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Energy Report Card

Sometime last year, our power company took it upon themselves to start sending us a report card. Every few months or so, we get a single sheet of paper telling us how we stack up against our neighbors on the energy consumption front.


Can you read that ranking? In the bottom right corner. Where it says we are #7 out of 100?

Heh. Let me not trip while I am busy patting myself on the back.

How much I love this feedback is probably wrong. It’s not just that all four of our report cards have been glowing. Although they have. I hang them on the fridge. That helps certainly. More so, it’s that the efforts we make at all those stupid little things, do make a difference. Stupid things like…

Having the TV, DVD player, wireless router, coffee pot and microwave all plugged into power strips (not the same one), and remembering to switch those off when not in use.

Line drying clothes, outdoor or in the basement.

Charging iPod and Cellphone at work, because every little bit helps.

Those basic, frugal skills. They do something. Apparently. Something tangible. This is confirmation that I could be paying more for our day to day lives. But, I’m not.

These things are on auto pilot, which is great, but it’s easy to get sloppy. Real feedback renews the fervor to flip those switches off and take the extra time to hang up clothes.

I worried that our chicken and tomato growing would skew our numbers. Both have required special lighting, and lots of it. I’m happy to see we are maintaining our elite energy conservation status in conjunction with our other thrifty pursuits.

Let me share my new-found (again) inspiration with you. As you go into the weekend, what will you turn off, down or unplug? Who wants to challenge my reigning champion status?

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I live in Illinois near St. Louis and have had neither furnace or air conditioner on since mid March (quite proud of myself). we had the same weird warm spell in March as everyone else, and the temps went over 90. Some friends turned on their air conditioners. The weather has turned more seasonable, but it has been tolerable without the furnace – the few times it was really cold I lit a fire in the wood stove. I am hoping to get thru May without air, other than a window unit in the bedroom on the second floor if it is uncomfortable at night.

Miser Mom

Our electric company (PP&L) has a web site in which we can monitor our home electric use, even hour-by-hour, if we want.

One little graphic asks, “How does my home compare?” and shows a sliding gauge, going from dark green through yellow into dark red. Our family is at the darkest of dark green; the average home spends twice as much. But I am guessing that’s partly because we don’t use electric heat? That, and no big TV. When my husband was overseas and we didn’t use the dryer, we spent half of what we do now!

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