low.
Am going to get the kids going with it again tomorrow, try to see how low a reading they can get throughout the day, while getting on with whatever they're doing.  Truth be told it's my husband that needs to have a look at it, or at least turn off some off some of the lights when he's leaving a room!!!!”


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Jill is one of the co-founders of Mykidstime and a mum of 2 girls