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Old 10-17-2012, 07:06 AM
 
Location: State of Being
35,885 posts, read 67,009,663 times
Reputation: 22370

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Conserving and "being green" is a lifestyle choice. I started doing everything feasible and manageable to cut down on my consumerism back in the 70s. So for me, it is just how I live. I consolidate errands one day a week and no more often, if possible, as that cuts down on pollution from gas emission, wear and tear on my tires, and of course, gas consumption. Some folks like to get out every day, so my method would drive them bananas (this applies to my husband, for ex). I work from home and if I don't leave the house but once during a week, no problem for me.

Although I bought myself a used dryer while I was still in college (hanging sheets outside in the winter is just not feasible for me) . . . I found that many of my clothing items seemed to last longer, not get frayed, etc when line dryed, so I started using a drying rack for at least part of my laundry.

I turn off lights every time I leave a room - not b/c of electricity costs, but b/c I hate to have to replace bulbs. Some of them (chandelier bulbs, bathroom vanity bulbs) are very expensive, so it is the cost of the bulbs and the PITA to replace them that I am concerned about more than electricity consumption. However, I was taught in the 70s that 15% of a room's heat can be generated from light bulbs, so in the summer, it only makes sense to keep lights off when possible.

Thermostats, use of power strips, turning off one's computer rather than letting it sleep -- all these things add up. If you incorportate them as part of your life, believe me, you won't even think about it. I would know after nearly 40 years of such habits. Use small appliances and crockpots/slow cookers instead of the oven. Don't run water while brushing your teeth, lol. Landscape so that you don't have to use an irrigation system for a lawn (xeriscape, wildflowers, rock gardens, mulch). These are all simple things but they offset my useage, especially since I do have a spa. To me, being conservative and responsible about my consumption means I can "allow" myself a luxury such as a spa/jacuzzi. I try to balance my use out as a responsible consumer and citizen.

I think that is all we can do. Just be responsible with your use of all the resources at your disposal. We are on this planet together, and no one can tell me that 40 years of participation in recycling, conservative use of water, electricity and gas, doesn't make a difference. If everyone made conserving and recycling a daily habit, IT WOULD ADD UP. From observing and talking with friends, family and neighbors over the years, I think there are more of us out there than not. Most people DO CARE how much they consume.
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Old 10-17-2012, 07:16 AM
 
Location: Charlotte NC
11,717 posts, read 9,343,453 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CouponJack View Post
Or even one better. You can get a free home energy audit from Duke, and they will give you the swirls (ie Fluorescent bulbs) for free
I'll try it... I ordered them when I had an apartment and also ordered them when I moved into my house. I thought it was one per household.

..and Ani, I agree on conserving energy... there are plenty of ways to save but I think some are more realistic than others.

We use a crock pot, deep fryer, rice cooker and Foreman grill for most of our cooking. We also grill with charcoal in the summertime on weekends.
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Old 10-17-2012, 07:41 AM
 
3,914 posts, read 3,941,444 times
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A pressure cooker is one of the most energy efficient devices for cooking out there.
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Old 10-17-2012, 07:44 AM
 
Location: State of Being
35,885 posts, read 67,009,663 times
Reputation: 22370
Quote:
Originally Posted by Feltdesigner View Post
I'll try it... I ordered them when I had an apartment and also ordered them when I moved into my house. I thought it was one per household.

..and Ani, I agree on conserving energy... there are plenty of ways to save but I think some are more realistic than others.

We use a crock pot, deep fryer, rice cooker and Foreman grill for most of our cooking. We also grill with charcoal in the summertime on weekends.
Yes, they do add up!

But you are right - some are more realistic than others - depending on a person's lifestyle - even their health. Someone who has terrible arthritis is simply not going to be able to lug clothes around to clotheslines, up and down stairs, etc. Where a person lives is going to limit some options, too.

I found that my heating and cooling bills dropped dramatically when I changed how I use the 2 heat zones we have. We have 2 heat pumps, one for upstairs, one for downstairs. I started experimenting and it was unreal how much my bill dropped when I started turning off one of the systems, depending on time of day and outside temp. I added a window A/C unit in my bedroom/office area . . . shut the door and turned off the A/C for the upstairs - for days at a time. I installed a new attic fan . . .

Sometimes, in the winter, I turn down the heat to 65 d. and use a space heater off and on in my office. We have fantastic insulation in this house and it is amazing how long it will hold the heat, even when the temps outside are steadily in the 30-40s.

These are not things that will be feasible for everyone, nor will folks necessarily even care to try them out. For me, it was a matter of staying comfy while also cutting my electrical bills!

I wish it were feasible to add a wood heater to my home, as I love wood . . . love to stack it, even (Girl Scout days, hee hee). I just enjoy a wood stove and have thought about adding an insert in the family room fireplace, but that doesn't seem to be a very embraced feature in homes in Charlotte. People seem to want gas fire places and don't want the bother (and "look") of an insert.

Some things will make sense for various people, but that doesn't mean all options are workable for everyone. For people with babies and small children, an evenly heated home is a blessing and getting kids to brush their teeth and flush commodes is an accomplishment; if that means running out 20 gallons of water, who cares, lololol. One has to be realistic; I drove my car many times a day when picking up kids, playing chauffeur for various after school activities . . . sometimes our lifestyles demand such things and conserving gas is not on the list!
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