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Cutting our energy dependence

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politicat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-23-06 06:49 PM
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Cutting our energy dependence
We have spent the last couple of weeks doing an energy audit of what we use, and while we've got some good marks, I think we still have room for improvement.

We have a high efficiency air conditioner, and the electronic thermostat is smart enough to know when to turn it on and when to turn it off. So far, we've only had it on once, the day the service guy came out to check it. We'll probably need it come June (allergies mean swamp coolers are not so good) but if last year is any indicator, only during the afternoons and only on the western end of the house. It cost us about $75 to run it last summer.

During the summer, we use the toaster oven and the breadmaker instead of the gas oven for bread or other things that need to be baked. The toaster oven uses a little less power, and doesn't make the AC fight the oven. We also use the gas grill whenever possible, and it has a small burner on the side so I can fry potatoes or something as needed. A tank of propane runs about $15 and lasts for most of the summer.

We put in a clothes line, and I'll be using it primarily, with the dryer as backup in case of rain or the need for speed. Undies will dry in the house on a rack so the neighbors don't complain about their property values... *sigh*

All of the windows have shades that can be drawn against the sun. All of the windows on the west and south side of the house have shades that reflect heat.

All but four of the lightbulbs in the house are fluorescent or compact fluorescent. No one yet makes a CF that will work in the fridge, the freezer, the range hood or the microwave.

All of the desktop computers are going to be recycled. They have all been replaced with laptops, reducing the energy drain from 350 W/h each to 65 W/h each.

We replaced the stereo, subwoofer and components with iPods, docking stations and computer speakers. The stereo pulled about 600 W/h combined, while the iPod and computer speakers pull about 30 W/h total. The sound reproduction is pretty close.

I won't be using the treadmill this summer - the weather is looking good, and I found walking/hiking shoes that are wonderful on my feet. The stationary bicycle is unpowered.

The car gets 42 mpg, but I think we're going over to the bikes for most of the summer. I just ordered mine, and I've got DH's out of the shed and am doing maintenance on it tomorrow.

The washing machine and the refrigerator are both energy star, and both are post 2001, so have the new energy standards. The fridge uses about 430 kW/year. If/when this one becomes obsolete, I will be replacing it with a chest refrigerator (which is a chest freezer with a refrigerator thermostat installed) because they're about 500 times more efficient, but I just learned that. We only do full loads, etc.

I don't think I'll be using the dishwasher much this summer, since I figured out how to "sneak out" my grey water through a diversion Y and a cutdown to my garden. The dishwasher only uses 11 gallons of water, but if I can use the water twice, all the better. (It is technically illegal for me to use my grey water, because water rights law means that there are farmers in Kansas who have a prior claim on my waste water.)

We have a garden and a compost heap, and our lawn mower is only human powered. About 85% of the time, we use trimmers instead of the weed eater, but when the thistles come in, the weed eater is necessary.

Okay, what am I missing?
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FloridaPat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-27-06 08:49 PM
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1. You get lots of gold stars. Think about adding a solar oven.
Here is one web site to give you an idea of what it does. There are several sites which show you how to make your own.
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NMDemDist2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-27-06 08:55 PM
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2. and now you get to get a new Energy Star microwave too, thanks to BtB

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politicat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-01-06 09:44 PM
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3. Augh. Yeah.

Got some bad news for you though - I don't think I'm coming down in 3 weeks. I start a contract next week, and I don't think I can really take 6 days off one week into the contract (and it's not a trip that I can do in less than 8 total days because the travel time is so long.) We're still debating it, and I'll know more next week, but it's not looking good.
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