I am pretty pleased with how I have done with this behavior challenge this week. The positive: I feel really good about how much energy I am saving. I found a website (from a man that calls himself Mr. Electricity) that calculates how much energy different devices use. You choose the appliance, the amount used per day, and the days used per month and it calculates how much electricity it uses and how much it costs. The website also has links to other useful websites about electricity use and has charts comparing the energy use of different household appliances. According to these charts, a medium-sized AC window unit uses 900 watts. When I use the fan only function of the unit, I cut my energy use in half (325-425 watts). Not bad! Just imagine how much energy I will save by cutting my energy use in half (or more) every day for 5.5 more weeks! To get a better picture of the implications of my behavior change, check out Mr. Electricity’s facts and suggestions here: http://michaelbluejay.com/electricity/howmuch.html.
The hardest thing about the challenge? Trying to get my roommate on board with the behavior change. There have been times this week when I come back to the room and I need to put a sweatshirt on because she has the AC on high while I’m gone. It makes it easier for me to partake in my new behavior and turn the AC off, but it pretty much completely goes against my mission for lower energy use.
I cannot put the entire struggle on my roommate though. It is quite difficult for me to resist putting the AC on high in the morning when it is a bit too warm and I am trying to get ready for class. Now that it is FINALLY getting nice out, that should not be as much of a problem since I will be wearing shorts and flip flops to class instead of pants, boots, and sweaters.
Being aware of the energy I am using (and now saving) has definitely positively impacted me and made me more aware of the way my other behaviors impact the environment. I have gotten better at unplugging other devices when I am not charging them in attempts to save even more energy than just cutting back on AC. It’s really not that difficult to press a power button or unplug a cord, so why not just do it?