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How to Reduce Electricity Use Part II (Resources Galore!)

Ayla Dunn Bieber recommends some resources for energy conservation and websites that show you how to choose your electric supplier. Chock-full of practicality…

Hello all,

While we may not have them every night, Daniel, Odelia, and I have been enjoying our candle-lit dinners immensely. My awareness about turning lights off when I’m moving rooms (or not turning them on at all during the day) has been satisfying, and I’ve switched to doing all laundry using cold water. I’ve also programmed our thermostats to ensure we’re not wasting energy while we’re not home, nor at night when we are cozy in bed. I have some self-judgement that I wasn’t paying more attention to these things before now, but all we can do is continually do better, right?

How is your electricity reduction going? Are there changes you have tried to make?

I wanted to share a few more links to websites with easy and practical information about energy conservation for further tips and inspiration:

Another way to have an impact around sustainable energy is to choose your electric supplier. While we don’t have a say in our electricity distributors (specific companies that own and maintain the poles and wires that get to our homes), we can choose where our electricity comes from (including making greener choices – i.e. wind, solar, hydroelectric).

I was recently directed to NYS Power to Choose by my gas and electric distributor (Orange and Rockland) and was happy to see that once you put in your zip code the site easily compares electric supplier’s rates in your area and tells you if they are green and how so. I found a few sites (there seem to be several) doing a similar thing in NJ (Power2Switch and Choose Energy). Daniel and I chose a new green supplier, which I not only feel better about morally, but which will also save us money too!

I hope you’ve enjoyed our foray into this electrifying topic ;). I can’t wait to explore a different sustainability theme with you all next month. Until then… stay warm (but not too warm) on these cold winter nights.

Don’t forget to take advantage of the ‘20% off candles’ in December’s Dirt that our friends at The Hungry Hollow Co-op have offered in conjunction with our energy reduction efforts these past two months! Offer expires January 15th!

Powering down for now,
Ayla

How to Reduce Electricity Use (It’s more fun than you’d think!)

Ayla Dunn Bieber [candle]lights the way toward more conscious energy use in our homes, with tips and activities to help your family reduce your electricity use (and your monthly bill!)…

What better time to talk about energy use (specifically, electricity use) than just after turning the clocks back, when our homes seem darker so much earlier! Personally, I go through phases of being more conscious about my electricity use. I am happy to say that lately I have been in a more aware phase, and even more so after doing research for this ‘scoop’!

So, let’s get into it: “According to the Environmental Protection Agency, if every American replaced just one light bulb with an ENERGY STAR light bulb, we would save enough energy to light three million homes for a year, we would save more than $600 million in energy costs in a year, and we would reduce greenhouse gases emissions equivalent to taking 800,000 cars off the road” [source].

What?! Sobering, right? And inspiring!

Here are some fun and easy things you can do at home to 1) increase your family’s attention around your electricity use, and 2) take concrete steps toward energy reduction. I’m so excited to forge some new habits together!

  • Have an electricity free day! Your power doesn’t have to be out to experience the magic this can bring. In fact, we’d like to do it together! NPDC declares Sunday, Nov. 25th a shared electricity-free day! Send us pictures of what your family does with your day (perhaps a picture of your candlelit dinner table?). This is a wonderful way to jump-start bringing attention to your electricity use. Are there certain lights you instinctively turn on when they aren’t actually needed? Do you turn off the lights every time you leave a room? Are there certain lights you leave on all the time? Bringing awareness is the first step toward making long term changes.
  • Get crafty by creating light switch covers to help remind you and your family to turn the lights off! Climatekids NASA has a fun template, but the sky is the limit. Use a design that fits your family!
  • Learn what electronic items in your home are sucking energy while they are powered off!! This is a HUGE one. Here is an informative article on how to identify these items and what to do! If you don’t have time to read the article, the short of it is that we need to either unplug devices (including cell phone chargers and computers) when not in use, or for areas in your home that you have several things plugged in, use a ‘smart power strip‘ that knows when a device is off and shuts down electricity to it. This can save you from all the bending and reaching each time you need to turn your computer on or off etc).
  • Make a commitment to eat dinner only by candle-light – for a night, a week, a month… a year… (who doesn’t love a candlelit dinner!?)

We also love supporting our local co-op, The Hungry Hollow Co-op. When they heard we were writing about energy conservation, they wanted to offer an exclusive deal to our Dirt readers (!!). Stop in and present the coupon (found in November’s issue) for 20% off on a purchase of candles this winter!

I’m so excited to hear how you and your family have fun with this topic! Please keep me posted.

Signing off and shutting down,
Ayla