How to Save Energy, Water, and Money

Mike Vandeman
July 4, 2013

1. Many appliances consume energy (vampire power) even when turned off! Put a small switch or a power strip between them and the power outlet, so you can turn them off completely: e.g. TVs, microwaves, stereos, etc. Your Smart Meter (outside your house) will tell you, in real time, exactly how much power your house is consuming. Or buy a Kill-o-watt watt meter. Also remember that the larger the TV or computer, the more energy it consumes.


2. Sell your car and buy a bicycle. I bought mine on Craig's List. Yard sales are another good source. If you have trouble riding a bike (e.g. you live on top of a hill), buy an electric bike. For long trips to places not close to public transit, you can always rent a car.


3. If you must have a car, buy a Nissan Leaf. You will never have to visit a gas station again (except perhaps to put air in your tires)! You can even power it from solar panels on the roof of your house.


4. Grow your own food. Fruit trees quickly pay for themselves. Producing your own organic food is also very psychologically satisfying.


5. If you have trouble keeping your house cool in the summer, put white shingles on your roof, or paint it white. Paint your house white. Put as much insulation in your attic as will fit. It will keep you warm in the winter, and cool in the summer.


6. Put solar electric panels on your roof (at least, enough to offset your electric bill), and a solar water heater. Then your power bill may be zero!


7. Put a 5-gallon bucket in the kitchen and one in the shower, and collect greywater to use in the garden and in flushing the toilet. Pour some of the water in the toilet bowl (not in the tank) to flush it, thereby avoiding the use of clean water. Never flush the toilet when it contains only urine. You will find your water consumption is cut dramatically! Unfortunately, your water bill may not be cut as much, because there are many charges that are not based on consumption. Please lobby to change our water bill so that all of it is proportional to our consumption!