is it really worth it?

I'm not talking about life in general, but rather, I’m speaking about energy conservation.  I mean, yes…of course, we should conserve energy at all times.  It’s the responsible thing to do.  But does that mean we have to sacrifice comfort and aesthetics?  Does it?

My husband has been on a mission this week—a mission to reduce our carbon footprint and save some money in the process.  I’m all about reducing our carbon footprint.  As long as it doesn’t detract from my quality of life.  But when I go to use the bathroom and can’t tell if the toilet paper is going over or under the roll, I think that is taking energy conservation a bit too far!

Over the course of the last two days, Mike has gone through the entire house and replaced the light bulbs in every light fixture with low wattage compact fluorescents.  Seven watts each, to be exact.  Now, I would have been perfectly happy keeping the sixty watt incandescent bulbs right where they were, but as he broke it down to me…we were using enough energy to run the refrigerator every time we switched on one chandelier.   When he added it up, we were able to save four hundred fifty five watts…in just that one light fixture!  Multiply that savings over several chandeliers on the main floor and we can run several refrigerators, the washer and dryer, and probably a few old fashioned tube televisions. 

I’m sure some of the light fixtures were using much less wattage than the big chandelier, but they are now using even less than what they were.  Including the powder room—a room that now reminds me of the lighting in a bus stop restroom with the low wattage, barely visible glow from the triple arm fixture high above the sink.  The problem with these low wattage fluorescent fixtures is, they take a few minutes to warm up and put out their full potential of light.  By the time they are at full brightness, I’m ready to leave the room! This is where I need to put my foot down.  How am I supposed to powder my nose if I can’t make out my face in the mirror?  How am I supposed to read my decorating magazines without sufficient light?  

I may just have to creep back into that room after he goes to bed and replace the new bulbs with a few of the inefficient old ones.  He won’t even notice.  I hope anyway.

I certainly hope all of this effort results in a noticeable savings in our next electric bill.  Mike spent nearly a hundred dollars on light bulbs!  But as my husband explained, in addition to the energy savings, those new bulbs are supposed to last for ten years.  I suppose that means that when we move, we will take them all with us and put the old ones back in. 

Tomorrow, Mike will be assembling his new solar energy kit.  He will be attempting to run our flat screen TV with nothing but solar power.  This experiment is meant to be a dry run for our “living off the grid” lifestyle at the North Carolina property.  Next thing you know, I'll be expected to cook dinner by candlelight. I’ll let you know how it goes. 

But for now, I’m going to bed.  Saving energy is exhausting!

Until the next time…I’ll be trying to read a book by candlelight!

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Posted on November 13, 2010 .