I rarely actually use cardamom. I'm more of a basil and oregano and red chili girl.


Saving Money and Going Green

By now, you probably have figured out that a lot of the things you can do to go green also save you money.  Changing to CFLs.  Turning down the thermostat.  Carpooling.  Etc.

We had already done a lot in those categories (although I am still looking for a workable carpool).  I thought we had done all we could do until I got our January electric bill.  We have a heat pump, so most people could have told me it would be bad.  I just had no idea.

So, we started by turning the thermostat down to 55 (F) when we left for work.  The Exotic Foreigner ordered us a programmable thermostat.  I conducted an informal survey on Facebook regarding where other thermostats were set.  Most were between 68 and 72, and ours sat at the lower end of that spectrum.  And then someone floored me with a response of 60 degrees all day and all night!

I couldn't help it.  This person and I are so alike that I felt almost like I should already be on that bandwagon.  I had turned the setting up to 68 when I got home, but went to turn it down.  The next day, it stayed at 60 all day and I was very comfortable! A coworker suggested closing vents in seldom-used rooms, so I did that as well.

I'll have to wait until the bill comes to report on our savings, and even then, we will wait to see the effects of the programmable thermostat.  I am thinking we may take it much lower during the day, and somewhat lower at night.  It may be next winter before we have definitive results. But what I can tell you about the green side of things is that:
According to several sources including wearewhatwedo.org, turning down the thermostat by 1 degree C (1.8 degrees F) can reduce carbon emissions by .89kg/day.
We reduced our thermostat by 4.5 degrees C (20 to 15.5), so we are reducing our impact by about 4.5 kg of carbon emission per day.

Now, I have heard that the programmable thermostats are all the rage when it comes to saving energy.  Can anyone tell me why my uncle thinks that turning down the thermostat for some time periods does not save money?  He argues that using the emergency heat strips uses more energy than it's worth.  Are we all being duped by the programmable thermostat push?  Or are older heat pumps the only ones this applies to?  Or doe they, yes, use more energy heating up but less energy than if we were keeping the house that warm to begin with?  Does it depend on the size of your home?

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  1. Our thermostat is at 66 when we are home and much lower when we aren't at home and at night so we're definitely on the low end. We have a very small house so there aren't any unused rooms which is nice. Since I get cold, I usually carry a blanket and a portable heater around with me, hahaha. We also keep an extra heating unit in autumn's room since she doesn't really use many blankets and that's the only room that needs heat overnight. I'm almost certain that the programmable thermostats are worth it...here's an article from a site we like. It's for summer but it talks about the thermostats: http://gizmodo.com/5300062/how-to-keep-cool-without-going-broke-this-summer. It'll tell you what you already know but from a geek perspective. :P

  2. Well! We just got our bill and it is about $120 lower this month, so that is an encouragement. Santi is installing our programmable thermostat right now.
    Good article. We know we are losing out a lot on one front - although our windows are relatively new, they still leak some. We should probably cover them with some plastic next year or take advantage of a tax credit to replace them if we can get it.