Infographic: The Hidden Cost of Household Gadgets
How Much Will You Spend to Power Your Gadgets in 2011?
These days, in developed countries like the United States, the average household has about 35 electrical appliances and the average annual cost of using these appliances is about $1,100. If you live in a state where electricity is expensive*, that annual price tag goes up to about $1,600 a year. In five years, you’ll pay somewhere between $1300 and $1900 a year to use your fleet of devices, and that’s only if you don’t buy anything new to plug in between now and then, including a car.
Not likely. Analysts say the electrical appliances market is still growing like gangbusters. Baby boomers are moving to the South and Southwest where houses are big and air conditioning use is high. Demand for electric cars is high and is expected to present a significant new draw on the grid nation-wide. All good for the economy, right? There are just a few problems. For one, in the U.S., grid power is fired primarily by dirty fossil fuels like coal and natural gas, so any increased pull on the grid means more CO2 and particulate matter in the air**. The other is that utility companies are raising their prices, on average, by six percent every year, so just because that Nissan Leaf costs less than filling up your tank today doesn’t mean it’ll always be that way. You can be sure that utility companies will be keeping close tabs on electric vehicle adoption, which means the plug may someday be just as pricey as the pump. (Ironically, these rate hikes are sometimes related to costly new clean energy ventures like the controversial Cape Wind project in Massachusetts.)
The question, then, is this: as the average houshold’s energy needs increase, will people be willing to pay a higher and higher percentage of their income to utility companies every year? Or, as the cost of home-based solar and wind power come down, will things reach a tipping point where homeowners start to see their own roofs and yards as a way to reduce or even eliminate this growing annual spend?
What’s One Block Off the Grid?
One Block Off the Grid organizes group discounts on solar energy. Since 2008, One Block Off the Grid has run over 50 group deals in ten different states and has helped thousands of homeowners go solar. We’ve been featured in dozens of publications and programs including The New York Times, The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, USA Today, Marketplace, Wired, and GOOD Magazine. In addition to making solar more affordable, One Block Off the Grid’s mission is also to make it easier for homeowners to go solar, so we also manage the entire process of going solar from beginning to end, at no cost. In April 2011, One Block Off the Grid won a Heart of Green award in the “Best New Innovation” category. Want to find out if there’s a group deal on solar in your area? Sign up for One Block Off the Grid (it’s free). Not ready to go solar, but want to help take solar mainstream? Tell your friends about One Block Off the Grid.
*States with the most expensive electricity: California, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Hawaii, Alaska, and Deleware.
**Although electric vehicles will depend on a largely coal and gas-fired grid, studies do show that driving an electric vehicle is still far cleaner than driving a gas powered car.