ENERGY REDUCTION CHALLENGEThe weather dropped considerably last night, into the mid 30's. It is supposed to be that cold again tonight. I did turn the heat on before going to bed last night. I turned the downstairs unit to 62, and the upstairs unit to 60 (since heat rises). All the beds are layered with down comforters and quilts. The boys have been padding around the house all afternoon in warm footed pajamas, since we were home to stay and it is fun to be in snuggly clothes. I have a fire going in the fireplace, more for ambiance than heat. We have been eating warm foods all day...hot chocolate and tea, chili, cheese toast, oatmeal.
At night, since I am not turning on as many lamps, I am achieving the cozy atmosphere (I love in the fall and winter) in other ways. Lighting soy candles, playing music on the ipod docking station, having a fire burning, sipping hot drinks, etc. Instead of turning on the tv, I will grab a book (out of my HUGE stack), and cozy up by the fire with a quilt.
The boys are going to bed earlier, since the time has changed, so once they are in bed, around 730-8, the rest of the evening is spent quietly, reading, talking, ironing, planning the next day, etc.
I have not changed out the rest of the bulbs to CFL's...I am only going to continue to replace them as they burn out, which is what I have done in the past. I don't think it is more environmentally conscious to discard perfectly useful things, to replace them with "eco friendly" ones. Doing so just creates more waste.
The things that I have done to reduce our energy use this month are:
-quit using the dryer (I am now hanging out about 90% of our laundry on the line outdoors. My indoor line came today, so I plan to install that tonight and hang the other 10% there).
-Turning off extra lights (If we aren't in a room, the light isn't on).
-Unplugging appliances and electronics when they aren't being used.
-Doing things in batches. When I do use the dryer, I try to use it for all the clothes at once. Same with baking. I try to use the oven/stove to cook everything in one fell swoop, rather than turning it on and off throughout the day.
As with my other experiment, my goal (besides the financial gain) is to become more aware. Aware of the choices that I make, both good and bad, that affect our family, our community, and the environment at large. Aware of our habits, our decisions, our lifestyle, our conveniences. Already, in the first few days of this month, I have become more tuned in (in ways that I was previously unaware of) to our carelessness with our resources...basically just throwing money down the drain. I am learning to take responsibility for the fact that my choices, even small (and seemingly insignificant) have an impact.
I don't know if I will be able to cut our energy consumption in half this month or not...but I am sure that it will be considerably reduced, and more importantly, I will be further challenged to be a (cheerfully) frugal steward of the resources with which God has given to our family.
*Image from sadalit on flickr.com