I do a lot of reading to find out how other people choose to live more simply, reduce their waste, and be less dependent on others for the things they need. Earlier this week, I read a blog post about ten ways to reduce your electricity consumption. Some of the recommendations are already part of our routine, some weren’t feasible for a renter, and one stood out.
The program is called the Time Of Use Program but goes by different names depending on your location. By pledging to use less electricity during peak usage times in your state, the electrical company will allow you to pay lower rates for your energy consumption. This sounds easy, but reducing energy consumption during peak hours takes a bit of planning.
In our area, I have found peak times to run from early afternoon to dinner time. That means we need to find ways to use little to no energy for a large portion of the hottest time of day. Below are some of the steps we already take and plan to continue:
- Do wash in the morning and hang dry everything but sheets and towels.
- Turn off lights and appliances we aren’t using. Unplugging and turning off at the source is something we need to work on!
- Use florescent bulbs throughout the house.
- Turn up the refrigerator. The temperature is set slightly higher than other refrigerators, but I would never notice had I not done it.
In addition to these energy saving measures, we will also be testing some of these measures:
- Turn up the air conditioning in the afternoon. Our house is cooled with a swamp cooler, which uses less energy than a standard air conditioner. It works by fanning cool air from cold water throughout the house. Although this unit only runs a fan, we still plan to turn up the air temperature during peak times. Additionally, given that we are in a safe place in the dessert, we’ll be able to open the windows at night to let in the cold dessert night air.
- Turn the oven on once a day. For the most part, I already do this, but I don’t make a very conscious effort to do so. I will be making more of an effort to meet all my daily baking needs by only turning the oven on once a day.
- We will try consuming the most water in the morning or late evening. This is because our water is pulled up from the well with an electrical well pump. By doing this, we hope the pump will have to work less throughout the afternoon to keep a stable water pressure.
- Electronics will be charged in the morning.
- My husband has agreed to reserve computer time for morning and late night sessions.
And lastly, we have our unknown, yet to figure out hurdle. We have and maintain a 50 gallon tank that houses two adorable turtles. We know this consumes a great deal of energy but are unwilling to get rid of or reduce its size (in fact, there may be a wish of upgrading some day). To help with this problem, we are looking into more efficient lighting, heating, and filtration set ups.
So these are some of the steps we are going through to prepare for the program, but how do you get started?
To participate in these programs you must apply, be accepted, and allow frequent access to your meter. We have completed the easy application process and are awaiting approval. In the meantime, we are putting these electricity saving measures into practice immediately.
I have done a small amount of research to find similar programs in other locations and have provided the links below. If participating in this program seems feasible for your family, I encourage you to look into applying. If you think you could do it but don’t have the time to do the research, let me know and I can help you with finding a program in your area. (Not every state provides the program.)
Additionally, I would love to hear what measures other families take to reduce their electricity consumption. What do you and your family do, what is difficult, what do you wish to change?