Energy Diet

At Home!

close the fridge! all the energy is escaping!

This week I considered the different elements in my home that are considered within my carbon footprint. I would say that this is where I need to be the most aware and conscious, because this is where I spend most of my time, besides school and on public transit (at least I didn’t say SUV).

The first thing I did do was turn my thermostat down. This was kind of a hard decision because (and I think we can all agree) I think the worst feeling is waking up in the morning and it’s freezing cold outside of your blankets, but I can give that up. I think it might be a little unnecessary to turn it down to the point where I have to do jumping jacks before going to bed (great camping tip), but a few notches is just fine, especially because I live in a small place. Along with this, I also adjusted my fridge, which was way too cold, as well as changed as much as a could on my washing machine per cycle.

I noticed that my coffee machine also as an “eco-save” mode after a certain amount of inactivity. I thought this was a little pointless, because I can just unplug it and it takes exactly the same amount of time to turn back on again. I guess this might require more energy to start up from scratch, but for the amount that I use it (once or twice a day), I concluded that it would be smarter to just turn it right off after use instead of a constant use of energy.

Some of my cleaning products needed to be replaced, so I am trying out some ecological friendly alternatives. They were also at the organic food store where I bought my groceries this week, so that made it easier to find them. The odd thing is, they seem to have the most attractive and minimalist packaging. It’s probably a part of the consumer ploy, but I guess if it works, it works for the better.

I’ve been able to give up bottled water of any form, which has actually saved me a ton of money this week. I also took into consideration of the flavored kinds of water as well, not really worth the waste. I can squeeze a lemon or lime, and a great tip that I learned from a yoga studio I practiced at once is to put real fruit into your water! Who knew… ha ha! It’s really good with watermelon, grapefruit or cucumber. This would reduce another type of bottled beverage on top of the bottled water problem as well, most likely most-cost efficient also.

Overall, the home has been easier than I thought to overhaul. Simple choices at the supermarket and careful consideration in use with appliances at home has made me even notice a difference of the amount of waste I accumulate over a week. Although I do take into consideration that I am the only person here and I don’t have kids to educate as well. So I have been doing my best to spread the word! My peers have also noticed my commitment to the challenge and a few have started to take on the tasks in whatever ways they can.

Lastly, I forgot to mention something last week! I was walking to school and noticed by the time I arrived, I was soaking wet. Instead of buying an entirely new jacket, I was able to purchase an eco-friendly re-seal for my jacket. It worked like a charm and was great for the environment because it did not contain harsh chemicals. It’s much easier than you think to stretch the life of things, whether that be clothes, food or energy!

Comments

  1. Christina
    February 7, 2011, 4:16 pm

    I like the fruit water tip! Cucumber is the best in summer. I’m curious about the re-seal for your jacket. Is it something you spray on?

  2. Tom Sahagian
    NYC
    February 8, 2011, 9:26 pm

    Hey, there is an alternative to waking up freezing! If you have a night setback thermostat, you can set it to lower the room temp just after you hit the sack and then raise it back just before you wake up.

    They are not at all expensive, and many of them you can install yourself quite easily. In fact, it’s possible your existing thermostat has this setback capability, and you don’t realize it.

  3. Lindsay
    February 8, 2011, 10:33 pm

    It’s super neat. I’ll try to find the brand name. It’s just something that you put in the washing machine (acting as detergent) and then you put your jacket in the dryer. The method obviously isn’t that great, but we are all hypocrites. It gets hard sometimes, better than buying a jacket. I got it at the North Face store here in Vancouver, but I’ve seen it elsewhere.

  4. clipton
    February 9, 2011, 11:45 am

    I also like your tip about adding fruit to water – thanks. And cucumbers? Sounds creative.

    Tom is right about the thermostat. See if you have a programmable function. If not, most programmable thermostats are very easy to install and cost ~$30 on up. There are four settings: wake, leave, return and sleep. Instead of explaining everything in this blog response, I’ll refer to a website. It is worth the investment: http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=find_a_product.showProductGroup&pgw_code=TH

  5. Dave Chameides
    February 10, 2011, 2:12 pm

    Great stuff Lindsay. On the fridge note, you might also want to vaccuum the coils that are on the bottom or backside (depending on the model) of the fridge. Dirty coils cause the fridge to have to work much harder and as an energy hog, you want to keep that thing working as efficiently as possible. It’s one of the least considered and I think simple ways to make your fridge more efficient.

  6. Lindsay
    February 10, 2011, 5:52 pm

    Thanks for all the tips. I had no idea I could get a thermostat like that. How neat! The things you learn living on your own.

    Here is the waterproofing company!

    http://www.nikwax.com/en-us/index.php

  7. Christina
    February 11, 2011, 10:31 am

    Good tips! I’d never heard of vacuuming the refrigerator coils.