Thursday, 6 January 2011

No Impact Week: Can I Cut Back on Energy Usage?

Today is day 4 of No Impact Week and we are meant to stop using power, so I'm not going to be taking part wholeheartedly.

It is the middle of January and a balmy 5 degrees above freezing.  Our heating is set at 18 degrees centigrade and I'm wearing warmish socks but my feet are a bit cool, so I had better not sit down for too long.  I'm not switching the heating off in this weather.

Neither shall I be doing without electric light. I woke up at 6.30 am as I usually do and it was pitch black, so I switched the light on as I like to read and think for a little while if I have time, before my brain is cluttered with the worries of the day.  Unlike some members of my family I am happy to do things without the aid of electric light, if they don't need me to look to carefully, but I draw the line at stumbling about in total darkness.  I have also been careful to switch the light(s) off when I leave a room.

I don't need to switch everything off to know what it is like to live without warmth, light and modern appliances.  We found out all we wanted to know about living without heating when our boiler went wrong in Winter a couple of years ago.  I am also old enough to remember the year of strikes and power cuts in the '60's and having to get ready for school by candle light.  And I've had to wash my clothes in the bath because we had no washing machine when we first got married.  Luckily we were able to buy a cheap twin-tub after about six months - but first we had to endure a few months in a badly maintained house with no central heating or double glazing and only small electric fires for heat.  The only good thing was that we realised when we moved out that the electricity metre went backwards.  There had been students living in it the year before, perhaps one of them had tampered with it.

On a more positive note, most of our light bulbs are low energy ones and  we did change to green electricity a few years ago.

I try not to use the tumble dryer more than necessary. We only bought it because my son started doing his own washing and wanted to hang his wet washing up at the same time I was doing my washing.  Now he's left home I won't need to use it so often. When the weather improves I shall be able to hang it outdoors.

We had double glazing put in when we moved to this house and when we had our boiler replaced we had a condensing boiler put in, which is meant to be more efficient.

I think I shall finish now as I have already written about energy usage last year and I think I could be repeating myself.

1 comment:

  1. I am a hopeless night owl. It's not good for me or the planet. It probably stems from many years of being a musician. But now that I'm no longer out gigging, and I work from home at whatever hours I want, I have no excuse. So I'm trying to reform. I've managed to get it to the point where I'm going to bed between midnight and 1am and getting up between 9 and 10am. I know it's still laughable by most people's standards, but it's actually an improvement of about 3-4 hours for me. So that's my latest attempt at saving energy.

    In terms of furnaces and laundry, the furnace has been running pretty much non-stop lately as it hasn't been above freezing in days. Last night it was 2 below zero farenheit (about 19 below centigrade). Anyhow, the air gets dried to a crisp with the furnace running all the time. Usually I would run the humidifier, but it does use electricity, plus I hate all of the white dust it makes. Soooo, this year I'm trying hanging the laundry on racks near the heating vents. Works great, the clothes are dry in about an hour! The only problem is that I don't have enough laundry to keep the air moist, so now I'm just hanging wet towels in addition to the laundry. Seems to work!


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