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What have you done to make your home more energy efficient?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on October 19, 2010

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Photo of Carol Mulvenon

“I try to keep my thermostat set pretty high and leave it there all the time, don’t bump it up and down a lot.”

Photo of Ann Mulvenon

“I have changed out my light bulb and set back my thermostat.”

Photo of Kyle Pellow

“We just bought our house two months ago and it was built in 1880 so it definitely needs some work. Windows is probably the big thing.”

Photo of Mary Loveland

“We’re having a new door installed on our lower level. It was a slider that developed a leak … we’re replacing it with an energy-efficient Pella door.”


RoeDapple 7 years, 7 months ago

I've converted all my heating and cooking to burning buffalo dung. Keeps the little woman busy gathering enough to last the winter. Not as many buffalo as there used to be though, really putting the miles on her Cadillac Escalade hunting for the chips. Adds a nice aroma to the house and her car though . .

nobody1793 7 years, 7 months ago

I've invented a device that converts negativity and sarcasm into electricity, and connected it to my computer. It was working great until I came to LJW, at which point it had a melt-down. But next, I'm working on a microwave oven that is powered by grammatical errors.

LogicMan 7 years, 7 months ago

Back on the home planet, we have no need for energy efficiency. We have cute small furry creatures running on wheels and powering generators by the millions. And with a little garlic butter, they make tasty treats too, especially when grilled.

LadyJ 7 years, 7 months ago

Couldn't get the family to turn off lights and such, so just didn't pay the electric bill and they turned off the electricity. Now we use candles and buy ice at the gas station. Fortunately the neighbor hasn't found the buried extension cord that runs to his shed so we can still watch tv and run the computer and maybe a heater in the window if the fireplace isn't enough.

jonas_opines 7 years, 7 months ago

I have five 10 year old slaves running on giant crank-wheels in my basement.

Boosh 7 years, 7 months ago

You could use one 50 year old and save on food also.

Flap Doodle 7 years, 7 months ago

I've trained the lemurs to act as a comforter at night.

H_Lecter 7 years, 7 months ago

Cozy quilts made of human skin allow for keeping the thermostat low. Energy improvements don't have to cost an arm and a leg... but there just seem to be so many arms and legs.

somedude20 7 years, 7 months ago

I steal my neighbor's electricity and then set my thermostat around 13 degress. I then open all the windows in my place and try to cool down the global warming that is happening outside.

Kontum1972 7 years, 7 months ago

Community activist does plugs for are next....

amrose42683 7 years, 7 months ago

That's actually the Mary Loveland that's on the school board. I find it interesting that her profession is 'community activist' v. board of education. Maybe didn't want anyone to notice ...

50YearResident 7 years, 7 months ago

Seriously, the best energy saving investment I made was changing all the regular light bulbs to floresent ones. I couldn't believe the difference it made on the electric bill. Now I don't complain nearly as much when someone leaves a light on.

Flap Doodle 7 years, 7 months ago

I've started adding an inside layer of moss to my wattle and daub walls.

50YearResident 7 years, 7 months ago

I did some calculations on 1 heavly used reading lamp which we have kept a 100 W bulb in and this 1 lamp averages 15 hours of use per day = Normal bulb 1500 watts per day x 30 days per month = 45 KW per month (1 lamp). Floresent bulb replacement uses 24 W for the same light value x 15 hours use/day = 360 W x 30 days/mo = 10.8 KW/mo, a savings of 34.2 KW per month. The average cost per KW from Westar after taxes and all chages = 10 cents per KW. Average savings from this one bulb = $3.42 per month x 12 months = $41. per year. That is just from 1 lamp. I buy economy packs of floresents and have replaced over 25 other bulbs. These other bulbs are used less hours per day but the savings really add up over 1 month or 1 years time. Try it and you will never go back to regular old style bulbs.

gphawk89 7 years, 7 months ago

True... but you'll only see those savings in the summer when you're trying to pull heat out of your house. In the winter months, those extra 34.2kWh's will add heat to your house and lower the workload on your HVAC system. And if you're spending a lot of time sitting in the immediate vicinity of the 100W bulb, the radiant heat will warm you a bit and allow you to keep the rest of the house a bit cooler, again lowering the workload on your HVAC system.

