Toward the beginning of the year, I shared with you a posted about the short list of energy consumption, a work that illustrated the importance of not only moderating energy consumption, but the importance of understanding where energy use really comes from.

When we want to get in shape & feel good about our decisions for the day, we take the stairs. Similarly, when at home & wanting to cut energy consumption, we flip off the lights.

Neither of these decisions are really getting us anywhere. Unfortunately, for a lot of us–raise your hand, rentors!–we’re stuck. We have no control over a lot of energy decisions, other than setting back temperature. But if we’re willing to make a bit of an investment, we can all begin going a long way.

Mr. Electricity put together a massive page for you. His interactive page allows you to play with energy costs. See exactly how much energy is used when you do your weekly laundry, & see how much that costs you for the year.

As I mentioned with my Wednesday post, I have to see it & read it to believe it. Mr. Electricty pointed out that the annual savings from switching to the cold rather than the hot cycle when washing cuts costs in half. (Assuming equal starting temperatures & dryer times, at four loads a week going from hot to cold is a cost cut from $176 to $95. I used Mr. Electricity’s special laundry page for that.)

To see where the real savings stack up, check out this chart (c/o Mr. Electricity).

So. Turning off lights, zero energy savings. Switching to more efficient lights, good annual savings.

Now, herein lies the problem. I pay for my laundry in quarters. Four of them, no matter what temperature or what cycle. I don’t get the energy savings from switching to cold water. I’m left to do it on good faith, because I believe in the importance of energy efficiency.

I have no ceiling fans, but in the summer we’ll attempt to lower our energy bill by opening the windows & minimizing air conditioning use.

So where are my benefits? What do I get for this inconvenience? We’re all trying to figure that out, aren’t we?

Those who study energy are trying to address this problem: The monetary incentive doesn’t always work. Or it doesn’t reach the right person. So what does? What can? What will change behavior other than crisis?

I’m putting this question out there to all of you. What would it take for you to make these changes? Which seem most feasible for you?


About meganbetz

human geography PhD Student at Indiana University; wife, reader, writer, baker, gardener
This entry was posted in being conscious and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to energy

  1. Pingback: a gentle nudge | francofile

  2. Joe Betz says:

    This always fascinates me. However, turning off the lights does create energy savings–the zero is the cost of doing so, right? Changing bulbs will provide constant savings over several years, and the practice of keeping lights off works hand in hand. I think the best day for me came last week when the power company said we needed to call and have our monthly budget reduced from 92 to 70 dollars per month–an decrease of energy consumption by over 20% from the average tenant of a one bedroom apartment. Annual savings: 264 dollars.

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