Turning off the Power

Reader Contribution by Bethann Weick
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Our 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.

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