Good calculations, though. It's good to see folks figuring this out for themselves rather than blindly "going green".

gphawk89 7 years, 7 months ago

Installed a few CFL's where appropriate. Replaced 5 double-pane windows that had blown seals. Sealed all attic penetrations with blow foam. Sealed gaps around basement rim joists with blow foam. Insulators behind outlet and switch covers where appropriate. Getting ready to blow more insulation into the attic next month (won't that be fun...). Covered our black built-up roof with white elastomeric. Hurry, 30% green tax rebates end on 12-31-2010!

Kat Christian 7 years, 7 months ago

I put plastic on my windows. that's about it. Not my house - only rent it. Keep my thermostat at 70-72 unless it get below O then I put it on 80 just to keep the house warm enough to not have to wear a jacket or use an electric heater. Summer keep AC at 68-70 unless it gets over 99 then I lower it to 62 just to keep it cool enough to not sweat. Otherwise, the plastic helps contain the AC or warmth on a normal basis. Plumbing sucks - have to let the hot water run about 3 minutes before it get hots, especially in the winter. I dump about a bottle of liquid plumber down the down the bathtub drain weekly to help drain the tub. Been like that for 4 years. Landlord just says "its just an old house". Also stopped using the energy efficient bulbs - so far 2 have died on me and right before they blew they started smoking & burning - good thing I caught the one in the livingroom lamp before it caught flame. The other one was outside. So I am replacing them with good ole regular bulbs that when they blow out they just blow out and not smoke and burn. I'm just not going to stress myself out over this energy efficient crap - got enough to do in a day then to be worried about this too. It will take care of itself and my feeling is the next generation will learn to adapt to the environment as we have done to this one.

George Lippencott 7 years, 7 months ago

Interesting, the advocate has done little but fix something otherwise broken

I am not an advocate but we have

Energy audit paid by us Setback thermostats set 4 degrees below/above where they were in the past. It now gets uncomfortable at times Energy efficient washer and dryer Energy Efficient water heaters Energy efficient furnace and A/c Added insulation Squirrely bulbs Replaced insulation around windows Insulated wall jacks Better insulated exterior A/C piping And more.

Since Lawrence is driving us out of our home earlier than planned with exorbitant tax increases future efforts will likely not be cost effective.

There are consequences of all government actions and they are frequently not what were expected.

Kat Christian 7 years, 7 months ago

but why would you make yourself uncomfortable in the home you work so hard to affort just to appease the so-called energy efficiency craze? Not me, I work hard to come home to stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer. I deserve it. Do you think those rich people who live in those huge houses are using less resources than little ole me. I DON'T THINK SO. So fooey on this crap I'm staying comfortable.

Kat Christian 7 years, 7 months ago

and I refuse to spend $7-8.00 one one light bulb so it can eventually cause a fire and burn down my home.

Chris Golledge 7 years, 7 months ago

Whenever something needs replaced, I buy the most efficient thing I can afford to replace it.

Last year at this time my AC was dieing and my furnace wasn't expected to last much longer. I replaced both with a ground source heat pump.

Difference in upfront cost: ~$0 Savings in energy cost: ~$1,000 over the year

AC was high efficiency when it was new; furnace was one of the 90%+ efficient models.

bearded_gnome 7 years, 7 months ago

what have I done to make my home more energy efficient? the best thing of all and if everybody did this, we'd all heal the planet togeher!

in my living room I have a giant picture of AlGore, like the Iraqis had pictures of Saddam Hussein, and I keep a 300-watt track light on it at all time! I have a little shrine before his most glorious picture, including carbon offset credits, his book, and his film. I bow down here five times a day.

thus, we can save the world.

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