Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Saving Electricity

I am a big greenie at heart and in practice do my best. There has been a lot lately about electricity going up and so with this (just one of many things) in the front of my mind, I thought I would put my thoughts out their into cyber land.

Apart from saving money, I also want to save the planet and pollute less and have my one and only son growing up on a clean planet, it is the only one we have, can’t go anywhere else. We have to remember we are citizens of planet earth, in every respect.

According to The Australian in March last year, electricity had risen by about 35% in the previous three years. We all know that it will continue to increase, and I know for my family, that no matter what we do at the moment, we can’t get our bills down, unless of course we want to live in the dark without our technology.

Here is a site that tells you why electricity is going up, it also has other articles about electricity, it is an alright site. Of course there are many articles out there if you Google them, so have a look.

Now we have a fairly small bill compared to a lot of people we know, about $100 a month, which to some seems quite small, and to others is still a lot, depends on family size and what you do. We don’t think we miss out on anything, we have three computers that we use, a desktop, a laptop and a mini laptop and various other technology, which we love.

We do however turn everything off when not in use, and here is our list:
• The microwave off at the wall,
• Oven off at the meter box (which is inside for us),
• LCD/LED TV turned off a the switch at the front of the TV
• Toaster unplugged and put away when not in use
• Computers turned off at the wall when not in use
• Currently small chest freezer and bar fridge turned off
• Printer turned off a the wall
• Lights
• Fans
• All appliances off at wall

These things are manual appliances, not electric
• Can opener
• Manual hand beater (instead of an electric one)
• Wooden spoon (also instead of electric beater)
• Broom to sweep instead of vacuum cleaner all the time

When things need replacing we search out the most energy efficient things we can afford plus also deciding if we really need it. When the bread maker blew up (there was actual smoke coming out of it) we decided we could make bread by hand, and in the end bought an electric beater that is on a stand (always wanted one of these and never had the room till now) and it has dough beaters, so it can perform more than one task (but still only use when really needed). We need the electric beater for bread as I suck at kneading bread dough :D

On the electric beater thing for second, one thing I try and do is only use recipes that need to be beaten with a wooden spoon, so I don't have to get out the electric beater. I am lazy and hate getting out, using and washing up unnecessary things :P

Apparently a lot of people get their electricity disconnected as they cannot afford to pay the bill, in my mind, one of the things to do is to use less electricity in the first place. What would I do? Even less lights than we do now, we already have energy saving bulbs and turn off the big lights and turn on a small lamp when we settle in for the night. Go to bed earlier so all the TV’s and computers are turned off (though of course this could result in more children for some and that is definitely not a saving).

There are also things like having a no technology day once a week, during the school holidays instead of going all hard arse about it, computers and TVs etc had to go off at 9am and could be turned back on at 5pm, it worked well and our number one and only son did other things like read some books on how to make stuff, one thing he made was a wire fish trap.

Join Earth Hour on March the 26th and turn your lights out for one hour, you could make it a once a week or month thing, listen to the radio instead, reconnect with your partner and children and have a chat about things that matter. Sit in the dark and talk about things like how can we stop children from starving, or rainforests from being destroyed and the orangutan’s habitat disappearing, save the cassowaries from starving now their home has been flattened and their food destroyed by the cyclone or just how to grow our own food and support local farmers and producers when buying the things we can’t grow or make. There are many things I can talk about while not using electricity.

At some time we plan on putting in sky lights to bring more light in, we use fans and have no air conditioners, I think it is important to challenge ourselves to find the alternatives, for so many reasons. I know that I am not saying anything that we all haven’t heard before, but I think it needs to be there in our minds all the time, and maybe we should just say it louder so everyone can hear it properly.

While I would love to have a stand alone/off the grid solar electricity panels on the roof and be self sufficient in electricity like we are with water, we just can’t afford that, and at this point, we can’t afford solar panels that are connected to the grid. So I have to think of other ways to use less, and also hope the government gets their butt into gear and builds big solar and wind farms so the electricity I am buying is renewable and clean.

So now I am off to plant some more potatoes, I have about four that have come up so will put in more today, and then have a cuppa tea and read some more of “Choosing Eden” by Adrienne Langman about Peak Oil and what they did to change their lives. So I guess that will be my next deep and meaningful :D


  1. I'm interested to see our next electricity bill. Our a/c broke weeks a go and we haven't fixed it. We haven't replaced the light in our lounge room and have been really conscious of switching things off. But thanks to increasing prices it may end up being the same price!

    Love your suggestions. (and lol @ the non savings of going to bed earlier for some)

  2. I think that sometimes when we turn things off we realise we don't need them much, like our bar fridge and small chest freezer. They went off and were cleaned out during the cyclone and I realise that I can squish everything into the other fridge and freezer and we really don't need a drinks fridge.

    We are currently using the esky with rotating bottles of frozen water to keep out bottles of water and soda stream cold, works well. Hope the next bill is less :D

  3. Those are all really, really good ideas. We use a payment averaging system with our electric company and pay about $215/month. The temps in the summer get up to 110+ most days, which is a killer when it comes to air conditioning costs, but still, we've managed to be more frugal even in the summer.

  4. I spend all my time switching things off, my hubs is the worst! I'll keep working on him! Sounds like you are doing great at having a good grasp on it!

  5. At first, the savings might be meager when you go green. But once you put your heart and mind into it, you'll notice that you're making a huge impact to your wallet and to the environment. Just like what you shared, it is ideal to use the manual appliances when preparing your meals, instead of the electric ones.

  6. You are right, it does seem small at first, but it is worth it. I also like the manual appliances as they are often quicker to use (and less washing up which is always a bonus).