Saving energy if you want to
If your name is Rip van Winkle, you would not know that there is an energy crisis on over the last couple months. That was brewing for over a year but the war in Ukraine made it more prominent. It would have happened anyway but that’s a different story.
I’ve seen my diesel bill jump by about 30% for a fill up at the pumps. I’m not even going into what my electricity and gas bills are. Energy means money – and if you have loads of money then you’re in the wrong place reading this blog; kindly move on. Or if you’re happy go lucky and don’t care, equally move on ever more swiftly. But if you want to do some thinking, planning, balancing and adaptation, you can stick around.
I’m sharing my experience and knowledge. And what I’m not doing is expecting everybody to do as I do. I’m not telling everybody how to live their lives and spend their money. This post is not for people who do not pay an energy bill and whose costs are fixed by a monthly all-inclusive rental.
I stopped ironing clothes a long time ago. Probably about two years or so. I’ve been dressing down. My clothes are close to wash and wear. After they come out of the washing machine, I’d stretch out shirts and trouser and put them on a wall radiator powered by hot water (that can go no higher than about 70 °C). If you do the wrong thing and burn down your house, kindly sue yourself! Yes there are minor wrinkles left but those are hardly visible to most people. If you suffer with OCD then iron your clothes- what do I care?
I wash clothes twice per week, on an economy cycle for 54 minutes – in a proper energy efficient washing machine. I have never owned or rented a clothes dryer in the last 30 years. In the winters clothes go on the radiators water filled radiators. [Caution: never put clothes on an filament or coil radiator powered by electricity, else you might cause a fire.]
My dishwasher goes on once every two or three weeks. The rest of the time I’m washing dishes in a sink full of water.
I’m told that loads of people need boiling hot water to kill germs, when they wash dishes. Not to mention – which is to mention – that the amount of germs in the human mouth is phenomenally more than what’s on the average plate – unless of course one is in the habit of licking one’s plates clean at the end of a meal. To be clear I am not telling people how to wash their dishes. It’s a free country – so people can do as they like. I just use lukewarm water if I have a couple dishes to wash.
Some people absolutely need to fill a bathtub with hot water. That’s fine for them. I’m not telling them what to do. I use showers 99% of the time. I can only recall having a bath in a hotel probably a year ago. If you need to shower for 10 minutes instead of 5 that’s fine. I’ve cut back on my showering time.
Do people need to bathe everyday? If it’s the summer and you’re hot and sweaty most days, then please do. If it’s winter and you may not. I’ve gone for one shower every other day or two.
Eating more veg actually helps in reducing the amount of times you need to wash your arse. Oh yes – it’s a clean wipe with no stain or smear, if you eat the right amount of veg. If you can’t eat veg then wash your arse every day, please.
I rarely use the electric oven anymore. Others who can’t live without baked potatoes and roast chicken, can do differently. This evening for example, I took some frozen ‘oven chips’ and just threw them in a pan on the gas stove, medium heat, no oil. [Gas is overall cheaper]. In 10 minutes they came out quite close to if they went into the oven.
If people aren’t told, they won’t know that many food items which are marked for oven cooking, can be cooked in a microwave. And many people do not know how to set their microwaves on different levels of power. Many foods recommend oven-cooking but those can be cooked in microwave by using a power level that is not 100%. So using like 50% for a longer period will give even heat and not ‘blow it up’.
In the item at left, if I had followed the instructions I would have consumed 1500W x 20 min. In the microwave it was 500W x 8 min.
Of course if you ‘can’t stand microwaves’ – that’s fine – continue to pay more.
Some people absolutely need to cook from ‘frozen’, in the oven – to avoid food poisoning, I’m told.
Most times I leave frozen stuff out on a counter to defrost to a cool temperature and then cook in the microwave (not oven). I’m not saying that everything can be cooked in a microwave.
There is a bunch of people who absolutely believe that they need 3 meals per day. It’s a myth. The human being can survive quite well on one meal per day. The myth originated in the 1600s. You can’t argue with myths. For those who want to make ends meet, you don’t have to cook or microwave food 3 times per day. What’s wrong with raw well washed vegetables. Nothing. But then comes another set of myths that ‘People will die or suffer serious indigestion if they eat raw veg.‘ Now, did I say all veg can be eaten raw? I did not!
