All the joy that came from releasing my first few batches of projects on my tower complete with CUDA enabled graphics card, basically came to a near grinding halt when my utility bill came at the end of July. While not outrageous, and not un-affordable, it lead me to step back and consider a few things.
First things first, while the bill was almost double what I expected, I can not blame it all directly on the crunching, as here just like the rest of the country there was an outrageous heat wave throughout most of the month of July, causing my air conditioner to run excessively. But at the same time having computers crunching projects is counter productive to an air conditioner. Something I always try and consider, for instance in the summer my tea drinking is mostly teas that require less boiling of the kettle, which is basically a heat radiator that serves another purpose. I also avoid using the oven when possible, and when I do use the oven I turn my air conditioner off, until well after the food is done cooking and the oven has been off awhile.
In that vein, I have decided during the summer I will keep an eagle eye on the weather, with weather.com often pulled up on my machine. My goal is to turn off my tower when the outside temperature is over 85 F. I will also keep it off on days that the night time low temperature is not below 70 F. Both of these are aimed at keeping my AC from running like mad, and saving me a little bit of green.
The positive side to this, is gas is usually more expensive than electricity. As such in the winter months, I may view crunching the same way I view my tea drinking, while it is a use of energy, the heat helps heat my apartment, causing my furnace to run less, allowing me to get a little extra satisfaction out of the money spent on that energy.