Described below are energy and conservation ideas and exercises that I myself have either implemented at our home, observed at work, or thought of based on what I have seen. In these cases, these are experiences of just one family or just one  business - imagine the gains that could be realized if most homes and businesses implemented only some of these tactics:

                                                                                    At Home

Air Clothes Dryer - All summer long we use an outdoor clothes line and late in October we start to use six clothes lines in our basement - with good timing we don't often use our electric clothes dryer - this the dryer which draws about 3000 - 4000 watts

Attic Insulation - heat rises so the more insulation present in an attic, the more heat is held down. Icicles present in the winter, especially if water drips off of them is an indication that more attic insulation is required. On 02/07/09 I added 9.5 inches of attic insulation, bringing the total to 14 inches. To cover about 700' sq ft cost me $320.00 for R-30, 9.5 inch thick, 15 inch wide insulation. Again in August 2010, I added another 4 inches of insulation to the attic to bring the
total to around 18 - 20 inches - this being insulation that I rescued from being thrown in a dumpster at a renovation project.

The chart below shows how these two energy and cost savings procedures above have helped reduce our energy usage after the mplementation of each:

Energy efficient bulbs - using CFL bulbs vs conventional incandescent bulbs makes a difference. For example, one 60 watt incandescent draws .5 amps, where as one 13 watt CFL bulb (which is equivalent in lumens to a 60 watt incandescent bulb) draws only .108 amps. In our home, we have used these for over three years now and probably only had to replace 4 of them in that time span.

Small Scale DC solar power - see the Solar Power page of this site for detail on a solar system we have that runs three 12vDC lights in our basement and one in our living room. Soon I will be adding in a 12vDC light in our kitchen area so that we can draw DC energy from the batteries more often each day.

No bags - when at the grocery store, we ask the cashier to not bag large items and if buying only 2 or 3 items, we carry them on their own - it is no harder to carry them in hand than it is to carry them in a plastic bag

Rainwater Toilet - shown below is a design for a toilet that I will be installing for a toilet that flushes from water captured from the eves of our house. To get an idea as to how well this will work, on the Planet Green channel ( they stated that for every 1000 sq ft of area collecting rain, 500 gallons are collected for every 1 inch of rain that falls.
Tire Pressure - inflated tires must roll better than one with a flat spot at pavement level due to low pressure - see also

Grass Pellets/Briquettes - see the Grass-4-Heat page on this site for plans and information on making one's own heating pellets from hay.

Bike Power - see the Exercise Power and Products & Services pages on this site for implementing an exercise bike system that charge DC batteries

Composting - Recently we decided to try composting organic waste to make garden fertilizer. Click here to see pictures of the silo/bin I built to use for
this - it's meant to look like the old time wood silos that were once prominent in upstate NY

Rewear clothes - if after wearing a pair of jeans for a day, they are not dirty, wear them again...

Consolidate trips - plan accordingly when travelling

Lights off - turn off lights not in use and draw less power

Be mindful of high amp (power draw) appliance use - appliances such as an electric clothes dryer, microwave ovens, air conditioners, hair dryers, toasters, power tools, are all generally higher amp (and higher power draw) items. I realize most of these are a necessity of life but often I at least think of what other options might be

Does number 1 really require a flush every time?? An old quote from the Men's room at Mary's Goosebay Inn read "In this land of sun and fun, we don't flush for number 1"

Save Garbage Bags - when recycling or trashing, collapse large containers first so save space in the bag

Reuse Sandwich Bags - so long as the my sandwich baggie is clean, it gets used the next day

                                                                                    At Work

Work from home - if ones work place allows employees to work from home either often or on occasion, think of the fuel not spent driving to work. Currently I drive 20 miles one way to work. If I work one day a week from home, that's 2080 miles a year not driven - or about 94 gallons of gas saved (my truck gets ~22 miles/gallon). If 1,000 people located ~20 miles from work in an area followed this same routine, and we assume 25 miles per gallon per vehicle, that would be 83,000 gallons of gas (and associated pollution) saved per year.

Lights off - instead of using multiple, 2 or 3 bulb fluorescent light fixtures and leaving them on a minimum of 12 hours a day, why not turn off all overhead lights except for what is needed to light walk ways and use 1 CFL desk light at each work station.

Current Scenario:
At one time in my office of 12 work stations, 1 office, and 1 conference room. We have (19) 3 bulb fluorescent light fixtures at 32watts per bulb - that equals:
- 57 fluorescent bulbs drawing a total of 1824 watts
- 1 hour of usage is 1.824kwh
- 12 hours of usage is 21.888kwh
- 30 days of usage @ 12 hours/day is 657kwh
- At 8¢/kwh, usage for the month not including delivery charges is $53.00

Proposed Scenario:
Now lets assume that in my office we could use 1 CFL desk light at each work station,
1 fluorescent light fixture instead of 2 in the office conference room each, and 4 fluorescent light fixtures for the walkway
- that would equal:
- 18 fluorescent bulbs that would draw a total of 576 watts
- 1 hour of usage would be .576kwh
- 12 hours of usage is 6.912kwh
- 30 days of usage @ 12 hours/day is 207kwh
- At 8¢/kwh, usage for the month not including delivery charges is $17.00 for the 6 fluorescent light fixtures
For the 12 CLF lights, let's assume we'll use 13 watt CFL bulbs (these equal a 60 watt incandescent bulb):
- 12 CFL bulbs would draw a total of 156 watts
- 1 hour of usage would be .156kwh
- 12 hours of usage would be 1.872kwh
- 30 days of usage @ 12 hours/day would be 56kwh
- At 8¢/kwh, usage for the month not including delivery charges would be $4.50 for the 12 CFL light fixtures

In total, the proposed scenario would use 263 khw/month and cost $21.50/month . This would be a 60% savings in usage.

Imagine a majority of offices did this (and many are much larger than my 13 person office). When summed up we'd see a very noticeable energy usage savings across the country.

Virtual Meetings - instead of spending money and fuel on travel, in today's modern technological and connected world, companies should be taking advantage of video conferencing from multiple locations when ever possible.

Virtual Office - at some point I foresee and have even thought of proposing the concept of a complete virtual office. This concept would let employees work from home at all times and thus d save on fuel usage and company overhead costs. To maintain face to face relationships, an organization could rent meeting rooms or banquet rooms now and then to bring everyone together - this cost would be far less than monthly rent, parking and other associated costs. Also, paying for home internet access for employees would have to be minimal vs the cost of renting and running an office.

  Energy Saving & Other Conservation Ideas

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