In November, I installed (with the assistance of Audrey and her blow dryer) plastic insulation over the two windows in my apartment. If you do it right, you won’t even notice that it’s there. The blow dryer makes the plastic taught and perfectly transparent. I’ve stuck my nose right into it a few times when looking out the window, not even registering that it was there until it was too late.
I wasn’t sure if it was really making a difference. It did seem like when I turned up the heat, my apartment actually got warmer, whereas this didn’t work so well last winter. I like to keep my place a little on the cool side regularly anyway, but I do try to turn it up to something more normal when guests are coming over. I remember last year having to put the thermostat quite high to get normal temperatures. I don’t think it’s quite as dramatic this year. Maybe, I thought, it’s just a placebo effect.
But conclusive results are in!
This is a graph of my electricity consumption (in kWh) for the last four months compared to the same months of the previous year from the Hydro Quebec website. It looks like my hydro bill will be going down when it’s next reviewed! According to Hydro Quebec, November and December 2006 were both, on average, warmer than the same months in 2005 by a few degrees, so you might expect the electricity usage to go down a bit. However, not only was it colder in January and February this year, but I also installed a washer and dryer in my apartment on January 20th. Consumption should definitely have gone up!
So, with outside temperatures lower, my apartment kept at the same (if not warmer) temperature, and new power hungry large appliances, the only reason my consumption could be down by one or two hundred kilowatt-hours has to be the window insulation. True, I did start using a fluorescent bulb in the kitchen, but if one bulb could make that much of a difference changing the rest of them would put me at negative consumption in December, so I don’t think that’s likely.
Only one question remains: will the savings from those few hundred kilowatt-hours I conserved this year compared to last be enough to cover the $10 cost of the insulation at Canadian Tire? I’m hoping it’ll be at least enough to cancel out this year’s hydro rate hikes.