At Green Cottage we use a pair of iPhones for all of our communications needs. This is quite good because it means that we don’t have to have the cable modem or wireless router switched on to surf the web, which means a significant energy saving on the solar powered circuit.
There are quite a few handy apps for the green-minded too – Earth Envi, TreeHugger and Sceptical Science are three good ones. I also have Meter Readings, which enables me to track our electricity consumption. MR will also track your gas and water, but electricity is our only metered utility.
The readings I’ve entered over the past couple of weeks are showing an average consumption of around 5kWh daily, which I’m pretty pleased with – the UK average is around double that, and our consumption includes the use of a dishwasher and washing machine, as well as all of our cooking.
As for identifying patterns, I’m not sure – we tend to use more electricity on weekends when we are at home, cooking, washing and relaxing. And maybe we use less power towards the end of the week because sometimes we can’t be bothered cooking and get a takeaway, which means less use of the oven, hob and dishwasher.
There is also a cycle with our solar powered circuit – it will run happily for days on the power of the sun, but at this time of year it does eventually run down and we have to recharge the batteries from the mains, which bumps our consumption up for that day.