Friday, July 27, 2012

SD Energy Challenge

This is a site I've already shared with mom, but thought it was novel enough that I should post about it.

San Diego Gas and Electric (SDGE) has an energy saving challenge this summer, but they're doing it in a very unique and tech-saavy manner.  The website is  The objective is to earn points by reducing the amount of electricity you use to win monetary prizes for your local middle school as well as potentially for yourself (an iPad!!).  The school prizes are dependant on how many people sign up relative to the enrollment of the school. But the individual prizes are dependant on how many days you are in the lowest 25% regarding overal electricity usage. You can also earn bonuses off your actual bill by reducing your usage during the day on certain "reduce your use" days during which they expect above average usage ($0.75 for each day which isn't bad).

How do they monitor your daily usage, you ask?  SDGE has now switched to remotely read meters that transmit usage information on an hourly basis.  These leads to some very cool graphing options.
Here's our usage over the last day by hour.

Never realized the TV/Xbox (we were watching on Netflix) used that much energy! (the spike at 7pm).  I think this is great; maybe people doing this challenge will be inspired to not watch TV or use the computer as much. I've definitely thought about energy use more over the last few weeks we've been doing this.

So far there are 52 people signed up for our middle school, Taft (which is 10% of the student body and puts us in 8th place out of 33).  But individually, we are not doing so great; 40th out of the 52 for our school.  I guess maybe it's a selection bias, the people who are doing this challenge are already the energy-conscious so we're not competing against the heavy users. Or maybe this includes people who have solar panels! 

Guess i'd better go to the library to get some books for us to read instead of watching TV tonight!


Penny said...

Hey, that's neat....I'll have to see if PSE&G has anything like that.

Camila said...

That is cool. So, what books did you get out? I'm currently reading the battle hymn of the tiger mother. Not for ideas, but because it was available for kindle at the library and I wanted to see if she was as crazy as they say. She is. And then some. I'd recommend the immortal life of Henrietta Lacks--very good.

Juan said...

Well actually I found an old book that my research mentor in undergrad had given me "molecular biology made simple and fun". It's amazing how much one forgets in ten years!! And research techniques have quite a bit as well. So I'm trying to relearn all this molecular bio, biochemistry and cellular biology.

Not exciting reading, but actually a well written book. Before this though, I've been reading mainly books about gardening with native Californian plants. Got to get started planning so I can do some planting once fall comes.