A small passion of mine has been to reduce the energy usage in our house.
Some background about our house. It's pretty big for a wanna-be minimalist, around 2000 sq ft. It was built in the 1960s with brick siding, but there is a 400ish sq ft addition that has wood siding. Most (all?) of the windows are original with wood frames. The smaller windows are single pane with storm windows and the bigger windows are double paned.
Last winter, we had Illini Home Improvements add insulation to the attic as well as to the walls of the crawl space. That was expensive! Since then, I have done a series of smaller things (plastic film over single pane windows for winter, caulk cracks, plastic covers for crawl space window wells, programmable thermostat), basically everything I can think of that costs nearly nothing.
The next steps will likely be a lot more expensive, so I need to do some cost-benefit calculations.
So, here is how we stack up with 100 of our nearest neighbors for gas usage during the last year:
I'm quite please considering our current conditions. 3 adults, 2 children (2 women, 1 man). Jill and the kids are home much of the day. I'm married. That last one places a very hard limit on the thermostat temperature setting.
Big thanks to Ameren for starting this 'compare to neighbors' program. I would love to visit the top 5 houses to see how they do it (and the top 5 worst users. Hello, Al Gore wannabes!), but I can understand why this information is not available.
Finally, some updates about the kids. Janny still has a single tooth. She loves to walk while holding our hands and can do so with only one hand, but she hasn't walked on her own yet. Nearly every other night she is sleeping straight from 10p until 8 am. Clara often says, 'Let my do it.' She loves Curious George.