No Impact Week, Day 5 – Thursday: Energy
Replace kilowatts with ingenuity — explore no-energy alternatives to accomplish your daily tasks…Posted Jan 10, 2011
This is the fifth in a series of eight blog articles chronicling my experience participating in the 2011 No Impact Week, a global challenge to lower your carbon footprint as much as possible over eight days, initiated by Colin Beavan’s No Impact Project.
Day 5: Energy
I just moved into an apartment that was built in the 1950s. Energy efficiency was not a big priority back then, and all of the windows are thin, single-pane glass, which do little to insulate. The building also has central heating—very difficult to control in the apartment. In the house that I used to live in, I did a lot of work to winterize what I could by installing door sweeps, putting plastic over the windows, sealing cracks, and laying down thick carpets. In my new place I can’t do any serious renovations, and am even unable to put plastic over the windows because of how they are designed.
Although hampered by this, I was still able to find a few areas for improvement. For heat use, the first thing I did was turn all of the radiators down as low as they could go—if it gets really cold, I’ll just put on my long johns. For weatherization, I made a note to pick up some drapes for the windows—curtains can make a big difference in helping insulation. To address energy efficiency I took stock of all the types of light bulbs in the house, and created a list of CFL or LED light bulbs I needed to buy to replace the incandescent bulbs I currently have.
Rain or shine I will be outside this weekend.
As I run a business from my computer I spend way too much time plugged in. In order to get a bit of distance from my laptop I went for a run and read a book. I have to force myself to unplug and get away from electrified life more often. The constant bombardment of distractions that comes with being online takes a toll on your mental health. You save energy, and are also able to recharge your personal batteries when you spend time in nature or in a quiet place without outside interruptions.
From auditing my energy use I discovered a few ways of saving power around the apartment, but the biggest revelation was that in order to save the most power, I simply needed to get out of the apartment more often! Rain or shine I will be outside this weekend.
“A year after doing the No Impact Experiment the first time, I can see how it changed my life. I was reminded how important community is, and since then I have become much more active in my city and group of friends. I am happier because of it and I find myself compelled to do it again. I can’t recommend a better way to kick off the New Year.”
– Aran is a partner at Eartheasy.com.