I installed a solar hot water heater in 2011. I did this because i learned that heating water is one of th biggest energy hogs in our home after heating the rooms. Each May I've been able to turn off my oil boiler and use the sun to heat water until Oct. It's always fun to see how early I can turn off the boiler and how long I can keep it off going into the fall. I tried turning it off in April and it worked except for two days where we needed a flash of heat from the oil boiler. We had to pay attention to taking showers and washing dishes when the sun had done the work of heating water by end of day. We don't use hot water for washing clothes. My solar hot water heater is so powerful that I have to work to use hot water in summer months. It's at that time that i wish i had a dump zone like a hot tub or pool but that ain't ever happening with lakes and rivers nearby!
Energy Challenge #1
Quick! Save as much energy as you can in one day. Try a 24-hour Energy Save-A-Thon.
The cheapest energy is the energy you don't use.
Rather than pecking away at a problem, sometimes going at it whole hog can be more fun and meaningful. Instead of trying to change the way you live all the time, this challenge is about shake things up a little bit to look at typical energy use in a new way. By giving a few things up for a little while, you might even get a sense of - dare we suggest - gratitude for what you've got...
- Pick a day. (Ideally one that works well for you and your family or friends if they're joining in)
- Plan and prepare (Check out the Resources for help!)
- Do it and **then** complete this challenge by sharing your photos, insights, and tips for others in the box below!)
Can't contemplate making a dent for a day? Get laser-focused on one energy area:
Rather than saving all the energy you can, pick one thing which uses a lot of energy and save as much as you can on that!
- Describe what you did, and why.
- What worked well? What didn't? Any takeaways?
This cute giraffe picture may come in handy:
Save-A-Thon Planning Tips:
- Think up some substitutions to energy-things you'll avoid during
- For things you can't give up, but will try to use less of, try to come up with ways to help you cut back for 24 hours.
- See below for more help!
Things that Use Energy
- Lights, hot water, electronics, cars, lava lamps, space heaters, anything that plugs in
- NOTE: the type of energy we're talking about is electricity or fuels like oil and gas.
Green Mountain Power Customer?
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- Instead of TV, play a tabletop game.
- Instead of turning the heat up/on, dance around the house like nobody's watching!
Ways to Use Less
- Eat dinner before it gets dark.
- See how fast you can shower!
- Put some sticky notes on light switches to remind you not to use them.
Some Light Reading Just Because
The Biggest Innovation in Energy (The Economist)