This is… THE ECOHOUSE! Home base for the heroically sustainable EcoTeam. The EcoHouse is brought to you today by the new, improved, environmentally friendly drying machine: The Clothesline! With no extension cord needed, no batteries required, and zero carbon footprint, the Clothesline is the perfect dryer for that sustainable someone 😉 It comes in both hanging and stand-up models. The Clothesline is the proud sponsor of the EcoTeam’s battle against the Evil overuse of gas, which began on a cold and windy day not too long ago…
Challenge 3: Earning our Orange Belt
After a relaxing fall break, this EcoTeam is back in action and ready to roll. A lot has been happening around here lately; suffice it to say we’ve got some new toys! Every superhero enjoys their gadgets. Where would Batman be without his constant Batmobile upgrades and fancy laser beams courtesy of Lucius Fox (*cough*cough Morgan Freeman)?
The EcoTeam’s very own squad of crafty techno geeks convened in our living room last week to instal the very latest and greatest monitoring system. As our tech team patiently explained to us, this monitoring system gives us top secret information on temperature, water consumption, hot water consumption, gas use, and electricity.
The EcoTeam with our new gadgets. (Crew team, we still have your uniforms)
This data helps us decide when to shower.
Yup, that’s right! We can check to see if our solar panels have heated our water enough to shower. Now we try to shower during the day to maximize our sunshine power!
This knowledge also helps us save electricity. This part is super stealth. We can actually set the thermostat to 65°F while we sleep and have the heat kick in so that it is 70 by the time we wake up. Naturally, we turn it down again while we are away during the day. SO MUCH ENERGY SAVED!
This week, we are going to actually keep track of exactly how much energy this tactic saves. #hardevidence
Check out these graphs!
Unfortunately, halfway through the week when we went to check how we were doing and adjust the temperature to save more gas, we realized that while our new gadgets give us lovely graphs of what the temperature was during the day, it doesn’t have any information about how much gas we are using to heat the house. Disappointing, we know. So while we can’t tell you what our temperature-setting impact was, we can share this lovely graph of the house temperature during a typical day:
Locavore-ous Lavagirl: It took a few minutes to figure out what setting the different times and temperatures would mean, but after we set it all up it was kinda crazy to see how many hours we were keeping the house at 65 that had previously been set at 70 or 68. The biggest impact for me was the much colder temperature during the afternoon. We set the thermostat to not heat the house until it drops below 65 F after we all leave in the morning and until 5pm in the afternoon, but I typically come back to the house to eat and do work for at least a few hours between those times on every day of the week. Suddenly, the house was much colder! However, I had started bundling up for the colder weather outdoors, so I just kept my sweatshirt on once I came home. I also tried to save gas by hanging my towels to dry after I washed them instead of using the dryer. It was an experience to say the least… Unlike coming out of the dryer soft and fluffy, my hung-dry towels were stiff and scratchy And that didn’t change after I used them. Although I feel bad about the impact of drying my towels in the dryer, I don’t think hanging them to dry is a reasonable alternative, and I won’t be doing that again.
Waste-reducing Wonder Woman: This week was an experiment in itself. We had a meeting of the minds to set our thermostat strategically. This meant that the temperature settled at 65 degrees during the day, when we were gone and the heat kicked in around the time we came back home. It took some time getting used to these settings. For example, I felt much colder at night (when the heater stopped), but I learned to bundle up appropriately. If I was feeling chilly while doing homework at 1am I would take a break and do some pushups to warm up. Yup- saving money, carbon, and getting fit 😉 We also had an automatic override system which we could use in case it got too cold and we needed to turn the heat up. We only did this on very few occassions, so I’m proud of our eco-team! I think we will continue to use these eco-friendly settings indefinitely. Also, we made conscious decisions to use less gass this week. I did this by using the microwave instead of the oven. (Our oven seems to use A LOT of gas). I also hung up all of my clothes to air dry as per usual. Overall, I think we’ve made some serious impacts this week with very little changes in our daily life!
Sustainably Savvy Superwoman: Adjusting the room temperature to our lifestyle made me more active and efficient during the day. I used to wake up in the middle of the night and had hard time getting out of the bed in the morning due to the cold. After the adjustment, I get sound sleep and start working right after I wake up. To wake up feeling warm shortens my shower time too because I no longer have to spend too much time and hot water to warm up myself. Also, despite lowering the temperature during the day, I usually do not feel too cold. Even if I do, I do not feel stressed since I can just wrap myself up in a blanket or wear fluffy socks (unlike when I’m sleeping and can do nothing). Overall, being able to preset room temperature by day is definitely helpful — not just environmentally but for your well-being too!
Tune in next week when we can only shower while the sun is shining! EcoTeam over and out.
EcoTeam to AlphaControl: Mission accomplished. Waiting on our next assignment.