Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Saving Money With a Clothes Line

You know this one is so basic and obvious it pains me to admit that I wasn't all ready doing it. I always turn off lights when I leave a room, I never run the dishwasher until it's full, and I use CFL light bulbs. But when it comes to to doing laundry it finally hit me like a ton of bricks the other day. I'm still drying every single load in the dryer.

It's late summer and we've been living in this house for a 2 years now (we used to have a clothes line in our old house). I guess it's one of those things that I meant to get set up right away when we moved in and then the drum beat of life kind of distracted me and I never got back to it.

We go camping about 5 times a year with the boys and I almost always tie a rope between some trees so we can dry bathing suits and towels after swimming. We just got back from camping and I was putting things away when I thought, wait, why don't I have one at home?

Now they make some fancy clothes drying apparatus which are nice for your back yard. At our old house I had one that would coil up into a gizmo. Then when you were going to use it, you would just pull it out and hook it on a tree or something. That way when you were drying clothes you wouldn't even see it.

I however this time decided to go with the very basic of options. I tied the green rope that I use when we are camping between two trees in our back yard. Now I did this last night about dust. Kinda late to try it out for this first time because I think it's not great to put out clothes to dry at that hour because the dew will set into them. Then I worked all day today so again I haven't tried it. I'm hoping to soon. I'm off tomorrow so I'm thinking that'll be a really great chance to try it.

Even if I don't use it for every load it's still a big gain for each cycle my dryer doesn't have to run!

So why is clothes line drying to green you ask?

Well that is for one reason in the winter and two really great reasons in the summer. First, all year round the dryer is expensive to run. Basically anything that creates heat is using a good amount of energy to do it. In my case we have an electric dryer so it's sucking up electricity and raising my power bill. So this is the best kind of green change. It's not that I'm finding a slightly more efficient way to do something. It's that I'm finding a way to completely remove the appliance from the equation. Each time I dry the clothes on the line I'm not just reducing the power I need to dry that load, I'm making it zero. That is saving the earth and saving my wallet. Like I always say here at Saving Green, some folks will make a change to help the Earth, but EVERYONE like to save money!

The other reason that a clothes line is a green change this time of year is because it is summer time and it's hot. I have a couple window AC units that I use as sparingly as possible. But I am paying money and using power to cool the house. When I run the dryer I'm heating up the house which means I may be paying even more to run the AC's and cool it back down again. Its a vicious cycle. So when I use the clothes line I am not only saving the money and power I would have used to dry the clothes, but I am also saving the money and power that it would have taken to cool the house back down! Now that is what I call SAVING GREEN!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Wasted Light

This morning I had a doctors appointment. I parked, and on my walk into the office, I noticed one of my biggest pet peeves. The parking lot lights were on. There was four lamp posts around the perimeter of the parking lot and they were all on. My appointment was at 9 AM, so there was plenty of light from the sun!

I was impressed to see that at least one of them had a CFL bulb in it (at least one of the others didn't though). It was one of the biggest CFL's I've ever seen! I would guess based on the size of it, it had to be at least 150 - 200 watts. Maybe more. So kudos for having the energy saving bulbs.

Now it is possible that the doctors (or building management) have done the math and based on the cost of leaving them on all day, just don't care about the additional price. When considered against the overall price of running a building like that, I suppose it is a small percentage. However if you do the math and see what it costs of a year, I'm sure they would rather have the money rather then just completely wasting it!

The best thing they could do it put it on a photocell switch. When it's dark out the lights will come on. Then when the sun comes up they'll go off. If the intention is to keep the lights on during dark all the time, they'll never be wrong. Nobody has to remember to turn them on when it gets dark (safety issue), and nobody can forget to turn them off when it gets light out (energy savings). Granted there is an upfront cost for having a timer like this installed but it will pay for itself over time with the energy savings.

Now don't take me the wrong way. I'm not perfect. I'm not saying there is never a chance you could drive past my house one day in the middle of the afternoon and see my porch light on. It would really bother me if that did happen, but I'm sure it does. I have two small kids that I like to blame things on, but either way, people forget things. So while nobody is perfect, I'm sure we could all do a little better.

So...turn off those lights during the day! And don't get my started on how my kids leave the lights on in rooms they aren't occupying!