Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A Baker’s Dozen Ways to Save Energy

Darlene Ryan is the author of the memoir, A Mother’s Adoption Journey, as well as three young adult novels: Rules for Life, Saving Grace and Responsible. Her fourth novel for teens, Five Minutes More, will be published early in 2009.

1. Use a toaster oven to reheat pizza or cook small casseroles instead of turning on your full-size oven.
2. Try making some of your favorites in a slow-cooker. Even cooking for hours, a slow-cooker uses less energy than your oven.
3. Install motion detector lights at your front and back doors instead of leaving outside lights on all night.
4. Buy a programmable thermostat to automatically lower the temperature when you’re sleeping or out of the house.
5. Use glass or ceramic cookware in the oven and lower the baking temperature by 25 degrees. The food will cook in the same amount of time.
6. Before you buy that new big screen TV, check the Energy Star ratings. Big TV’s can be big energy drains.
7. Unplug the “energy vampires.” Computers, coffee makers and many other appliances continue to use energy when they’re turned off.
8. On sunny days take advantage of passive solar energy. Open all southern-facing blinds and curtains.
9. Change your furnace filters regularly. Your furnace will run more efficiently with a clean filter.
10. Air dry some of your laundry. Use an outdoor clothesline in the good weather and an indoor drying rack during the winter. Don’t have access to a clothesline and no room for a rack? Put up a tension shower rod about four inches behind your existing shower rod and use the second rod as a clothesline.
11. Don’t stuff the refrigerator. Air can’t circulate properly in an overstocked fridge making the compressor work harder.
12. Remember to switch the rotation of your ceiling fan to counter-clockwise in the winter to force warm air down from the ceiling into the room.
13. If you’re sitting for an extended period of time—watching a DVD or working at your desk—pull on a sweater while you’re sitting and get up and move every half hour instead of turning up the thermostat. A dozen jumping jacks or burpees will warm you up. And help work off those Christmas goodies you swore you wouldn’t eat but did.


Lorna Barrett said...

I am so proud of myself, Darlene, I already do a lot of the things you've listed. Now I have a few more to adopt! Thanks for the tips.

Darlene Ryan said...

Thanks, Lorna. I was surprised how much I saved on my electric bill just by unplugging things. And I think the burpees are starting to have an effect on my thighs.

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