Energy conservation

Sue and I have been looking for ways to cut energy usage, as this saves money and is good for the planet.

Electronics now get turned off or unplugged when not being used. This includes computers as well as the electric toothbrush, which doesn’t need to stay plugged in. Bizarrely (and wastefully) most electronic equipment continues to use electricity even when turned off. This is a wasteful design flaw that needs to be fixed.

The best way to stop such power drains is to plug the equipment into a power strip, then turn the strip off.

We have CFLs everywhere. The prices for them continues to drop. Wal-Mart just sold their first 100 million CFLs ahead of their projected schedule, and are helping enormously in mainstreaming their usage.

The thermostat stays on the low side in the cool weather. We can always wear a sweater. We’ll also be replacing our old R-11 insulation with R-23. My sister who lives nearby keeps her house at 65 in the winter, which is definitely on the cold side. OTOH, we turn the air conditioning on much less than others here because to us, a 90 degree day isn’t hot, and it rarely gets over that.

An efficient wood-burning stove would generate heat. But getting that heat into the ventilation ducts would be a challenge. Plus, such stoves are not cheap and you then need to buy (or chop) the wood. An environmental engineer tells me heating oil probably burns more efficiently and cheaper than any wood or wood pellet stove.

What are you doing to cut energy costs?

  • DJ

    Awesome. Up where you live, you might also consider storm windows & doors, even if you already have double-paned windows (which most newer homes do). There’s a tax credit for it, too.

    A friend told me our local Ace hardware sells a blower box that attaches to our stove pipe. It absorbs heat that would otherwise go up the chimney and blows in into the room, greatly increasing efficiency. The price: $140. We’re going to get one for our stove.

    We don’t have a duct system, just a wall furnace, which last year we kept at 55 degrees; this year we’re going to try not to turn it on. But I bet with a little modification, the blower box could be used with central heating. Wood may not burn more efficiently than oil, but it’s renewable, and thus (unlike oil) removes carbon from the atmosphere during its production (i.e. growth). Where we live, it takes very little petroleum to get the wood to our stove, but of course that’s not true in every location.

    I’ve come to look at conservation as a journey– something there’s always room for improvement in. There are lots of ideas out there (some better than others), and it would take years to implement them all. If you haven’t seen it already, check out “The 1/2 Project“– it has some great energy-saving methods, along with cost and savings projections.

  • woody

    Simple Dollar just had a great blog on how to cut costs at home on heating. One of the big ones:

    Cook meals at home. Not only does it save on cooking costs, but the heat generated by the oven or stove contributes to both the cooking process and the house heating process. Theres 0 therm loss and lots of cash gain!

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