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frugal friday: reiteration of everything you've already heard

meaning, energy savings. go green, save green, right?

*be purposeful about output. most things that plug in to the wall suck energy even when they're not in use. coffeemakers, cell phone chargers, electric toothbrush chargers - everything. unplug them when they're not in use. the BIGGEST wasters of energy are things on "stand-by" power: things that can be controlled with a remote. put these things on a surge strip that can be turned on and off. we put our TV, VCR, DVD player and stereo on a single surge strip, turned the whole thing off when not in use, and saved like 15 bucks the first month.(granted, none of our things were energy-star rated; savings would've been less if our stuff was newer/more efficient to begin with.) turn off your computer when it's not in use, and put all computer-related electronics (printer, speakers, etc) on a surge strip and turn off when not in use.

*think a tiny bit harder about laundry. not much, just a tiny bit. wash WHATEVER you can in cold water (i'd say 99% of our laundry is washed in cold water only - even baby stains come out if i "shout" them first). do consecutive loads - the dryer doesn't have to work as hard to dry the second load, since it has already been warmed up by the first. run your loads after 9:00 whenever possible - you can save 50%-75% on water and energy after 9 pm.

*think a tiny bit less about dishes. don't do them very often - or TOO often, really. only run the dishwasher when it's full. don't rinse them if it isn't necessary (depending on the dish and your dishwasher). if you follow these rules, you actually can end up using LESS water and energy than if you did them by hand after meals. only run the dishwasher after 9 pm. only use half the detergent the dishwasher can hold- it still works as well. use the normal or light cycles, and don't use the heat dry.

*cook creatively. if you can cook two meals at a time, or use leftovers, the stove/oven only has to be on once rather than twice. the smaller the appliance the less energy it uses, so consider that when cooking. (grill>toaster oven>microwave>range>oven). use the smallest pot necessary, since it takes more energy to heat a larger pot, and use the right-sized burner (don't put little pots on big burners, or vice versa).

then there are the standards:
.dust lightbulbs - it makes them more efficient.
.don't set your fridge/freezer too cold (but obviously cold enough!)
.turn off lights when not in use.
.turn down heat at night.
.turn off water when not in use.
.take quicker, cooler showers.
.turn thermostat down and dress in layers instead.
.turn a/c to higher temp and open windows/run fans instead.
.close north-facing shades in winter and south-facing shades in summer. (open them in opposite seasons.)

if you live in ames, you can call the electric department and request a free conservation packet (515-239-5120; ask for steve). it has TONS of information, audit sheets, fridge and freezer thermometers, and tons more stuff. it's really interesting, and FREE. it can't hurt to call!!!

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