We insulated floors and roofs with fiberglass, installed awnings on all Westerly facing windows, use LED (dimmable) lights everywhere and probably could have gone for thicker curtains. Swapped out room heaters for air conditioning late at night, user timed electric blankets that each person can set to their own preferences - heat the bed not the room! Gas we mainly use for heating (ducted downstairs, one sizable unit upstairs), instantaneous for showers. Door frames we insulated with foam sticky tape - costs about $10 per door - really helped heat loss prevention in Winter. Wish we had of been rich enough to get double glazed windows.
I was amazed measuring how much energy a large gas stove and the ducted air conditioning use. No matter what else we do they (of and a large dryer that is only used at night) appear to influence the lions share of our energy consumption. Today was almost a perfect sunny day - generated 30.2 kWh - of which probably 12 kWh fed the grid. From about 10:30am to 3:30pm today the system produced at least 3.8 kWh - which is excellent! So it had me trying to use everything to consume when we had excess from jobs I normally run at night in off peak - dish washers, pool pump cleaner, washing machine etc - just to see how much energy load balancing is possible if one person with the will to do it is home. With a energy storage solution that need for human management could be significantly decreased. Till almost sunset I could use everything I normally set for day time use and still be feeding the grid. Only the large ducted air conditioning tips the apple cart - it can draw from 3.2 to 4.5 plus kWh alone. Today I didn't put it on until 3.30pm cause the solar tiles are helping keeping the house cooler by shading the roof tiles - about 34 square meters of roof tiles are shaded. Once I needed to cook with the oven I switched the a/c off and keep it close to zero grid input until kids came home. So it is doable but I wouldn't wish to turn into the Grinch with energy - it would be easy to go too far. Instead I want the family to be energy conscious and make good use of the free power we get each day!
Must say I find it really interested reading what others have done and raising awareness of how strong the legs of solar are nowadays. It will be interesting to see in Winter if its economical to use slightly less gas and slightly more electricity. I ponder are air conditioners more or less efficient as heaters than coolers (given they are still a heat pump based upon a compressor).
Edited by g__day, 07 March 2015 - 12:02 AM.