Now, you all know what's coming around the bend, don't you? The time for freezing one's buns is almost nigh and I hope you all are planning on joining me for the third year of the Freeze Yer Buns Challenge. I'll be posting more about that next month, but in the meantime I just had to share with you some exciting news!
For those of you following along at home, last week I was ruminating over the state of our oil heat supply and whether or not to switch to B99 BioHeat (99% biodiesel) now that it's available or to switch back to standard/conventional heating oil. You can go read the post and comments to see what the conundrum is all about, but the short story is that there are more petroleum inputs to creating biodiesel than just using the petroleum directly.
Of course, at issue is the source of the biodiesel. So, I called out heating company to talk prices and sources and such and found out that their source of biodiesel used to be a local company that went out of business. They won't source a waste veggie oil program because of very inconsistent products and availability and so they are now getting their biodiesel from midwest grown, soy-based Cargill biodiesel. Well, that there decided it all for me.
For the record, the price differential for the different blends are as follows (the number represents the percentage of biodiesel in the blend). The difference is about 50 cents a gallon between 99% biofuel and standard heating oil. The cost differential isn't as dramatic as I thought it was going to be:
Standard heating oil $3.049
But, my last question is the exciting part. I asked him to tell me the amount of oil we use per year (it's rather impossible to tell from their cryptic delivery receipts). In the 2006/2007 heating season it ended up being about 500 gallons per year. This was before the first Freeze Yer Buns Challenge. And, in the 2008/2009 heating season we used about 250 gallons per year. That's a 50% reduction in heating oil difference! That's about $780 a year savings. Apparently, their average customer uses 600 gallons of oil per year. That means we used about 42% of the average.
Now, I must confess that we did offset some of this by using space heaters last season. I went back through our electrical bills to see how much more we were spending and it was about 1-2 extra kWh per day (at about $.05 per kWh), coming to something like $10 - $15 for the season for extra electricity. One more caveat is that my husband was home full-time last season so the heat was up more than normal.
Anyway, not only is the extra electricity cheap (thanks to the wind farms and hydro up here), it's nice to know that it is based on renewable resources. All in all, I'd estimate we saved around $750 last year by turning down our heat and using space heaters instead of heating the whole house with B25.
If this isn't an example and incentive to turn down your thermostat, I don't know what is!