Laura and I have been thinking a lot lately about the ways that we can be more faithful as stewards of the environment. We have always been pretty good about recycling. This past year we have been buying more food locally and reducing the amount of oil that we consume. These past few months we have turned our attention to our energy consumption. We have eliminated the use of phantom power. Phantom power is power that is used when something is not even on. Appliances such as the television, computer, and microwave use power when they are not on. We plugged these appliances into a power strip and only turn them on when we need to use them.
This past weekend I switched all of the 60-75 watt light bulbs in our house to compact florescent bulbs or low wattage bulbs. These compact florescent bulbs are amazing. Not only are they inexpensive (about $1.50 a piece), they use a low amount of energy (about 14 watts) and they last a really long time (about 9 years). I crunched the numbers, and the total wattage used to light our house was 1610 watts. After I made the switch, we are down to a total of 364 watts, a reduction of 78%. Grand total it cost me $26.40, which will pay for itself in lower energy bills in no time.
I think that if a lot of people do little and simple things, it can make a big difference.