Energy Diet

The November Funk

It’s week four of the energy diet, and I’d like to say that things are progressing, my energy intake has decreased drastically, and that I’m a new, “green” person. That, however, would be lying.

Now that we’re halfway through the diet, I think I’m going through an experience which many people share. It’s that point in any program where your original fervor has died down and real life is catching back up with you. When I first started the diet, I was focused on making daily changes that I felt would affect my overall energy consumption. Since the energy diet has been underway for a few weeks now, its started to lose that bright, shiny, brand new feeling and is becoming just another thing I keep forgetting to remember.

As the night comes quicker, the leaves have all left the trees, and grey skies rule the days, November is really starting to show its true colors. At least in my little corner of the Northeast, snow hasn’t blanketed the landscape quite yet and we Upstate New Yorkers are left gazing out into barren fields of crops brown and gone. So to get out of my little funk, I find myself daydreaming about the time I spent in Spain earlier this year.

White sand beaches, palm trees, sangria, and sandals all zoom into my head when I think back to Alicante. But after I try and remember the feel of the sun on my face, a thought lingers. Something that amazed me about my time in Spain was the energy efficiency with which the tasks of daily life were completed.

Grocery shopping is done once a day because, on top of desiring fresh produce, Spaniards keep pretty small refrigerators. Many condos and apartment buildings are equipped with water systems that create hot water on demand, decreasing the energy used to constantly heat and reheat water. Though temperatures in the summer reach well over 100°F, many Spaniards forgo air conditioning and utilize the wind to their best advantage, creating cooling air currents throughout their homes. And while we in the U.S. are currently paying around $3.75 per gallon for gasoline, the going rate in Spain during my stay was a little over $5.00. So in general, cars are smaller, people drive shorter distances, and automatic cars are virtually unheard of while manuals run the streets.

So while the days here continue to grow shorter, and colder, and grey…-er, I’m going to be keeping Spain in mind. I’m hoping to not only lift my spirits with memories of sand and the sea, but also, work up a little motivation thinking of my energy-efficient friends across the world. And hopefully, next week I’ll be back on track.


  1. Chris Voell
    Washington, DC
    November 18, 2011, 7:14 am

    Great stuff. Keep it up, and keep inspiring the rest of us to do the same.

  2. Alicia
    Rochester, NY
    November 20, 2011, 9:44 am

    Your kind words are inspiring to me! Thank you!

  3. Gabi
    November 21, 2011, 10:34 am

    I’s funny reading about our neighbours in Spain because we have similar lifestyles and I personally think we need so much done towards greater energy efficiency. My decision to ride a scooter everywhere was the best one ever: it’s cheap to run and to keep, it’s green and you can park it anywhere!

  4. kablan
    Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire
    November 22, 2011, 4:11 am

    i saw your pictures and i believe that you’ll be a big photographor. kablan from COTE D’IVOIRE