Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Learning Green Lessons the Hard Way

My family has long been watching our energy usage at home, even in the area of air conditioning, which can be a touchy subject here in the deep south! It gets pretty darned hot around here in the summertime and people typically keep the air set somewhere between 70 and 72 degrees to keep things cool and comfy indoors. 

My family learned that if we kicked that thermostat up to 76 during the hottest part of the day and 74 at night when the a/c unit wouldn't have to work quite so hard, we could indeed bear it. In fact, we got used to the temperature change fairly quickly, in a week or two, so that we didn't feel hot or icky at all when the house was 76 degrees!

Then one of our two air conditioner units went kaput! Uh oh! Not in June, just when the summer is really gearing up and the humidity is through the roof! 

Well we quickly learned that by closing off the part of the house that has air conditioning during the day, we could limit ourselves to that part of the house for the most part and still stay cool. All it took was a curtain rod hung over a doorway and pretty red curtain hanging from it. In the early evening, we pull back the curtain and open the bedroom doors to allow more air flow. Ceiling fans in the bedrooms help pull the air so that by bedtime our rooms are about 78 degrees. Though it's a bit warmer than we were used to, again it only took us about a week to acclimate ourselves to the new temperature. 
image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

Then the power bill arrived. We are using half the energy we were using this time last year! And we are perfectly comfortable! 

There are several lessons we've learned here and will carry with us into the future:

  1. Our bodies can be comfortable at temperatures above 72 degrees.
  2. Air conditioning accounts for a HUGE percentage of a home's energy usage.
  3. A small amount of effort can net a large amount of savings on your power bill.
  4. Ceiling fans are wonderful things and don't use nearly as much energy as air conditioners.
  5. Curtains are cute in a doorway!
(Note: Don't fill all 8 of those light bulb spots on a ceiling fan! Who needs 8 lightbulbs in one room? Besides, lightbulbs create heat! Use energy saving bulbs and fill every 2nd or 3rd spot.)

Have you ever discovered a greener way of living by accident? 


  1. What a great way to save money and stay cool as well!

  2. Dang! If ceiling fans are a lot less expensive, I'd hate to see an ac power bill! We don't have AC. Probably because it is winter 9 months of the year here. Lol. But it is horrible hot in the summer. Upper 90s today. That's just wrong when there isn't ac. We do a lot with closing off part of the house to keep the other parts cooler. Use lots of fans and such. Our house stayed a nice 84 degrees today! We were a bit uncomfortable. But we just stuck our heads outside to the 90+ weather outside and the. Our house didn't feel so hot. Lol.

  3. That is so great to save money and stay green!

  4. It's funny how our bodies easily adjust. I have always kept my electricity on 80 here in the South because of the heat, but this year we decided to see how long we can go without it. We use several high powered fans, and we have been very comfortable even at 85 degrees. I admit it gets uncomfortable when it's much hotter, but with the fans and not running the dryer or the oven much, we have kept it usually around 82. Our energy output has been much lower this year which pleases me!