Energy savings – some easy targets

Everyone in Juneau is trying to find ways to reduce their energy costs.  A catastrophic avalanche took out over a mile and a half of power line from our hydroelectric plant and cut off Alaska's capital city.  Everything is operating on huge generators.  It's estimated to take 100,000 gallons of diesel every day to keep things running.  In turn, our rates are soaring to an estimated 50 cents per kilowatt hour.

Needless to say, every little bit helps.  If we all conserve enough, maybe we won't need to ship in so much fuel.  After all, it takes a lot of time to find that kind of supply and get it here, and it isn't cheap!

Here are some examples of what our family has done so far:

• Obviously, turn off lights when we aren't in the room.  I was surprised at how I automatically reach for that light switch when I enter a room.  Sometimes it isn't even dark!  Part of that reflex may be because we are just coming out of winter when it was dark all the time.

• We switched out some of the more commonly used lights for compact fluorescents.  We'd purchased these but never had gotten around to installing them.  Talk about money lying around!  HINT:  I've been told that many of these have a warrantee.  The catch is, you need to keep the receipt and the packaging and take them to the place you bought them!

• Close off the rooms you are not using.  We are recent empty-nesters.  There are a few rooms in the house that are rarely used.  Surprisingly, I found electrical devices plugged in.  Phone chargers with no phones attached, lamps, alarm clocks, televisions, and even a stereo that was ON but with the volume turned down! 

• After cleaning these rooms, I turned down the heat and closed the doors.  Since then, I came to realize that I have less carpet to vacuum (Now there's an idea – an excuse to vacuum less!)

All this was on the first day.  I've tried to improve a few other habits, but it takes a while to break routines.  Baby steps, baby steps, and one day at a time!

Feel free to share your ideas!

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