Simply Resourceful

Simple ways to be more conscious about how we use our resources.

Who Turned Out the Lights??

The first month at our new home has been a whirlwind of odd projects.  Between 6 major plumbing problems (thank goodness for a home warranty!), a broken washing machine (from being moved), poison oak rashes, and having snakes and wasps invade the barn, we have managed to still love this place!  We are eagerly waiting for the last frost to pass so we can plan the garden, but in the meantime, we are replacing shower heads, faucet aerators, and light bulbs to make our home a little bit more energy efficient.

Every fixture in this home now has less bulbs and the incandescent bulbs were replaced with compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL's).  We think one or two bulbs in a ceiling fan is more than sufficient rather than using four light bulbs.  Outside the home, there are two really large spot lights that use 400 watts apiece (see picture above) and they were scheduled to be on from dusk until dawn!  With a flip of a breaker, those lights are now off and we can now see the stars!  All in all, there are 41 less bulbs screwed into fixtures in our home.  

For those of you with those long fluorescent tubes, check with an electrician before you decide to remove bulbs because those type of lights require ballasts.  If you're not careful, you can actually use more energy and shorten the life of the ballast by removing bulbs---check with an electrician.

Some people argue that CFLs are worse for the environment because they contain mercury.  At my previous job as a Resource Conservation Manager for a school district, I was faced with this argument a lot.  This article by Energy Star explains the benefits of CFLs and their effects on the environment.  To sum up the article, mercury makes CFLs more efficient thereby reducing the amount of electrical demand.  More than half of the mercury emissions in the US come from coal-fired power plants.  By using a CFL, there is less demand for electricity, thereby reducing overall mercury emissions into the atmosphere.  The amount of mercury in a CFL is significantly less than what is produced from a coal power plant.

When you are finished using a CFL, it can be taken to a recycling facility so the mercury doesn't end up in a landfill.  Home Depot is one place that accepts CFL light bulbs for free!  Look for a recycling drop box by the customer service desk.


Jill April 25, 2012 at 11:15 AM  

Great post! I'm with you on the microwave. I never use and it takes up so much space on the counter. My husband uses it once in a blue moon though, so we keep it. I love the convenience of a clothes dryer, but could totally make do without one (and have done so before). I love the fluffy softness of diapers from the dryer vs on the line. They always came off so crispy when I line dried :-).

Holly April 28, 2012 at 3:35 PM  

Hi Jill! I think you're referring to the next post about going without appliances. I agree with the softness of diapers coming out of the clothes dryer vs. the line. Thankfully Paul had Fuzzi Bunz diapers which had a fleece liner between the prefold (the large rectangular piece) and his bottom so it was nice and soft!

jenn merfee-t May 30, 2012 at 4:18 PM  

Jill, I like how my diapers come off the outdoor clothing line already folded in half. They are crispy though. Is there a silver lining here? Maybe crispy diapers are incentive for our kids to potty train earlier. And we can think of all the money saved by not using the dryer (or by swapping old light bulbs for energy efficient ones) that can be spent on other things for our children.

About this blog

A weekly update on our adventures of trying to be more self-sufficient by using resources wisely. We explore a variety of topics that most broadly fit in the "Homesteading" category, i.e. beekeeping, organic gardening, edible landscaping/fruit forest, food preservation/canning, woodworking, soap-making, and environmental stewardship.

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