Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Just Use Less Energy!

Just Use Less Energy, sounds simple right? So often everyone is thinking about way to cut down on their energy use, whether it be electricity, gas, oil, etc. That is great and necessary. The trick is I was thinking about this over all the other day. Most often I am always focused on new technology, or a new gizmo, or a new procedure, which will allow me to do what I always do, and use less energy in the process. For example a more fuel efficient car so I can drive the same miles and use less gas. Or a more efficient light bulb that will allow me to light the same room with less electricity.

Both of those are great examples of ways to save money and the planet, and I'm by no means saying that they aren't great ideas. The trick is I get so focused on being more efficient in that way, that I lose sight of the one more obvious option. Just plain using less. So instead of just getting a more fuel efficient car, I should try to find way to just plain drive less miles. And while getting a new LED bulb is great, but making sure to turn off that light when nobody is in the room is a win every time!

A big one that I'm a huge culprit of is the long hot shower. I'm not going to lie, I LOVE taking long hot showers! I've certainly put lots of thought over the years into the ways to get the most hot water for the least energy. And of course wrapping my hot water tank in more insulation is great. But if I would couple that with taking shorter showers then I am really onto something! And yes I love taking the long hot showers, and thinking about taking really quick showers is hard to digest at first. But when I think, "Could I take a shower that is 1 minute less?", that doesn't really sound that bad at all. So maybe for a month or two I'll shoot for that. Then I can keep whittling it down, until it's as quick as can be over time. I'll save quite a bit in the use of less water, and the energy that would have been used to heat it. Then if I can still strive to more efficient with the water I am using, I'm getting a nice double dip.

Air conditioning is a big one too. Many of us, me included, have gotten to the point where it's an expectation in our lives to have air conditioning. Both at work, at home, and in our car. It wasn't really all that long ago that air conditioning was considered a luxury. Many, many fewer homes has AC. You just toughed it out for the couple of months of hot weather. Even affluent folks in the 50's, 60's, 70's would forgo air conditioning as a waste of money. Oh how the times have changed. Every late spring I lug out the three window units that we use in our small house. One for each of the bedrooms, and one for the downstairs living area. I do try to use them as little as possible, but once they are in the windows they are all to easy to use. One quick push of the button and relief from the heat is on it's way! I guess I'll keep working on that, as we should use them less, but I'm not sure that I'm ready to give them up all together :(

The easiest way to save energy is to turn things off
So the moral of the story is that less is more when it comes to saving energy. It's more a way of thinking then anything else. I just am going to keep working on incorporating it into my thinking in my day to day decisions. Yes I'm going to continue to make things as efficient as I can around the house. But, if I can realistically just use energy less overall, that will make a nice dent in my power bills (and help the planet) as well!

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