Saturday, February 28, 2009

Replaced the not-quite-last water hog

I finally got around to replacing the old old old water-hog toilet in our main bathroom. Frankly, given that it probably used 5 gallons a flush, I am ashamed it took me so long to do it. I guess it dropped down on the priority list behind work, babies, life and just about everything else.

But, it's finally done. I replaced it with a Kohler Cimarron, 1.6 gallon. I had to tell you the model number because the names companies come up with for toilets cracks me up. Just take a walk down the toilet isle at your local hardware store and see if the names don't make you smile.

I installed a Wellworth in my other bathroom. : )

Now I have one more big water hog to knock off my eco-friendlier makeover list: the washing machine. I just discovered that our washer is not Energy Star. Ugh. It's a kilowatt pig and probably uses a lot more water than necessary. I tried to talk hubby into shopping for Energy Star front-loading machines, but he made it clear that buying a new washer is not on the list of priorities. Ugh. I feel kilowatt guilt now every time I wash the jammies.

I can attribute this oversight to the appliance deluge that accompanies every house purchase. When we bought our house, we had to buy a washer, dryer, and fridge all at once. We wiped out our savings putting down a down payment, and were still paying the note on our house in New Orleans. Spending extra for an energy star model wasn't in the cards. Now we are paying for it, literally.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Smart power strips

In hopes of meeting my goal to reduce our household electricity use, I just bought a Smart Strip LCG3 power strip. At $40, this is not cheap. But, it seems like it's worth trying. It is supposed to actually turn off your computer and electronics if they are idle for more than 1 hour.

After some careful thought, I decided to start with only one of these. My hubby has a computer, monitor, playstation, big screen TV, and speaker set-up in the basement that I suspect is a huge electricity vampire. Even when they are "off" these items are never really off, they are on standby. So, I plan to install one of these smart strips in this area. If it works well, I may buy one for the stereo system upstairs and possibly a smaller version that I can plug all of the small kitchen appliances into.

I know that reducing electricity usage to a manageable level is going to be very difficult now that our furnace is an electric heat pump (even though it's geothermal). This is what I hope will be one step in the right direction.