It can be done!
On May 4, you ran an opinion column written by Ed Stephens, Jr. regarding "Energy Costs". In the column, Mr. Stephens writes that he "cannot fathom a Saipan house that uses less than 1,500 kWh (kilowatt hours) of electricity per month." It is a reality and can be done-our home is proof. On average we use approximately 250 kWh per month. Yes, only 250. We live in an "un-insulated concrete sweatbox" house, not a condo or an apartment. We live here full time. In the last six months, our highest bill was $82, and that includes the charge for unmetered water. How do we do it?
- Don’t run the air conditioners. Get a few fans and open up the windows.
- Wash full loads of laundry. Use cold water to wash your laundry.
- Run a few clothes lines instead of using the dryer.
- Turn your water heater to the lowest setting and when you go on vacation, turn it off. Why heat water when you aren’t going to be using it?
- Replace your standard light bulbs with CFL bulbs. We use them in all of our light fixtures.
- Shut lights off in the rooms that you aren’t in.
- Don’t leave outside lights on.
- Plug your entertainment system (TV, DVD, VCR, etc.) into a surge protector bar that has an off/on switch. When you want to use it, flip the switch to on, when you are done, flip the switch to off. All of these components have an internal clock that draws a small amount of electricity even when not in use. Do the same in the kitchen with the microwave and radio. We also use one for our computer.
- If you have ceiling fans, use them. If you don’t, consider installing them.
- When buying new appliances, choose Energy Star products if available. We put our Energy Star TV in our living room even though it is smaller because that is where we watch TV 90 percent of the time.
There are many more things that we do in our house to be energy efficient, but I won’t bore you. Just look at your everyday actions and ask yourself if you could be doing it in a more energy efficient way.
Sure, living without air conditioning here is a little uncomfortable sometimes. But if it means putting money into our investments and sweating a little versus staying indoors, being cool and rolling pennies to try to make ends meet, we choose to sweat. We like our money and want to keep it rather than hand it over by the fistful to CUC.
Yes, we are treehuggers.