Energy efficiency

I’m starting to feel a bit guilty about electricity use. I saw a headline on Stuff.co.nz proclaiming cold showers in a week. I can handle cold showers (I figure I can pretend I’m a late-rising housemate on Big Brother), but I don’t like the idea that there’d be old people having to suffer through a cold shower, or not being able to take a bath.

So I went to the Target 10 web site to look at the ideas they had to save electricity around the home.

1. Have shorter showers instead of baths and save around 5% on your power bill.

I always shower. I have to whole process totally streamlined. Wet hair, put shampoo in, brush teeth, wash face, rinse shampoo, put conditioner in, wash body, rinse conditioner, get out. There’s no mucking about, and I’m not sure how I could cut time off that.

2. Wash your clothes in cold water. Water heating is the biggest single way your home uses power.

3. Use your clothesline to dry clothes as much as possible.

I don’t have a washing machine, so I take my clothes to the Chinese laundry. I’m not sure if it’s possible for them to use less electricity.

4. Switch off appliances you’re not using at the wall. Appliances waste power on ‘stand by’.

It’s too hard to do that for my TV. I tried unplugging my VCR and it messed up the reception on TV1 (!), so that’s not working. But I’ve unplugged my stereo and turntable. It seems a shame to do so in NZ Music Month.

5. Only have the lights on in rooms you’re in.

Ha! I’ve always done this. My mother was such a hard core advocate of turning off lights in empty rooms that it’s been perpetually ingrained in me.

6. If you have a second fridge or freezer, empty it into your main fridge or freezer and switch it off. Second fridges and freezers are usually older and less efficient types, so waste a lot of power.

I don’t have a second freezer, but I did read that fridges and freezers are more efficient when they’re full, so I’m making the effort to fill up my freezer.

7. Fix leaky hot taps. A leaky tap could be dripping away up to 2% of your power bill.

I checked the hot taps. None of them appear to be leaking.

8. Only heat the room you’re in and close your curtains when the sun goes down, keeping in the free warmth from the sun.

This one’s been hard to do, because my lounge gets the afternoon sun and sometimes it can be really annoying, so I close the blinds early and turn the heater on. I do make sure that I close the doors to other rooms to keep the heat from dissipating.

9. Turn your heated towel rail off in the morning after your shower, and on again at night. There’s no point heating the towels when there’s no one home.

I wish I had a heated towel rail. Instead I have damp, energy efficient towels in my cold, energy efficient bathroom.

10. Switch off your computer when you’ve finished using it. Or if you’re away from it for more than 15 minutes, switch off your monitor. The savings are worth it

I always unplug my iBook when I’m not using it, Ooh – maybe I should unplug that at the wall?

Here’s other stuff I’m doing to be more energy efficient:

– Instead of using the 60 watt light in my lounge, instead I use my 40 watt lava lamp. It makes for excellent mood lighting.
– I also don’t use my main bedroom light, instead I use a lower wattage lamp.
– And I don’t usually turn the toilet light on at night.
– I’m using my electric blanket just to warm up my bed. Previously I’d lie in bed reading getting all hot and bothered.
– I’m trying, oh, how I’m trying, to use my heater less.
– I grab a duvet and curl up, gran-style, on the couch with my old flatmate’s cat.

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