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Saving Some Quid, And The Planet Too

I've always been one for reducing my carbon footprint on the environment. Politics aside, I think we can all agree that CO2 emissions on the atmosphere is more harmful than good. As a result, I've been conscious of my contributions. So, when my wife and I bought our home, I began setting out what I could do to do my part. First thing first, was replacing the incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescents (CFLs). However, I wasn't a fan of doing a total replacement, mainly for the fact that spending all that money up front, would take some time to get back in power consumption savings. So, as time went on, I've been replacing bulb for bulb as they burned out. Well, I haven't had a bulb burn out on me in a couple of years, and I've been getting anxious to get them all replaced, so tonight, I went to my local hardware store, and purchased the last remaining replacements.

When my wife and I bought this home, the previous owner must've liked a bright house, as just about every bulb in the home was 100 watts. There were a couple 60 and 75 watt bulbs here and there, but the vast majority were 100 watts. Well, I don't care for such a brightly lit home for a couple of reasons. First, for the small home we own, there just isn't a room that needs that amount of light. Second, being exposed to very bright light for extended periods of time gives me headaches, so dimming the rooms down is a must. So, instead of replacing the 100 watt incandescent bulb with a CFL equivalent, I brought each bulb down to the 60 watt replacement, which is only a 13 watt CFL bulb.

I've kept track of all the bulbs in the house as I've been replacing them, as I've been curious to watch my electricity consumption. When we purchased the house, we had 4180 watts of installed bulbs. After tonight, we're now totaling 1028 watts. That is a 75% decrease in electricity for light bulbs. And at an average of $3 per CFL, it hasn't been too expensive of an investment. I'm confident that I could squeeze an additional 200-300 watts out, if I really tried, by replacing the fluorescent tubes in my kitchen and garage with lower wattages. When not in a room, the lights are also turned off to save electricity.

Of course, there's more to your overall wattage consumption than light bulbs. I recently replaced a 19" CRT monitor with a 19" LCD. I've also turned on aggressive power saving preferences in all my computers, turning the monitors off after 10 minutes of inactivity, and hibernating after 30 minutes of inactivity. I've turned the brightness down 50% on all monitors as well, which mainly was just to avoid the headaches. I've programmed the thermostat such that when we're away from the home, I reduce turning on the AC or heater, and when we're home, I've set it such that we can endure slight warmth during the summer or slight cold during the winter. The fridge and freezer are turned up a degree or two, and Christmas lights have been replaced with LED lights. Anything and everything I can do to save the last little bit of electricity, I do. If I were to stay in this home permanently, I'd invest in solar panels on the roof, to take advantage of the energy from the sun to power most of my home. Lastly, I drive a car that gets 42/35 mpg, and my wife drives one that gets 35/28 mpg. The only thing I wish I could replace is our 50 gallon water heater with a tankless water heater.

It feels good to minimize our CO2 emissions as best we can while remaining practical and affordable. It also feels good to be saving my hard earned cash. Now, the only question that's left, is what are you doing to minimize your footprint on the environment?

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