Life in Maison Greenzellig

Well, with my poll showing 92% in favor of hearing more about what I do in my apartment to be a little more environmentally friendly, let’s get to it.

Rather than try to cover everything at once, I’ll break it down into one or two subject areas per post. This time around, I’ll cover energy use.

What I do now: I started by picking up some compact florescent bulbs at Target. They’re often on sale for less than $4 for two1 . I really enjoy the CFs. They’re bright — sometimes a little too bright — and they don’t flicker like the old ones used to.

The more CFs I put in, the lower my electric bill became, so we switched over to 100% wind power from Con Ed Solutions. It’s an additional 2.5 cents per kilowatt hour2 , but with the savings from the new bulbs, we end up paying about the same amount. And unless my landlord decides to install solar panels and/or wind turbines on our roof3 I think that’s about as good as I can get as far as energy supply.

What I hope to do soon: I will admit, I don’t unplug things4 when I’m not using them, because honestly, all my cords are such a horrible tangle. I have some things need to stay plugged in (phone and internet, the DVR recording middle of the night shows) and some things don’t (cell phone charger) and I’m hoping to eventually sort it out so I can switch them all on/off at once.

I’m also switching over to more things that use less (or zero) electricity. We swapped our air conditioner for fans.5 I’m thinking of getting a floor sweeper instead of running the vacuum. As winter approaches (and I remember how horribly dry it got in here last winter), I’d like to get some radiator humidifiers instead of an electric one, and maybe a clothes drying rack.6

Well, I did say I was a bit of a nerd about these things; now you know how much of a nerd.

Any suggestions on what you’d like me to yammer about next?

Related Posts with Thumbnails
  1. Most of the ones I have are made by GE, but I have some from IKEA as well. []
  2. Actually, as I was writing this, my husband was calling ConEdSolutions to find out why we got a $25 rebate check in the mail from them. Evidently, everyone got one. Score! []
  3. HAHAHAHAHA. Right. The same people who won’t allow us to have a dog are going to put in solar panels. []
  4. Items that still draw power even when they’re “off” is often known as a phantom load. Here’s how to cut back on phantom loads. []
  5. Although, if I’m truly honest, a big part of that switch was the fact that our A/C was giving us headaches and drying out our sinuses. []
  6. EcoFunFact: As the clothes dry, the moisture in the clothes is released into the air, making the air more humid. So, it’s really replacing two things you would have used electricity for: a clothes dryer and a humidifier. []

10 thoughts on “Life in Maison Greenzellig

  1. If your compact florescents are to bright try some LED lamps. They are harder to find but use hadly any pwer at all. They are not suitable for everywhere though.


  2. I didn’t want to get off on a tangent when I was writing this, but I sort of wish I had looked into it a little more and replaced my old bulbs with LEDs instead of CFs.

    CFs do contain a small amount of mercury — not as much as an old thermometer or thermostat, but still, some — which means they have to be recycled by an appropriate facility, and very few of them exist currently. And I don’t even want to think about what would happen if I broke one of these bulbs.

    Anyway, here’s a pretty good site for getting LED bulbs:

  3. Very recently I started line drying (indoors) about every other load of washing. I don’t know yet of its impact on my electric bill. Even in our relatively humid summer the stuff dries consistently overnight (maybe not some heavy t-shirts). My rack isn’t that big which is why I’m not doing every load; I’m thinking of getting a bigger one for winter. And it inspires me to fold the clothes since they aren’t hiding in the dryer.

    When I was a kid in the 60s all the houses on our block had those outdoor drying racks and everyone used them. I don’t know when dryer drying became the norm. Of course for city dwellers it is a different story. I live in an apartment now so the rack is the best solution for me.

  4. I tried to convince my husband we should get one of those retractable clotheslines that zip out and hook onto a wall, so we could stretch it along the length of our apartment. He seemed… wary of the idea.

  5. Well you inspired me to get CFLs yesterday. I’m not crazy about the light they cast so I’ll probably keep an incandescent to read by in the winter when it’s so dark up here in Boston.

  6. I’ve replaced some of our lights with CF bulbs but damn that light is ugly — harsh and flat — and I just can’t bring myself to replace all of them. I wish there were some environmentally friendly option with better looking light.

    The clothes drying idea I like. An added bonus of not using your dryer in the winter is far fewer static cling issues.

  7. The LED light might be okay…I noticed the Gaiam catalog where I ordered the CFLs from had some LEDs. I might try them out after the CFLs.

    And don’t get after my carbon footprint for mail order. I don’t own a car!! :)

  8. Charlotte –

    Re: the carbon footprint – I see that as a given on pretty much anything we buy, be it in-store or online. Both still require transportation to get to you, either freight to the store or UPS/USPS to your house if you buy it mail order.

    Maybe I’m looking at it wrong – I frequently do!

    We replaced all our light bulbs with CFLs, then moved to a different house and took them with us. I’m currently saving up for some of the more attractive CFLs to go in some light fixtures with open shades (ceiling fans & bathroom lighting). I’ve been bringing my own canvas bags to the grocery for a few months, but I have to admit that I sometimes miss the plastic bags I’d bring home. They’re quite useful for using as bathroom trash bags and scooping the litter box (does that count as recycling?).

    Kristen inspired me to get some Nalgene water bottle instead of schleeping home a 24 pack of water each week.

    My best “eco-nerd” moment to date was moving. I’m now less than 5 miles from work instead of 18. One tank of gas lasts me 9 days instead of four!

    (Sorry…I had no idea this would be as long-winded as it turned out to be. My apologies!)

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