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Rivers vs. Reckmeyers: Part One

24 February 2010

Team Rivers

When Tim Reckmeyer told John Rivers that his family had been tracking their electricity usage, a light went off in John’s head.

“Being competitive by nature, we decided to challenge each other (and our families) to defeat the other by using less electricity and the game was on.” 

Nearly two years later, the Rivers family has reduced their daily energy use to less than 1/3rd of what it used to be and is still going!

They started by borrowing an inexpensive Kill-a-Watt meter from the Reckmeyers to see how much electricity all the electronics and appliances in their home were using.  “This made creating a priority list fairly simple,” explained John.  Using that information, they set out to implement simple but powerful energy saving actions, including:

  • Replacing light bulbs with efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs,
  • Installing power strips with  the entertainment equipment and home office, and
  • Shutting computers completely off when not in use.

The Rivers also attacked their home’s biggest energy hogs: their old inefficient fridge and their whole house HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filtration system.  They got a new ENERGY STAR-rated appliance that uses a fourth of the energy and put their filtration system on a timer so it no longer ran 24/7/365!

John says that he and his wife strive to make this contest fun and engaging for their two kids, which he said was “the easiest and likely most important thing from a long-term savings perspective” and that through participating in the contest “it has become a habit for them to do these things that are common sense.”

As of today, the competition rages on: “[The Reckmeyers] beat us in 2008 but it is very controversial as Dakota Electric estimated our December bill which appeared to be inflated,” John says.  “The contest has resumed in 2009 and we currently have a comfortable lead…”

We’re on the edge of our seats to see who comes out ahead for 2009…stay tuned for Part Two to hear from Team Reckmeyer!

5 Comments leave one →
  1. J. Drake Hamilton permalink
    22 March 2010 10:06 am

    I’ve found that there is nothing like providing your actual monthly energy use (for example, electricity in kilowatt-hours) to spur competition among like-minded friends. How much energy do these families use? Providing numbers would give others reason to look at their own energy use as compared to state and utility-wide averages.

    • John permalink
      15 June 2010 9:55 am

      J. Drake, Both families are using just under 10 kWh per day currently or about 300 kWh per month. Thanks for the comment.


  1. Rivers vs. Reckmeyers: Part Two « Challenge for Change
  2. 2010 in review « The Minnesota Energy Challenge Blog
  3. About me | BlueDotReality

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