Homesteading and Livestock

Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.

Add to My MSN

Turning off the Power

4/25/2012 7:27:16 PM

Tags: permaculture, sustainability, energy conservation, alternative energy, energy footprint, ecological footprint, sustainable farming, Bethann Weick

Choose carefullyOur energy use – in terms of electric kilowatts - is rising.  While our solar panels do generate power thanks to sunny days, we’re also drawing power from the grid.  Each month I monitor the kilowatt hours used from both sources as a mechanism to understand our seasonal trends and energy dependencies here at D Acres.  And this past month surprised me just a bit.

We could pat ourselves on the back and say that, nevertheless, the many residents of D Acres are only using the output typical of an average family.  And, yes, there are a myriad of seasonal explanations that make the month of March energy intensive: numerous grow lights, for one example.  But both those statements are false comfort.  We want to be proactive models. 

Consequently, the numbers have sparked personal examination.  What are our own habits?  Our preferred conveniences?  Our energy addictions?  And, how do our personal choices intersect with group uses?  Ultimately, the quantity of power used or not used here at D Acres is a reflection of our collective body.  No one of us can stand apart. 

What are we doing about it?  For one, our response is that of renewed vigilance.  Turning off appliances such as printers and computers when not in use, leaving no lights on if a room is exited, transitioning young plants to greenhouse space as quick as possible.  These details reflect our habits; being present for our own reflexive actions is simple to write and more challenging to enact.  Conscientiousness is an ongoing process.

In regards to the larger picture of organizational energy uses, our discussions are considering the following energy saving strategies: computer free days?  No power during daylight hours?  Blackout days? 

So here we go.  This coming Sunday will be our first “power down” day.  With a generator ready to provide water if needed for guests or visitors, we will turn the power off for the daylight hours.  No lights, no computers, no shop tools.  In what terms will we consider our experience?  As an adventure?  A burden?  An inconvenience?  Can we create new habits for ourselves?  

This is a modest beginning.  With refreshed motivation and each other for continued inspiration, we aspire to restructure our schedules and our expectations.  No doubt it will be a process of adaptation, and of evolution – but are these ideas not synonymous with daily revolution?  And so we embark on the transformation of our daily minutiae.

Related Content

The Living Sustainably and Independently, Ready for Rough Times, Hands-on, Solar-Powered, All You Can Grow Workshop Wrap Up

Cam enjoyed a recent workshop he held at Sunflower Farm, and the participants seemed to enjoy it too...

Editor’s Choice: 5 Great Green Gardens

In Arizona, an intrepid desert gardener harvests rainwater to grow his own food. A Missouri garden w...

Permaculture Garden Observation

Showing where we were before our permaculture garden began.

What Are Your Best Tips for Sustainability in the Garden?

Considerations of sustainability factor into countless supplies, tools and methods present in your g...

Content Tools

Post a comment below.


4/26/2012 7:43:33 PM
Enjoyed your post. Do you mean you won't run shop tools or computers at all on Sundays (i.e., conservation), or when you say you're powering down during daylight, does that mean you'd use them at night? Seems it would be more efficient to use the PC and power tools during the day while power is being generated(?).

Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.