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Old 08-08-2006, 07:57 AM   #1
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Energy conservation

I would like to continue the topic of what we do to conserve energy. A lot of our solutions are meant for the long haul, but some of you are young enough that these things may be practical.

In the 1980s we built an energy conserving house, by making it super insulated. The walls are stuffed with that pink itchy stuff and are about 12 inches thick; using a set of double spaced studs off set so there is not a direct line of wood through the wall to conduct heat out the wall. We use compact fluorescent light bulbs almost everywhere in the house, these use far less electricity to operate and also generate a lot less heat when they are turned on, (the less heat incandescent light bulbs generate, the cooler it is in the house). We heat the house with a wood fired furnace, but we have our own woods to supply the firewood. But I must confess that as we get older we have bought wood by the ton, the most cost effective way to purchase firewood. It generally is way more expensive to buy firewood by the cord than by the ton. We have an air lock entry for both entrances to the house, so we are never walking directly from the outside into a living space of the house. The living spaces open into a tempered air zone, being the basement and the green house, so we minimize heat (or cooling) loss out the doors when we go outside or inside.

EVERY time you go to get in the car, think, do I really need to make this trip?? I mean, do I really need to make this trip? Can I combine trips? Can I ride my bicycle instead of driving the car? These days, it takes a lot for me to want to get into the car to burn gas that has cost me over $3.00 a gallon. Be conscious of turning off lights and other devices when not in use. Water conservation is a big thing for us right now. We have a spring development and when it does not rain, the spring does not get recharged. In our house, the washing machine is a big water user, so I simple do less laundry. I wash the sheets and towels less often than I used to. Thankfully the dishmachine uses only 7 gallons of water for a complete cycle, so that is the last water using device that gets axed. The toilets get flushed less often and get used less often. We still have an operating out house over by the barn. The shower heads have an off switch so we can turn off the water while lathering up in the shower.

How do you conserve our resources?


Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. Margaret Mead
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Old 08-08-2006, 08:12 AM   #2
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Done that wood burning thing several years ago for several years. Alot of work and getting to old to be cutting, spliting, hauling, piling and hauling in wood. Let the young folks do it. We burn propane to heat and AC to cool. We do plant alot of trees at the hunting shack for the future and we do turn our lights out when not in a room. We recycle glass, cans, plastic. Don't run to town alot so try to make the best of it in one trip. I think the people in the big cites should think about car pooling more. Hardly ever do you see more then one person in a car in the bigger cities.

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Old 08-08-2006, 09:33 AM   #3
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I use public transport (very good service) to go to work. The car is strictly for weekends, shopping trips where I cannot comfortably carry purchases or longer business trips.

I try to ensure that I buy food in season to save 'food miles'. I refuse not to go on holidays to distant places, just to conserve food miles, though, even if it HAS been suggested as a 'good thing' by some UK clergy! It's a big thing here in the UK at the mo.... considering how far a foodstuff has had to journey to arrive on our plates.

I buy only organic meat which is raised locally and therefore does not add much to the food miles. Ditto locally raised fruits and veg. We also grow some of our own veg and fruits.

I use energy-efficient fridge, freezer, washing machine (a front loader, which is the most common type sold here) and dishwasher.

I recycle newspapers (and newsprint), packaging, bottles and cans. Also clothing, furniture and unwanted books to charity shops. Reading glasses are donated (via optician) to needy in the developing world.

I think we do our bit.
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Old 08-08-2006, 10:30 AM   #4
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Done the woodburning thing. Set thermostat in summer at 77 (on 100*days) or 78* during the day. (Winter thermostat at 64* usually--put on a sweater. ) Don't run it at night. Have ceiling fans for air circulation. Conserve WATER--EVERY day. During our accute drought 2 years ago collected shower water for plants. Collected dish rinsing water to run disposall. Collect AC condensate for watering plants.
Use toaster oven for small baking--even potatoes, pizzas. Use pressure cooker for dishes. Use crockpot.
These are ideas for homes that aren't built to an energy conservation point.
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Old 08-08-2006, 01:19 PM   #5
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I think the key is renewable resources and recyclable resources. I do agree with car pooling or public transportation. I also think we should be looking for larger corperations to take some initiative and show the public, "hey, look what we can do!" Our dependencies on fossil fuels and non sustainable resources are going to lead to even more problems for this generation as well as our childrens, let alone our grandchildren. There are ALOT of options that are explored around the world and it seems that certain countries are lacking. The best way to conserve, is to know what you are using and then narrow it down. It is simple to turn off a light switch, or brush your teeth in the shower. In Bermuda we still collect rainwater as a primary base for house hold appliances. There is also a large desalination planmt now, but it is more for industry. car pooling can not only save the environment, but also helps gas prices and pertol consumption. I think there should be more investment into wind power too.
I am glad to see science really puting conservation on the front lines. it seems almost every day there is a breakthrough. I wish the implimentation of certain things would happen more rapidly, but everything needs to be tested and approved.
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