posted May 27, 2012, 1:48 PM by Box Turtle
One of the nice side-benefits about a home-based business, is that my work to make my home more efficient now makes the business more efficient. We have sealed the air leaks, added extra insulation around that always much hotter second story, and added in a solar hot-water heater. Between improvements and maybe a few behavioral changes, there has been no net additional utilities consumption since I have been operating the bakery. I can take as a tax deduction the net additional amount of natural gas and electricity used since the bakery started from our previous baseline and so far only the first year showed a small increase. My commercial stand-alone fridge and freezer tripled my capacity when I replaced the home unit, but it only uses a little more electricity (I think it was about 3KWH/day, but I can't find my data on that). My grain mills use between 1.5KWH and 3.5KWH when I do my morning milling a couple of times/week. On a baking day, my electrically heated proofer can use up to 1.5KWH. I have on my to-do list to try to run a loop to my solar-heated hot-water tank to try and eliminate most of the fossil fuel used for that. Wood is used to fire the oven most of the time, but sometimes I have to use my natural gas burner. That can use 8-10 therms (that is like running your 4-burner gas range flat-out all day) to fully heat the thing up so it is best avoided. My lighting is often just a single 10W LED in the middle of the bakery and sometimes even just plain-old daylight. I have 4x10W LED's that I turn on around the edges of the bakery when I need better lighting, but most often I am working around the center and that is all I need. There are few other appliances I might use, but nothing big like a mixer. My 300KWH of green-power I buy on the market each month covers all my current bakery electricity usage, but not the whole house.