As I sit here, wearing extra layers and shivering, with our heat turned down as far as it goes, drafting this post in a notebook first so as to stretch my laptop’s battery life, energy day has me energized. Previous to this experience, we’ve already swapped our old bulbs for CFLs and keep the thermostat at 60 as part of the Freeze yer Buns Challenge. Last year, we put in power strips on all our major electronic gadgets. With my homemade shampoo, my hair dries a lot faster and I no longer need my hair dryer. But even with all these changes, I’ve made my list of everything that uses electricity and have found some more great ways to cut back. Here’s what more we’re doing:
- For the rest of this week no electric lights, candles only. Though we might need to break the no consumption rule and buy some more. We also have a couple of hand-crank flashlights to use as well. This one in particular has been so much fun so far. Candlelit evenings and dinners…who wouldn’t love that? Though I have to say, it’s such a habit to flip the switch on (even in the daytime!) that after a few slip-ups early on, I put a small piece of tape over each switch. Throughout the day, I have been periodically saved by that tape, and I laugh at myself every time I go for a taped switch.
- Computer use: I charged my laptop Wednesday night and am going to see how long it lasts me. My goal is to get through the rest of No Impact Week without charging, and maybe get into a routine where I charge it only 2-3 times a week. But we’ll see how that goes. Otherwise, I’m going to set a limit for computer time: I’m thinking 2-3 hours a day.
- Laundry: We have this nifty hand-crank washer that we never use. It’s time to bust that out again. We will still use the big washer for one load this week, but will try to do the rest this weekend in the non-electric one.
- Refrigerator: We got a thermometer for the fridge and definitely can do some adjusting on the power use. There’s no need for our freezer to be at 10 degrees and our fridge to stay at 30. Turing down the temperature will definitely use less energy.
- Another cool gadget we had and forgot about is a solar-powered charger. It has adapters for USB devices as well as various adapters for just about any kind of cell phone. My ipod is currently charging in the windowsill by the light of the sun, and I think that is awesome! I’m also going to start charging my phone with it too.
- We haven’t used our electric blanket in weeks, at least not after adding extra blankets to the bed (I think we’re up to 8 now). Maybe we’re done with this extra drain on power.