Originally Posted by cymbeline
This thread is a question: How did you/do you seriously slash your energy bill and/or consumption?
This thread is a discussion: As we run out of cheap oil and gas and the world population continues to grow, how are you preparing for the inevitable energy crisis -- on a personal level?
And this thread is a challenge: We are trying to eliminate our family's dependence on crude oil and coal energy products. Anyone want to join us?
We live in a climate that is mild and we do not own any type of air-conditioning and we don't use our natural gas furnace.
We do have ceiling fans and we use those in the room we are in when it is hot. When it is hot, we also open windows at night [as soon as it cools down outside] and close them (and blinds) during the day. When it is cold, we do the opposite.
We also turn things off and unplug them when not in use. Interestingly enough, this also led to noticing which appliances (and other electrical items) we just weren't using very often. We consciously figured out ways to do without those items altogether and gave them away. As far as I am concerned, less STUFF (any and all kinds) equals less energy consumption.
DH works from home one day a week. I walk DD to school every day. We all three walk throughout our community whenever possible. When we do drive, we combine errands and carpool and make other such conservation efforts. Regular use of public transit is not realistic in this city, but we do use it when it is feasible.
We made the choice to buy a Prius when it was time to replace my Corolla (back in 2006). A Prius isn't perfect, but we felt it was a step in the right direction for supporting new technology and putting us (general) on a new path for new transportation ideas.
When we had a major flood in May 2009, the carpet/pad and vinyl flooring and tile flooring on the main level of our home was destroyed (approx. 600 sq ft). Instead of having insurance replace exactly what we had (would have been far easier, faster, and cheaper), we opted to get floating cork flooring throughout the main level and do all the labor ourselves. Cork is renewable (and no trees die) and it is amazing for regulating home temps for comfort. Plus a whole host of other benefits.
Due to that same flood and replacing all the flooring, we also took the opportunity to replace the old sliding doors. Most of our temperature/comfort issues are due to our West-facing backyard where the sun beats down and heats things up A LOT (higher than the air temp). The kitchen slider is 8 feet and pretty much let whatever the weather was outside dictate the inside. The other slider is 6 feet (standard) and that room is teeny tiny, so again...hot half the year and cold the other half. Replacing both sliders made that entire part of the house completely comfortable year-round. We already had a retractable awning outside those doors, which helped even before the new doors. The new doors and flooring really made a big difference.
We belong to a CSA and share it with another family, splitting a large box every other week. We also grow some of our own food in our teeny tiny backyard. We make sure to use it all, which sounds so simple and obvious, but it isn't nearly so. I am discovering a lot of people I know who throw out quite a bit of food every week. And this is just the families. Think of all the cafeterias and restaurants and grocery stores, etc. Food is a huge area for vast energy improvements. HUGE AREA!!!
This really is a massive topic, when you think about it. There are so many facets to energy usage. We focus on doing what we can in the areas within our control. We live in a townhome within an HOA. Solar heating isn't here, yet. Our biggest HOA issue is water usage right now (landscaping far out-uses residential)..... One step at a time....