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?  

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(?).

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