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Thread: how do you manage your energy consumption effectively?

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    how do you manage your energy consumption effectively?

    with the rising energy prices, climate change legislation and the need to be environmentally responsible; we all need to manage our energy consumption effectively. What simple and effective ways you are doing to help you save money through energy management, monitoring and managing your energy use more efficiently?

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    The biggest thing we have done lately is put in a much more efficient heat pump. I wanted geothermal, but dh wasn't happy with the systems or only installer available in our area. The new system is zoned so that we can heat areas of the house we use mostly when the kids are here to a lower temperature. The specifications say it will heat all of our space (new and old) for the same energy cost as the old one used for the old space.

    it also has a really nice programmable thermostat, so now the house is much warmer when dh is home and cooler when he is not, instead of me having to remember to turn the heat down.

    in addition,whe I am home, we heat with a small efficient woodstove. Often the heat doesn't come on until very early in the morning.

    but mostly it 's the standard "combine trips, turn off the lights, run it when it's full..." coloring book slogans from the 70's.

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    Senior Member Rogar's Avatar
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    A few years ago I bought a watt-a-meter and went through all of my electrical appliances to get an idea of big consumers and phantom loads. I have power strips organized on phantom load things that gets turned off when they are not in use or at night. Off course, the frig was a big consumer even though it's pretty new and won't get replaced any time soon. I pay a small premium for my electrical service coming from wind power. It's probably just a paper shuffle but helps support and expand wind power generation, which is not without it's own problems, but better than global warming. Over the last few years I've upgraded my windows to good double pains and added attic insulation. I use a bike for some of my commuting and shopping needs.

    Your right, for the time being it doesn't look like the government will be helping the environment much.

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    My husband and I live in a 580 sq ft apartment. Our energy bill monthly is less than $100 for everything. We also share one car, as he works one block from home and I work two miles from home. Our biggest energy expenditures are airline tickets to visit our kids who live in Canada and Nevada.

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    We just keep usage low, use a clothesline for half of the year, ad keep the heat down. Oh, we also surround the house with strawbales at the base each winter, which last year saved us about 600 dollars.

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    Only major appliances/TV and clock remain plugged in all the time. Anything else I plug in for use and then unplug (coffeemaker, food processor, phone charger).

    Programmable therm 65 when away/nighttime and 68 when up/present).

    We have gas heat/water heater/stovetop. VERY efficient. Our gas bill did was noticeably unchanged with the install of our gas stovetop. I was surprised.

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    Senior Member jp1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gardnr View Post
    Our gas bill did was noticeably unchanged with the install of our gas stovetop. I was surprised.
    I'm not surprised. Cooking with gas is incredibly efficient. The two places I've lived where I had to pay for gas for cooking but not anything else I always just ended up paying the minimum fee for maintaining service. The first couple of therms of gas was included in that and I never exceeded it.

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    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gardnr View Post

    We have gas heat/water heater/stovetop. VERY efficient. Our gas bill did was noticeably unchanged with the install of our gas stovetop. I was surprised.
    Yes, we also have gas and it's SO much better than electric or oil. I could never go back to an electric stove.

    As for the topic, I've always been amazed at how big my footprint is when I do those footprint calculators. (Here's one) I consider myself to be pretty mindful of energy use. I drive a Prius, had low-flow shower heads and faucets, keep the house at 62, and do all the standard things one would do when keeping an eye on personal energy consumption. Yet, I still am taking up far more than my share.

    So I can feel guilty about that, and consider living in a solar-powered tiny house and riding only bicycles, but I'm not going to do that. And OTOH, I appreciate what Derrick Jensen says in his essay "Forget shorter showers":

    "Besides being ineffective at causing the sorts of changes necessary to stop this culture from killing the planet, there are at least four other problems with perceiving simple living as a political act (as opposed to living simply because that’s what you want to do). The first is that it’s predicated on the flawed notion that humans inevitably harm their landbase. Simple living as a political act consists solely of harm reduction, ignoring the fact that humans can help the Earth as well as harm it. We can rehabilitate streams, we can get rid of noxious invasives, we can remove dams, we can disrupt a political system tilted toward the rich as well as an extractive economic system, we can destroy the industrial economy that is destroying the real, physical world.

    "The second problem — and this is another big one — is that it incorrectly assigns blame to the individual (and most especially to individuals who are particularly powerless) instead of to those who actually wield power in this system and to the system itself. Kirkpatrick Sale again: “The whole individualist what-you-can-do-to-save-the-earth guilt trip is a myth. We, as individuals, are not creating the crises, and we can’t solve them.”

    The third problem is that it accepts capitalism’s redefinition of us from citizens to consumers. By accepting this redefinition, we reduce our potential forms of resistance to consuming and not consuming. Citizens have a much wider range of available resistance tactics, including voting, not voting, running for office, pamphleting, boycotting, organizing, lobbying, protesting, and, when a government becomes destructive of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, we have the right to alter or abolish it."

    So, I'm not necessary doing anything differently now than I was prior to Election Day, but I am becoming more active in terms signing petitions, protesting, writing my legislators, etc. I truly believe that if all of New Jersey's citizens turned down their thermostats it would pale in comparison to the damage that's going to be done with the repeal of the Clean Water and Clean Air acts.

    No mea culpa's for me unless I fail to do what I can to protect the environment from the real villains.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
    www.silententry.wordpress.com

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    Senior Member Rogar's Avatar
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    I go back and forth about Jensen, but any more it's mostly back. My thinking usually starts with his premise that civilization and sustainability cannot co-exist.

    I agree that, say, replacing an incandescent bulb with an LED is not going to change the planet. But what impact has the total transition made? I can recall when recycling was mostly unheard of. I'm more in the McKibben camp.

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    So, here is the thing for me, because (I am ok, don't worry) his writing about the drop in a bucket effect of personal choices and the logical end path being suicide resonates with me.

    there are days when I feel like the best thing I could do would be to stay in bed and not eat. (I get up anyway. I have goats. But there was a bad stretch where I didn't eat for three days....)

    but he claims we can do all these other things - really? How? Because I vote, I teach, I donate, I write and call my elected representatives (and as I am a political minority where I live, they don't give a damn).

    collective action stopped the Dakota pipeline - for about two months. It's a whole lot easier to break things than it is to fix them (so do we break things? Is industrial sabotage the only effective option? Who cleans up the resulting mess?)

    The personal choices I make are the only areas where I see any actual effect.

    and yes, they are not enough.

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