A bit over a year ago I decided that I'd better take some action about our contributions to pollution and production of green house gases. So the first thing that I did was investigate my options for our electricity supply. It was clear that there were two things that we needed to do - the first was plainly reduce our consumption, and the second was to source our electricity from a renewable resource. My personal preference for the latter was solar - given that we have lots of sun to go around, and plenty here in Australia.
We reduced our consumption by changing our lights from incandescent to compact fluorescent, and most significantly, by just turning things off. Our lights, our equipment, our computers. All of these run less now.
I also adjusted the heating down one degree, and set the automatic timer to come on later in the morning, switch off during the day and switch off earlier at night. Our lounge room has a family supply of blankets that we all snuggle under at night when we read or watch telly.
To cope with summer, we installed overhead fans, rather than relying on our air conditioner. On really hot days we still use the air conditioner, but we run it at 26 or 27 degrees celcius, rather than the usual 22. It still feels warm inside, but it is cooler that outside, especially on a day in the high 30s. Sometimes to make it feel cooler, I'll go outside to warm up and come back inside to the relative coolness.
Even with the Australian Government rebate for the installation of Solar Panels, we'd need to outlay a heap of cash to go completely self sufficient at home, so I instead opted to source our electricity from a green energy provider. I chose Origin Energy's Green Power 100% Solar option, and although it is more expensive to buy per kWh, our bill is only slightly up because we have lowered our consumption as well.
An other thing that we have on our plans are the insulation of our walls - we live in an old weather board house, and the thin walls let so much heat in and heat out. The old boards need to be replaced, so when we do that job, we'll also insulate as best as we can.
The final thing that we are doing is voting at this year's federal election. And I am really looking forward to doing that.
This post is part of Blog Action Day - using the blogosphere to help raise more attention to the challenges facing our environment.