Sunday, June 14, 2015

Energy Suck

As a kid I remember the California houses of the 1960s. They were bigger, glassier, and cared not about energy usage.

Everything was built-in electric.

While I get the need for some electrical appliances like washers, dryers, refrigerators, and—two guilty pleasures—the dishwasher and the garbage disposal, the upscale 1960s California houses had electric ovens—sometimes dual—trash compactors, electric cook tops, and built in blenders.

If it could be electrified, it was.

Much of California requires air conditioning for five to six months out of the year, and yet we let our houses sprawl.

In the 1970s and 1980s—as a result of Governor Jerry Moonbeam Brown—we stopped building new powerplants, but we increased our electrical use.

Today, California is PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) and EV (electric vehicle) crazy as it bribes people to buy electrified vehicles—which will strain the power grid even more—and yet not much is being done to increase power production.

Sure, there is wind this and solar that, but those measures—currently—are not sufficient for the spiraling demand.

As a result, we can be sitting in our air-conditioned homes when it’s 105 degrees outside and poof a rolling blackout occurs.

Suddenly, you’re without power.

But—even if there was enough power for everything—electricity in California is expensive.

Rolling blackouts will occur. Accept it.

Electricity is expensive. Reduce your use.

A few years ago I went solar to reduce my costs—and it did dramatically—but I have made a conscious effort to reduce the amount of electricity I use.

My electric cooktop is now gas.

My electric oven needs to be swapped out.

I do not have my TVs on as background noise.

I do not use my garbage disposal for disposing garbage for a variety of reasons. 

Some garbage can be used for compost, but a surprising number of Bakersfield homes are on septic tanks and flooding them with garbage and water is a bad idea.

Whenever possible I line dry my clothes.

I rinse and line dry bath towels because they are used but not dirty.

Ask yourself sometime how much of your laundry is actually dirty. Then, rinse and line dry all that just needs freshening.

Unless you have poor hygiene, underwear could be rinsed, refreshed, and line dried.

Those jeans you wore today...are they dirty just because they've been worn? Probably not. So, hang them up and wear them again.

Even though today is slated to be 105 degrees, I will not turn my air conditioner on until about two or three in the afternoon when the internal temperature will be about 82.

That radically reduces my expenses.

The ceiling fans circulate air and I can save six to eight hours of high-power electrical use. In Bakersfield air conditioners come on in early morning in many houses and in still others they run around the clock.

With fans and fluids I can put off turning on the air conditioner.

I probably need to drink more water anyway.

The double-glass door to my master bedroom was a major heat conductor, so I hung up silver car windshield shades to reflect energy and have heat barrier drapes in front of them.

I reduced the afternoon heat in my bedroom by 10 degrees.

Fortunately, my house has overhangs, but even so, I keep the shades down and drawn to prevent as much solar gain as possible.

I seriously do not need 2,400 square feet of space to live in, but this is my daughter’s house—the place where she grew up—and in deference to her I am not downsizing.

Thus, the prepper in me knows to economize.

And I am.

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