Notice what changes you can make in your immediate environment to become more sustainable - to become aware is empowering!
|An old postcard found tucked into a book.|
Poems by John Hepworth, sketches by Leunig.
Was your refrigerator banished to the garage or basement when you upgraded to a swishy new one? There it is keeping a few bottles of beer cold ... have you checked how much energy it's consuming? I know of one person who saved over $300 per year simply by getting rid of the beer frig and elderly TV! An alternative could have been to only turn them on as needed ie, don't leave them on standby. Many electric items on "idle" consume more power than you might expect! Standby, or idle is not the same as off. It's not unusual to reduce electricity consumption from 29 kwh to 9.32 kwh just by turning off those items - that represents money in your pocket!
Leaving white-goods on standby can seem petty and insignificant, individually it could be as little as $12 per year, pfft, that's nothing!! But when you add the different items around an average home, it all adds up - maybe it still seems a bit pointless, but when push comes to shove, who would you rather had that $160, you or your power company?
What else to do? Cover downlights with little special igloos to stop winter heated air escaping - many types of downlight create a tiny vortex sucking out your warmth and can double a heating bill in the blink of a wintery eye.
Insulate, insulate insulate - we have chopped up wool and it acts as a cosy blanket for the house.
Double glazing could be too expensive for many of us, but there are stick on alternatives that are affordable and good if you're renting. These products can cut down loss of heat, or prevent it getting in, in hot climates.
Heavy curtains over windows prevent sun getting in where the temperatures are hot, or heat escaping in cold climates. Pelmets over the top of windows stop heat sneaking out - if you're renting it's possible to make simple cardboard ones. It helps create a snug cocoon.
There's a neat little gizmo that you can buy to see how much power is being consumed by appliances when they're on idle. A remote kill switch or power board, again seems insignificant to cut power from standby, but add it to the other savings so YOU get to enjoy the benefits NOT the corporation
Turn off lights when you're not in the room - how simple can it be!
Door seals, don't have to be dorky, and most of us are aware of drafts around outside doors, but I'd never thought of using them indoors. If your toilet or bathroom has a window and vent to the outer world, it could be worthwhile to use a draft sausage and door seals there. It seems picky, but you could be heating the air outside rather than snuggling in it inside.
You can use an Incense stick to check for drafts - just light one then wander around and see how the smoke behaves - is it being sucked upwards towards light fittings or toward door surrounds?
When you buy a new light globe try the LED ones, they're more expensive to buy, but will last an amazing length of time, more than making up for the initial outlay. Some of them shed a cold light, the same as regular light globes, so check before you buy.
We used to hear the saying "a penny saved is a penny earned " meaning don't throw your hard earned money into the abyss. Millions of Australians earn around $20 per hour, if you leave 5 items on standby (eg washing machine, toaster, computer, printer and bar frig) that equates to working 10 hours and you're not getting any personal benefit. You might be at work and notice that the first hour of each day for two weeks every year you're working to pay for items sitting at home on standby. Isn't that worth noticing?
Only run the dishwasher or washing machine as needed, ie when full! Unless you're running a hotel, only wash towels once a week, it's easy to dry them either outdoors in summer or on a clothes horse in winter. Clothes dryers can be used as a back up when all else fails, but line drying is the preferred option - the smell is invigorating and as a hay-fever sufferer I can honestly say I've never sneezed when wearing clothing straight off the line.
You might also become aware of the common unsustainable ingredients in foods. Palm oil is produced from plantations where natural vegetation has been decimated, biodiversity has been thrown out of balance, native peoples forcible removed from traditional lands and animals squashed into pockets of land that are unable to sustain them promoting spread of disease due to overcrowding.
As we learn to notice things such as where goods come from, the ethics of companies, and think about sustainable lifestyles, we find we have choices. Rather than reacting through habit, when we notice we realise we have the power to choose in accordance with our values (see V) - it can help make decisions simple - it's empowering.
Last year for N, I wrote about Nurses and other Nice people for my theme of workplace bullying. Here. and Nincompoops and Napalm here.