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Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes

We're just about get production underway on our next issue of Country's Best Cabins, which will focus on energy efficiency. By delving into some of the recent habits and trends surrounding the concept of "being green," we discovered that one of the biggest factors in becoming more efficient is not a thing or a label or a process, but a person: you.

A change in the way you look at your consumption habits can do wonders for your utility bills. Simply operating major appliances on alternating schedules can ease the load placed on your systems and decrease your consumption. (My source, an engineer, tried to explain it comparatively to the way an airplane engine operates; I likened it more to trying to carry too much in one load and overburdening yourself in the process, when a few loads, though they will require multiple trips, will be less taxing and easier to manage.)

A recent study also shows that, although most consumers take basic efforts like replacing incandescent bulbs with more efficient ones, turning off appliances when not in use, etc., many have been hesitant to jump full force onto the "green" bandwagon, either through lack of understanding what's available or the impact little things like not running the dishwasher and washing machine may have on their overall energy usage.

In what ways have you tried to reduce your carbon footprint? What has paid off the most?

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Tags: efficiency, energy

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Comment by Whitney Richardson on April 18, 2012 at 12:05pm

Glenn: I think you hit the nail on the head with your efforts. It's amazing what little tweaks like lowering your thermostat during the day can do, let alone major undertakings such as a solar-panel array. I think a lot of people are reluctant to change routine habits in their everyday lives, but having someone like you give a real-life example is always helpful to show that such change is not as drastic as they may perceive it to be.

And thanks for the link, Joe! Definitely some good ideas in there.

Comment by Denny Johnson on April 17, 2012 at 10:05am

Thanks for the article. We are trying different things to reduce our electric bill. Even go partly off grid with some solar panels and golf cart batteries. Even the little steps are rewarding.

Comment by Joe on April 10, 2012 at 8:35am

Whitney,

The following site has so many ideas on how to save energy it will take days to review everything. Some ideas are laughable but most are serious ideas and good. Scroll through the  list.

http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/Conservation/conservation.htm#...

 

What Glen has done is amazing and I wonder if he even pays for outside electricity.

Joe

 

Comment by Glenn V on April 8, 2012 at 11:23am

The home we own, (non log, still wishing) has 8 solar panels on the roof. It is a closed loop water system and heats all of our hot water from early spring to late fall, as well as heat the basement and living room. We have had a recycling service for many years and have reduced our trash in half. I use a setback thermostat and have it programed to set back 7-10 degrees during the daytime and night, and set up for A/C. For every 1 degree of change over an eight hour period you can save 1 % on heating or A/C, (approximate), so just one 10 degree setback for an 8 hour period will translate to a 10% savings for you and the environment. We have low flow showers, toilets, faucets, and very rarely water plants outside. I have mulched my grass clippings and leaves for many years now so no lawn trash bags sitting in the dump for 1000 years. When mulched it puts nutrients back into your lawn. I had switched a lot of our lights bulbs years ago and added some power strips to help stop some rogue electric use when not using those items. I check and seal around windows and doors, also outlet covers for air leaks.

There is a lot I could do better at though. Most of the changes I could make come down to saving time or money, in that a I choose to save on the present costs to myself over the cost to the environment and long term savings, which is very sad to admit to. A lot of times the best for the environment doesn't translate for cost savings for that particular individual or be affordable for them.

The one item that I really noticed most, was how much we reduced what was in our trash can. I was shocked. It was highly noticeable since you use it constantly. We have 2 recycle cans and one for trash. I need to work more on changing myself, my way of thinking, to make how I live, my lifestyle, have less a negative impact on this planet. A lot of changes are not that hard to do and with little inconvenience, its changing your lifestyle, thought process, that is hard to do.

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