week #9 switch it off

MP900390466Today I had to send our gas and electricity meter readings to our energy supplier. To be honest, the numbers mean very little to me and when it comes to knowing how much energy we use in a month I am completely ignorant. The bill comes and we pay it. The end.

However, all the recent talk of increased energy prices has started to make me more aware of where I waste precious resources. For instance, today I have done two wash loads and two tumble dryer loads. It is not a particularly cold day and if I’m perfectly honest, I just wanted to get the clothes dry quickly so that they were not hanging around and in the way. But I could have hung them out to dry on the balcony. I have boiled the kettle five times but I have only had four cups of tea; which means one of those times was totally unnecessary (except to enjoy the comforting sound of a whistle coming from the kitchen). I hardly ever turn plugs off. In fact, some of our plugs are so stuck away that we are unable to reach them so they just stay on permanently. Our computer’s stand-by button is far more worn out than the power switch. And lights in our flat are not merely functional; they are also used to create ambiance therefore rarely get turned off before bedtime.

Of course, when I look at the above list and realise that it just scratches the surface of my wasteful habits, I am really surprised. Not only does this cost us more than it should each month, it is also terribly damaging to the environment. The Directgov website states that ‘Humans are changing the climate by their actions’. Ouch.  Carbon emissions from our energy usage are a major contributor to climate change. The term ‘global warming’ seems to have lost it’s shock factor due to over-use but the realities of this phenomenon are still very real. As the earth gets warmer, climates are affected, which results in seasonal changes. This has a major influence on crops, wildlife species and can cause flash flooding, decreased snowfall and rising temperatures. And if you have ever been to a country like Morocco in August you will agree that the last thing we need is for the world to get hotter!

If, like me, you are feeling the need to brush up on your energy saving know-how, sites such as the Energy Saving Trust give practical tips to help you on your way. If you have ten minutes to spare (or if you are simply procrastinating) this Little Actions game at the Future Friendly site is quite informative and admittedly fun too.

From this week I am going to be far more aware of the the energy that I consume out of laziness and carelessness rather than necessity. I’m going to start turning off lights when I leave a room, air drying washing more often rather than resorting straight to the tumble-dryer and switching appliances off at the wall as soon as I am not using them. At the end of the day, I save on my energy bill while saving the earth. Everyone’s a winner and now there are no more excuses because I have been ‘enlightened’ on the issues surrounding my bad habits. See what I did there?


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