10 years ago, significant efforts to reduce energy use (kWh and kW) began with a comprehensive energy upgrade. This included addressing insulation defects, additional air and duct sealing, replacing the heating system and AC system, and the addition of efficient appliances.
Bruce and Andrea Ceniceros, and their children, Annika and Kira have all been part of the team effort to manage their energy use in their Sacramento, CA home. In early 2014 two steps, the addition of 3.1 kW PV array and replacing the home's natural gas water heater with a heat pump water heater, contributed to surpassing the home's customized 1000 Home Challenge OPTION B threshold several months sooner than expected.
Congratulations Bruce - what an impressive effort. A 62% reduction in gas, and 100% reduction in electric by my calculations.
Love that the whole family was involved! Very curious how the kids contributed.
I wanted to clarify the difference between the 2014 bar and the THC Option B. I think that the Option B indicates the goal (7765 kWh) to reach the Thousand Home Challenge, whereas the 2014 bar indicates what Bruce and family actually did - a total of 7378 KWh, offsetting all the electrical and some of the gas with the PV and the heat pump water heater. I'm curious how you sized your PV, Bruce, as it looks like you've covered more than electrical and are offsetting some of your gas.
Nickie: I estimate that 15% or more of our energy savings is behavioral, which could not have been achieved without cooperation and buy-in from the whole family. Interestingly, a conversation we had around the dinner table about what it would take to meet the THC goals was the most motivating of anything. The kids really rallied and were great at turning off lights, shortening showers, and other things.
I sized the PV system to achieve net zero electricity including the new heat pump water heater load, but had to make that decision before the WH was installed. It turned out to use much less than I expected, so now we over-generate by around 1,000 kWh/year. We'll just have to buy an EV now!
Yes, Bruce, I think that deciding what you will do to conserve yourself, rather than being told (or nagged) makes a huge difference - so I'm not surprised to hear that your table conversation was very motivating. Now if the kids get involved in some energy conservation school programs they may even make it through those dreaded long-shower teenage years!
Congrats, Bruce!! Very impressive indeed -- and inspiring! I'm overdue to check where we are, but I'm sure we still have a long way to go. Finally got the attic insulated, though, which was one of the last major to-do items to house. Plenty of opportunity still with behavior ...
How old are your kids? Mine (15-1/2) seems to spend half of his waking, at-home hours in the tub and/or shower. :(
Thanks for the congrats, Ann. We are thrilled to have reached the goal, thanks to the motivation of participating in the Thousand Home Challenge.
My two daughters are 8 and 11 and still protest about having to bath. Talk to me when they are both teenagers--their usage will certainly be considerably different, even if the conservation behavior sticks. :)
Congrats Bruce and family! Welcome to the club!
Wow, Bruce! The 79% overall reduction is truly impressive, especially since you have children. I think natural gas reduction is the hardest; everyone loves hot water, and if you have a gas stove, you have no choice for cooking, other than microwaving everything. The heat pump water heater seems to have made a big difference.
Behavioural changes are hard with children as well, but so far they must be cooperating -- I have dogs, who also hate bathing, but I'm more or less in control of that. It's washing all the bedding that adds up!
This is a great example showing what changing a single appliance can do to reduce natural gas use. Thanks; this is motivating me to change out my lovely, but not so efficient water heater.
Kudos Bruce & family for achieving such exemplary energy use. Are your SMUD colleagues sufficiently impressed?! I'm interested in your heat pump water heater, as water heating (with a natural draft gas storage WH in the center of the house) is our biggest load. Is yours located in the living space, and if so, how well does that work - noise-wise and cooling-wise?
Keep up the good workJudy
Yes, Bruce, please answer the noise question. I hadn't considered that, and it could be a deal-breaker, since ours is also located in the center of our house. Did you also have to run a separate circuit (20 AMP?) from your breaker box? These are the costs that really add to any fuel switching project. Thanks!