3 Easy Ways to Begin Cutting Our Energy Waste in Half


February 13, 2013 by iamsaw

Image from the San Diego Unified School District - http://www.sandi.net/Page/880

Image from the San Diego Unified School District – http://www.sandi.net/Page/880

In President Obama’s first State of the Union Address of his second term, he issued a challenge to all Americans that I heard and am answering.

His call to action:

“I’m also issuing a new goal for America: Let’s cut in half the energy wasted by our homes and businesses over the next 20 years.”

I don’t know about you, but I know I waste so much energy… literally and figuratively.
Obviously the President is talking about literal waste. This is a great a goal. It’s about personal responsibility.


I heard this goal as a call to action.


And I immediately thought… what if we (me, Bob and Malcolm) cut our energy waste in half in one year, not twenty. It’s possible. I know it is.
Though it is possible, this is a challenge with a high probability of failure. Cutting energy waste in half in just one year.
But if we go for it and fail in the process… if we cut our waste by only 20%… well, that’s a failure I can get behind.


THREE EASY WAYS TO CUT ENERGY WASTE (off the top of my head):


1. Use cold water only when washing clothes.
We usually reserve the cold water setting for only darks. But if we used cold water more often than we do, that would make an impact.


2. Take cold showers
Cold showers are good for you. Even ask Dr. Weil. One of my memories from when I was studying abroad in northern Spain is the older Basque men and women swimming in the ocean in the middle of winter. Shots of cold water are good for you in so many ways. Tim Ferris of 4-Hour Body advocates this for boosting metabolism. Now, there is no way I can commit to every single shower being a cold shower…. but what if most of my showers were? I’d certainly be taking shorter showers and therefore conserving water. I would have shinier hair, tighter skin, a stronger immune system, better circulation and a faster metabolism… I think I’m talking myself into this cold shower idea.


3. Turn lights off when leaving a room
This one is a “duh” idea. But as much as we know we should do this, we don’t. It’s just so obvious. Turn off the damn light when you’re not using it, Steph!


I just realized… even if I alone make these changes (meaning that Bob doesn’t have to get on board) it would still make a big impact. Now, in order to measure this impact, I need to first look at our consumption.
I will begin by conducting a home energy audit by using the Department of Energy’s Home Energy Saver Calculator.


And I will be digging into the Department of Energy’s Energy Savers Guide.


Who’s with me? Who wants to join me in answering our President’s call to action? Let’s do this in one year… not twenty!


What three energy saving ideas do you have right off the top of your head? Please share in the comments below.




P.S. I issued a challenge to myself today: Write this post in only 20 minutes. So far, it has been 38 minutes. Failure. Arg. I have got to churn these posts out faster.

5 thoughts on “3 Easy Ways to Begin Cutting Our Energy Waste in Half

  1. pam weinert-Frech says:

    I will not go to the store without my recyclable bags.
    I’ll reuse plastic zip locks by rinsing them out
    I will not buy plastic water bottles

  2. meghanbarbato says:

    Couldn’t do the cold showers… Nope. Hot showers are THE BEST. But we do wash in cold water by default, and line dry in the warmer months. (Saw a joking illustration once that called it a free wind-and-solar-powered clothes dryer, and I thought holy hell, IT IS.) We also unplug most of our electric devices when not in use, including every night before bed, turning off the surge protector into which our TV & related gadgets are plugged. We also try to live w/o the AC on as much as we can in the summer, but admittedly, it’s a big fat fail for us in the winter months, because our old house is SO drafty. Definitely need to do more weatherizing, but we’ve done the cheap stuff, and now we’ve got to lay out moolah for new windows, etc… On the upside of all this, when the AC isn’t running, our elec bill for a 1400 sq ft house is less than $50 a month. Anyways, good luck!! I know I’m always on the lookout for more tweaks we can make, and all of our changes were made one-at-a-time, baby-steps style.

    • iamsaw says:

      You really line dry? I had to do that when I was studying abroad in Spain as a junior in college and it drove me crazy. That’s definitely commitment. I love the suggestion of unplugging electronics when not in use. Bob was on a tear about that a while ago… but then I think he gave up because I just didn’t comply. But… that was then. This is now. I can do this.

      Thanks for your comment, Meghan. And for the support!

      • meghanbarbato says:

        Yup… It takes for*ever* some days, and we don’t mind that our jeans & towels are a little stiff. Another trick is to line dry your clothes, and throw them in the dryer for 10 or 20 minutes, just to tumble everything & soften them back up. And I think of unplugging as a game, esp since I pay the bills… How low can I get our electric bill *this* month?

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