Welcome to the first in my series of blog entries that talk about small actions that can reduce your energy expenses and reduce your use of fossil fuels. This will help your bank account while helping our environment. These actions are easy and either free or inexpensive, aiming to help us all maintain our current standard of living. I’ll try to introduce one per week. We are all busy but, perhaps if we can concentrate on implementing one new, energy-saving idea each week, it will become a habit.
Can you use your heater less in the winter without being colder? It is possible. Here is a picture taken yesterday morning in the front hall of my house.
Outside it was chilly. In the sun, inside the house, it was HOT! In the winter, on sunny days, open the shades that face the sun. After the sun goes down, close them to help keep the heat in. In our house, we didn’t turn our heat on until October 30. Since then, it has only come on rarely – we do have the advantage of having the front of our house face south, but just about every house has some windows that get the sun. Taking a few minutes to raise south-facing shades in the morning and lower them again at night can make a huge difference in the interior temperature of your home.
Earlier this month was Election Day and, unfortunately, many people didn’t make the effort to go vote. Perhaps they think their vote doesn’t matter. “What’s just one vote?” they think. Well, one vote matters a great deal when multiplied by many people. I see a great parallel between this and energy conservation. “What’s just one light bulb?” many people think. “It doesn’t use much energy.” It is true. One 100 watt light bulb uses only about 40 cents worth of electricity if left on all day. But then consider one light bulb multiplied by many rooms in many homes and the energy savings become significant. So while you may think small actions don’t have a big impact, many small actions can change the world…and save your wallet.
Paul North says
Re: Passive Solar – The high temperature shown in the photo – 107.4 deg. F – and “HOT!” comment indicates that perhaps more “thermal mass” is needed to absorb, store, and average out or “buffer” that great heating effect ! Our house is a passive solar design, too, but we have a 1″ thick stone floor on 4″ concrete and 2″ foam insulation underneath. In similar conditions the floor and air get to 71 to 74 degrees – but the floor holds that temperature and releases the stored heat gradually overnight. For more info on all this see Daniel D. Chiras’ excellent paperback book, “THE SOLAR HOUSE – Passive Heating and Cooling”, Chelsea Green Publishing Co., White River Jct., Vermont, 2002 – he describes how he too had a similar phenomenon occurring in his first solar house in Colorado.
– Paul North.
(Got your card at the end of the Eco-Expo at Temple Beth Or in Maple Glen yesterday – thanks for appearing !)