Sunday, February 19, 2012

Doubling the Effort for Half the Energy

Our electric bill has been a little higher than we'd like the past few months.  Sure, you have to factor in the Christmas lights we hung (and only lit about five times) and the fact that winter's fewer daylight hours mean the indoor lighting comes on earlier and stays on longer.  But I don't think that's all.  According to our latest ComEd bill, we used 296 kilowatt hours this January.  Last month, 301 kWh.  Compare that to 244 and 222 kWh in December 2010 and January 2011, respectively.  We've using more electricity (shame on us), and I'll tell you why.

Inspired by Earth Hour, when you go dark for one hour by unplugging everything in your house, we had been regularly unplugging the nonessentials whenever we weren't using them.  Coffee maker, microwave, any other small kitchen appliances, TV, DVD, digital box, antenna (it plugs in for amplified receiving strength).  When we left the house for the day, when we went to bed, when we simply weren't watching TV.  And, of course, turning off the lights when we left a room.  This discipline lasted for a long while.  And then life got busy -- Len's school schedule became fuller, we made more frequent whirlwind weekend trips to visit my family, and I don't know what else -- and we were exhausted.  Combine that with darker, colder days, which drain all motivation, and we were consequently lazy when it came to conserving resources.  Also, due to Len's course load, our home computer has been on more often (for him), and our TV has been on more often (for me).

Anyway, now I am going to renew our commitment to reducing our electricity usage.  And my goal is to halve our usage.  That's right.  I know we can do it, too, because in April, May, and June 2011, our kWh usage ranged from 146 to 153.  We've used only half of what we're using now, and we will use that little again.

Related Posts:
Beyond the Day
The Earth Hour 2010 Report

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