Friday, June 01, 2012

(No Impact Week - Day #4) Pump It Up

Yesterday's area of focus was energy use.  I was out and about, using up my own personal energy so I wasn't able to post anything.

As I mentioned earlier in the week, we have been using an oil lamp in the evenings instead of our electric lights.  The first night, everyone was pretty excited and we ended staying up late, talking and laughing.  Ahhh....just as I dreamed it would be: family bonding, heart-to-heart conversations and lots of intimate togetherness.

The next night, my friends from Germany stopped by for a visit and sat in the near-darkness with us.  It was fun but we all got sleepy rather quickly and they left not long after arriving.  Do we get more boring in the dark?  I wonder.

On Wednesday night, Fin and Lucy began to rebel.  A couple of nights is one thing but this was going on a little too long for the tastes of some.  Fin staged a strike - he refused to wash the supper dishes if the lights stayed off.  After a tense stand-off, the kitchen lights were turned on and dishwashing commenced as per usual.  Last night, a sense of resignation seemed to have settled in and, as the house grew darker, no one protested but no one seemed inclined to talk either.  Even I began to wish I could just go read a book in bed.  I am currently re-reading Kristen Lavransdatter and you know how that is.

Tonight will be our last night with the oil lamp.  I am thinking that perhaps we should try to have one night/month when we keep the lights off.  It could be just enough to keep us appreciative of the convenience and benefit of electric lights and to have that time of closeness that darkness brings forward.

The other thing we have been doing to reduce our energy use is to power up the laptop batteries in the morning and then unplug them.  If their charge runs out, then no more computer use that day.  I think it is a good system and one that I want to keep in force after this week is over.  It manages to save energy and give some boundaries to computer use all at the same time.

As part of this experiment, I also learned about solar powered chargers for cellphones and other devices.  They run around $30, which seems pretty reasonable.  I think they are smart idea given that charging up these devices sucks up power at a surprising rate.

Pump it up - you don't really need it.



Helen Griffin said...

I am mindful of enegy use--(what with Con Ed vieing for the highest kilowatt hour rate in US, its easy) but I do really like electric lights!

90% of my bulbs are CFB-(and the last 10% will be replaced with Ott type (natural light) screw in's (Ott bulbs used to be only available as pin ends, not conventional screw ins) and have been for years.
I don't have an air conditioner, (just a few fans) and my major appliances are all energy star top performers.
But part of my footprint is an elevator.
I can (and have, on rare occations) walk up the 14 flights of stairs to my apartment--but I won't want to do so everyday! (Especially on vegetable shopping day!)

Taos Sunflower said...

I'm with Helen...good light bulbs these days keep your use minimal, and probably much less of a footprint than whatever you were burning has.

Even small things, like you talk about, add up in the long run.