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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Electricity and Saving Money

Recently on my way home from a northern hike I saw dotted along our beautiful farmland rows of big wind power generators. 

There is something about them that looks almost creepy, like they don't belong, alien, ominous - something out of science fiction movie.  We read and hear alot about these generators and how they are making people sick who live near them, with the constant swooshing noises - vertigo symptoms, nausea, etc.   Do these generators really put back into the grid the power they had hoped?   The idea seems like a good one, but is it really good for the environment?  I am sure there are lots who could argue the point.

In this world of over consumption, why not learn to use less electricity, insteady of trying to make more, and consume more.  What's wrong with learning to live with less?   So many toys today require electricity or batteries (that require recharging).  Many kids (adults included) don't know how to play anymore unless they are in front of a TV, X-box, Wii box, computer.   What happened to the days of playing ball hockey on the street with friends, going to the library and reading a book and not on an electronic reader?  playing board games instead of  "on-line" games, being outside enjoying nature, getting exercise and fresh air?

The cost of electricity continues to rise.  There are many ways to reduce your consumption of electricity.  Here's my short list of ways we have cut back... what are your's ?  

1) Replace light bulbs - with LED or equivalent.
2) Reduce the phantom power consumed 24/7 by various electronics by plugging into a power bar - turn the power bar off or unplug items when not in use.  Things that require phantom power - microwave, some electric kettles - ever notice how warm the handle gets with the "cordless" styles; coffee makers; steroes; anything with a clock/timer in it (do we really need to constantly be reminded what time it is?) or that turns on with a remote - TV, computer monitors, wireless internet, etc.
3)   Turn lights off when leaving a room.
4)   Replace appliances with energy efficient ones when they need replacing.
5)   Installed wood buring insert into fireplace (see post on simple heating) - not only cut back on our heating bill, but also on electricity bill - by not running furnace fan to blow heat into the rest of house.
6)  Stopped using the dryer and hang laundry inside and out to dry. (see post on Simple Laundry and Indoor drying rack)
7)  Use crock pot or slow cooker more often instead of oven.   Or eat more meals that don't require cooking.
8)  Stopped using a coffee maker - use a coffee press instead.
9)  Use manual tools instead of power generated ones.
10) Learn new skill or hobby that doesn't require electricty (ie knitting, crocheting, etc)

Regularly review your utility bills and get creative on ways to reduce more !  You will be amazed just but doing a few simple things what a difference it will make on your electricity bill. 

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