Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Back to the Basics

Well,  it may not seem like it, but I'm still here!   With going back to work in November, it's become a major juggling act just to keep our sanity.  With the new year well upon us, I think it's time to take stock of where we are and what's important.  Back to the Basics, as it were.

I'm not sure if I posted about our insane gas and electric bills in this house.  Lets just say we pay double what most people we know do.  While I realize a hot tub takes a lot to heat, that still doesn't explain the crazy gas bill.   So, with that in mind, we replaced our furnace this past December.   We didn't end up springing for the high efficiency model, since it was a bit pricey even with both our provincial and federal grants. Instead we bought a two step mid-efficient model and installed a new programmable thermostat.  Already we are reaping the rewards. Not only did we replace the original furnace (nearly 35 years old) but we discovered why we had no heat in our bedrooms and fixed that, too. Now we have no need to use the electric heaters (other than the odd time we need only one room warmer).  Both things are saving us money already.

I think, too, having installed the new windows this past year has positively affected our bills, as both of them have dropped - about $60 on the monthly gas and about $15 on the electric.  Next step - turn off those darned lights when we aren't using them!   I'm really bad for it.  I spend a lot of time running around the house turning them all off. Time, I think, better used. I really have to make it a habit to turn them off as I go.

We also bought a new washer and dryer (and I will NOT get started on my issues with the dryer and the place I bought it from - let it suffice to say I'm not happy and am working to a resolution).   I hope that the front load washer will help with the bills, too.  I don't do many hot water washes, but those I do should use lots less water. And I'm using less water overall and that's a good thing - same on the detergent (which is, of course, my favourite Seventh Generation)

Oh, there is so much to do around here still.  We have six months left (roughly) to get it done and reaudit the place for our rebates. I'm hoping we can do some of it before then (add some insulation, sealing the leaks, etc)  I'm also trying to do the cut your usage by 10% with BC Hydro for their team powersmart.  Yeah.. so far I'm up about 11%.  But that's going down.   The first months we compared had us working the first year, and me at home the second so we do use more energy that way. Now that I'm back to work, we'll see.  Yet another reason to turn off those lights and replace a few energy sucking fixtures around here.

My resolution for this year is to work hard at the small stuff.  We've made a few big changes with the windows, furnace and appliances (new dishwasher, washing machine/dryer) this past year.  This year it's all about little things.. Oh, and my garden.  If I can ever get motivated (as in have time to do it, without wee babies pulling me in other directions, LOL) I will be planning my veggie garden and some expansions there to make it better and easier to care for than last year.  Ahhh.. dreaming... but that's for another post!

Have you made any 'green' resolutions this year?

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