Tuesday, February 7, 2012

New Year, New Resolutions part 3

The final installment in my NYRs updates.

7.     Save more water, electricity, gas. Not that we’re big wasters, anyway. But there’s always room for improvement.
--> How’m I doing? I have the hubster “helping” me with electricity. You  know that commercial where the dad goes around turning off lights on everyone in the house in order to save electricity? That’s my husband.
Okay, not really. He’s not that bad. But if I leave a room without turning off the light (or sometimes when I’m still in the room but, say, watching tv), he’ll say, “Are you through with this light? It’s burning XX watts of power right now. “(Yes, he knows the wattage of every light bulb in our house). Or if I walk out onto the back patio, planning to set something down and come right back in, but don’t shut the door behind me, he has something to say about that, too. So, I’m trying to make sure he doesn’t “catch” me wasting electricity. I’m also doing more things like choosing the light in the room that uses the least electricity (for example, a one-bulb lamp over a ceiling fixture that has three bulbs). Kitchen appliances like the coffee maker or blender or can opener are left unplugged when not in use. I try to remember to always turn off the printer but I’m sort of bad about that one. We also leave our computer on all the time. Maybe we could start turning it off, at least when no one’s home.
I’m doing all the normal stuff with water: turn it off while standing at the faucet brushing teeth; only run the dishwasher when full; wash clothes once per week instead of several smaller loads throughout the week. We have a drip hose system for the garden. I try to reuse water when I can. If I’m going to give the dog fresh water, I’ll pour the old water on some plants.  I admit I’m bad about turning the water off in the shower while soaping down or shaving, etc. I hate to just stand there and shiver.
When I say gas, I mean both natural gas and gasoline. There’s not a lot to do about the natural gas, except we keep the thermostat on 69 in the winter and just wear a jacket or sweater if we need to. I guess here again with the shower, I could save gas if I turned the water off while scrubbing.
I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned it on here before, but the hubster and I have a pair of Suzuki Burgmans. We bought them back in 2008 when the gas prices started spiking more heavily. Originally, we both had 400cc bikes, but the hubster upgraded to a 650. They’re fun and they’re gas sippers. Mine gets around 60 mpg in the city and his gets 50 mpg or so. We’ve gotten pretty efficient at using all available space in and on them, so it’s possible to grab some groceries on a bike or even stack some bags of dog food on the back and bungie them down.
The hubster will ride his in cooler temps than I will ride mine. I have about a 30-minute commute to work. If I ride when it’s any cooler than about 40 degrees, by the time I get to work my fingers, toes, ankles and anything exposed to the air hurt. On those days I take the car (27 mpg). To that end, I have been trying to get the best gas mileage out of the car that I can. I’ve dropped my traveling speed from 70 or 75 mph to 60 mph on the interstate (no, I don’t ride in the left lane) and the speed limit or slightly under the speed limit on city streets, where I used to average about 5 mph over. I try to time it so I can avoid coming to a complete stop at red lights. Although I’ve occasionally been known to turn the car off while sitting at a long light, I’m not quite into hypermiling. Seems like the wear and tear (by leading to additional maintenance) of turning your car off and on would outweigh the costs of just idling at a stoplight when you can’t avoid it. With these changes, the gas mileage on the car is creeping up – I averaged 28.9 mpg last week.

And that's it for my New Year's Resolutions, which really are more like goals this year. How're you doing on yours?


  1. Those bikes look like fun, besides being fuel efficient. Sadly, it's way too dangerous to be riding them around our city, way too many large trucks. I had to laugh about the "not getting caught wasting electricity" part, my husband just caught me leaving the closet light on!

  2. I know what you mean about safety. When I first started riding, every time I got on the bike I was scared I was gonna die. Riding a bike has made me be a better car driver, too.

    I guess I should be glad for the hubster's "help." I just hate being corrected. But I've gone on the offensive and make sure I "help" him too when he leaves something on. I don't plan on memorizing the wattage of every bulb in the house, though!

  3. I like your post and blog..I'm your new follower..Susie

  4. Welcome, Susie! Glad to have you aboard :)

  5. My five year old cooked a microwavable sausage-egg-biscuit thing today. Or I should say OVER cooked it. I shrugged it off and told her to toss the hard-as-a-hockey-puck treat to the doggy and go make another one.

    Then I gently reminded her that each one cost $1.00 and it would be like throwing a dollar bill in the trash if she ruined another one. I heard myself say it and laughed at myself. I'm such a Dad.

    Good for you on your attempts. Wifey and I are trying to figure out just what we'll be attempting this year. I think it might be the year we finally decide on our homestead property location...EXCITING!

    As usual, love your post.

  6. That IS exciting, OJD. The hubster and I are also batting around the idea of buying some land. I'm ready to buy! He needs a little more convincing.

  7. Wow, looking at my last post above seems like eons ago. Lots have changed. Anyway, just stopped by to say hello to you and the hubster. Hope all is well. Happy New Year.