Thursday, October 20, 2016

Low-hanging Fruit #1: Conserving Electricity at Home

Okay, I am scrapping my first attempt at this post. It sounded like I had just graduated with an online associates degree for technical writing.
So, let's try again and start this off with electricity. Most US electricity is produced in coal-powered or natural gas plants, both of which cause environmental destruction and create serious health problems for living beings - especially for those who are stuck living near these plants. If we want a healthier planet and a better life for people we have two options: start using cleaner production methods (wind, solar, etc.) or start using a lot less energy. (Or both.)

30% of our country's greenhouse gas emissions come from electricity production!

If you are like me, the solar/wind thing is out of the budget and you live in a town (like Lubbock) that strongly discourages solar and wind with prohibitive local zoning. It ain't easy being green (or frugal) here in the LBK.

It ain't easy being green! (Kermit)

So, I guess we need to focus on using less electricity at home.

Take a look around your house to see what is powered by electricity: heaters, air conditioners, washers, dryers, TVs, phones, computers, fans, lights, ovens - the list is extensive!

Let's pick out some of the low-hanging fruit - heaters and air conditioners.

Now you are probably scratching your head here. Does this crazy Mesquite Hugger know how expensive heaters and air conditioners are? Yes, I do. But this is not a post about scrapping it all and starting over. This is a talk about efficiency. Let's look at three steps.

Step 1: Stop those embarrassing leaks.

Yep, your house probably has air leaks. Doors, windows, light switches, vents, ductwork, ceilings - all of these are possible place where your conditioned air is sneaking out. The leaks cause your heater/ac to work harder which requires more electricity to be consumed which causes you to pay higher bills and our environment to suffer. So, stop those leaks! The hardware is cheap and the skills required are minimal for those of you who want to do it yourself. If you don't want to, then pay a handyman to help you out. You will be amazed at the bang for the buck.

Step 2: Dress appropriately.

This guy gets it!

Let's say it's 30 degrees outside but you are comfortably running around the house in your undies. There's a problem here. Put on more clothes and turn the thermostat down a few degrees. It's a simple but very productive approach to lowering your electricity consumption. And who knows, you may look smoking hot in a sweater! It's all about insulating yourself.

Step 3: Speaking of insulation...

Energy Star: Attic Insulation Project

Add more insulation to your home. Heat rises, so a lot of heat escapes a house by going up. By adding more insulation to your attic, you invite your conditioned air to stick around longer and keep things cozy. Yes, this step is a little more involved than the first two, but it also pays big dividends in conserving energy (and money!)

So there it is - our first low-hanging fruit post. I hope you are finding it tasty and helpful.

May we all find ways to (easily) work together to heal our ailing world.

Bonus Mr. Rogers post: Vintage Electric Car in Mister Rogers' 'hood!

Another Bonus Mr. Rogers post with a dash of Jimmy: Misters Rogers and Carter again? MH looks back a bit.

And another post about energy conservation at home: MH Disclaimer 2: Solar/Wind Power vs Energy Conservation