Does Apple crumble absolutely need to go in a traditional oven? It does not!
I’ve stopped grilling cheese. Some people cannot live without grilling their cheese – yuh know – ‘things have to be done properly’. That’s grand.
Stupid: How condescending. You know what people know about their microwaves?
Stupid: You go around to people’s homes and see what they do?
Stupid: So how do you know what people know?
CW: I observe what people do in a work environment.
CW: I’ve never seen anybody at work over the last 10 years use a microwave at less than 100% power. I’m not people. When I used said microwaves at work, at between 50 to 70% of power, they would go “That’s clever – I never knew you could do that.”
Stupid: Well that’s just at work.
CW: Yes. And?
Stupid: You don’t know about people not in the workplace.
CW: Yes. However, the people I’m talking about are supposed to be among the more educated and intelligent. So I can reasonably infer that dimmer people elsewhere won’t know.
Stupid: That’s ridiculous.
CW: It isn’t. Try this instead – POOF! You’re gone!
Loads of people are still running their boilers at >80 °C. That’s basically wasting energy. My boiler was lowered to about 60 °C ages ago. It’s a condensing boiler, which means it’s not heating water all the time to 60 °C. Only if I need more heat in a particularly cold period, I’d put it up. If you’re a luddite and don’t know how to change your boiler temperature, then leave it on high forever, and spend your money! Or pay some boiler technician your hard earned money to come and fix it for you.
Reducing indoor temperature by one or two degrees below comfort hardly kills anybody. If you have medical conditions that need your home to be >22 °C then consult your doctor. I keep my indoor temperature around 18 to 19 °C.
I’ve switched off radiators that are not in use. My home has only 4 of 10 radiators running and sometimes I lower the heat output of those 4.
I wear warmer clothing indoors. About 3 months ago I got some very warm and comfy socks.
Stupid: Are you a home economics expert?
Stupid: Are you a physicist?
Stupid: Are you an energy expert?
Stupid: Are you a socks expert?
Stupid: So what the hell gives you the right to tell people about energy and how to spend their money!?
CW: I’m doing none of that.
CW: What gives me the right to cage you?
Stupid: I knew you would do this.
CW: Good – then you won’t be disappointed. Poof! You’re gone.
It must have been 6 years ago, that I switched my bulbs to LED low wattage (each around 5 watts). So I’ve been saving about 10 times the cost of lighting. Some of my LEDs are dimmable. So, like in my room I’m probably using my bulb at only 1 to 2 watts. Most modern LED bulbs would last >25,000 hours of on-time; which is 3 years. In reality the average bulb would last much more, because ‘you’ won’t be leaving them on all the time. Price of LED bulbs has come down to quite affordable. In some places a 4 Watt bulb would be under £2 per each.
Apparently some people – I’m told – need always to drive over 70 mph on motorways and dual carriageways because if they don’t, they’d fall asleep. So the rest of my comments do not apply to them.
Most of the time I drive at around 55 to 63 mph on motorways and dual carriageways. My acceleration out of roundabouts is at a slow even pace. The other night I did the same. I was in no rush to get to my destination some 140 miles away. I got about 55 mpg from my diesel car and arrived some 12 mins later than if I had driven at around 70 mph. About 90% of the people on that run, were obviously in a mad rush and had to avoid sleeping away at the wheel by driving well in excess of 70mph. That’s grand – not everybody cares to save a few quid. The government has secret plans to lower motorway and dual carriage way speed limits by 10 mph. What that should mean according to those who need to drive at 70mph, is that more people will be sleeping away at the wheel at 50 or 60mph. It’s like that argument about wind turbines chopping up birds – except that no collection of birds was ever found chopped up around wind turbines. Hey ho – what’s in the head is all that matters for some people.
Nonetheless, reduction of speed and acceleration saves fuel and cost.
There are loads of things people can do to reduce their energy consumption. Some people want reduced bills but no reduction of consumption. They’re living in cloud cuckoo land. It’s fine. I’m not telling people which land they should live in.
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