We are getting ready for the Metro Denver Green Homes Tour on October 1st. Our home was on the tour in 2017. Since then we have finished the LEED certification as a Platinum Green and Net Zero home. So we are excited to be on the tour again this year.
One of the sustainability issues that has become more prominent in recent years is the greenhouse gas produced by household use of natural gas and propane. Although these fuels are more efficient than electricity for heat they contribute more to the atmospheric pollution than central electric that is produced with renewable energy. So many green homes are phasing out the use of gas.
My neighbor and fellow Green Home Tour committee member, John Avenson, had the gas turned off at his home several years ago when he reinsulated his home with layers of polyiso. He no longer needed gas and uses mini split heat pumps when his solar does not produce enough during inclement weather.
Of course I was not aware of this issue when I planned for heating our home and hot water. We also found a used gas range top for cooking although the oven is electric convection. We use a combination instant hot water heater and boiler and radiant system to supplement the solar heat in our house. But how much gas do we use compared to the average Colorado home?
I was able to find averages by month on the Colorado State University Extension website. Their figures were just for heating but my figures are for all our household uses including hot water and cooking. The data was published in 2019 so it is probably at least 4 years old but unless lots of homes have become more energy efficient they are probably close to today’s average use.
I keep a record of our monthly energy use downloaded from the xcel website. I get annoyed that they keep changing the data structure so I have to fill in my spreadsheets by hand from more than one source on the site. I suppose they think they are making it easier. Well, not for me!
I graphed the data in Excel and I was only mildly surprised to see that for the year we average about 26% of the average Colorado household use. Our house at 2213 square ft may be on the smaller side of average but 74% less use is pretty significant. Red is the Colorado average, blue is our use for 2021.
This is one of the signs I will print and laminate for our solar tour. I have solar roof first year data that I want to post too.