I was re-reading 30 Simple Things You Can Do to Save Energy, by the Earth-Works Group, authors, also, of 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Save the Earth.

Did you know:

  • A microwave is a lot more energy efficient than a regular oven at cooking small things, but less efficient for big things like a turkey? So just forget about that old-fashioned microwave Thanksgiving you had planned.
  • “Long-life” incandescent bulbs are actually less efficient than regular ones. It’s the newer, much more expensive compact fluourescents that are so great for the environment. And they really do work. I use them in places that don’t need bright light but are left on a lot. (No point putting one in a closet. The $15 cost of the bulb, which will last three centuries if you only use it a few minutes a day, is wasted.) I have one outside my door, left on all night every night. A low wattage is plenty bright at night. The bulbs use only about 25% as much energy as regular ones of the same brightness, and last 10 times as long.
  • You don’t need to leave your air conditioner on all day to have a cool house when you get home.” Just have it switch on half an hour ahead of time. “Put a timer on your room air conditioner,” advises 30 Simple Things, “or use a programmable thermostat on your central unit.
  • A full refrigerator is more efficient, because food retains cold better than air does. (If you plan to defrost something for tomorrow, stick it in the refrigerator now, rather than on the counter tomorrow . . . the frozen item will help cool the refrigerator as it thaws.)
  • There are 20 million waterbeds in the U.S. (No! could that be true? and 20 million pairs of bell bottom pants?). Heating them takes a lot of energy (as does bouncing around on them, if I recall correctly). If you have one of these things, make your bed! Leaving them uncovered, says the book, lets the heat dissipate.
  • Pool blankets cut pool-heater energy consumption by 40% to 70%.
  • Spark-ignition gas stoves can save 40% over the ones where the pilot light runs all the time. I got the handyman to turn off the pilot-light valve in my old stove, and, lacking “spark ignition,” resort to what’s known in pyrotechnical circles as “a match.” Of course, I suppose it takes some energy to manufacture a match . . .
  • Reversible ceiling fans provide a “wind chill” in the summer and recycle hot air back down toward your toes in the winter. Just don’t install them in low-ceilinged rooms. Thwock. Thwock. Thwock.

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