Mid-semester update

Posted: October 20, 2010 in Uncategorized

It seems like the semester just started yesterday, but the reality is we have reached the halfway point of the semester! I can’t believe how quickly the last 9 weeks have flown past, but I’m looking forward to the next 9 weeks going by just as quickly.  I wrapped up two of the classes I was taking online this past weekend, Photovoltaic Basics & Safety and Overview of Renewable Energies.  Both of the classes were really interesting but at times could be a little confusing and challenging with my lack of direct knowledge about electricity.  The last alternative energy class I have this semester is Photovoltaic Systems Overview, and now that I’m through the first few chapters I’m glad I decided to wait to start it until after I finished the other two classes.  I feel like I flew through the beginning and really hope that things will continue to keep clicking for me.

I have also taken a lot of the material to heart, like it or not alternative energy will only continue to develop and make up a larger portion of the energy we consume; there’s no use fighting it.  If you’re a business it might mean your required to buy energy credits to offset your carbon footprint (if it’s too big), but if you’re just a regular consumer like me you have the power to make small changes that can save huge amounts of energy and money.  There’s no need to go out and do everything at once, but when it comes time to replace a light bulb, shower head, water heater, furnace, washer & dryer, etc. start by checking for energy star approval.  By buying products that meet industry standards for energy consumption you know they will be efficient, but did you know that many of these products qualify for federal tax credits?

I rent a modest size apartment built sometime shortly before the 1920’s and it looks like it hasn’t had much updating since the 1970’s which is evident from the dark paneling on the walls, windows that let in almost as much air when closed as when open, and a toilet that uses 10 gallons per flush.  I’ve been there just over a year now, and have seen a steady decrease in my energy bills because of small changes.  Obviously because I’m renting, replacing major appliances doesn’t make much sense (my landlord is a pretty nice guy but not quite nice enough that I’m going to replace appliances for him) all I’ve done are the little things like using CFLs when replacing light bulbs, making sure all the faucets in the house have aerators, and soon I’ll be installing some stylish plastic sheeting over all the windows.  I’d like to leave you with this final challenge, next time you have a repair/replace decision step back for a minute and consult Google, phone a friend, stop in at Sears, or do whatever it takes to make the most informed decision possible, it’s a win-win situation.

  1. Becca says:

    Love the energy saving tips, Dan! As for that “stylish plastic sheeting”… here’s a little friendly tip. DON’T FORGET IT’S THERE! I did such an excellent job applying mine last year, I walked straight into a sheet of it that I had forgotten I put up over my sliding glass patio door! 🙂

  2. Sue Anderson says:

    Good advice, Dan. Just last week, we replaced our 25-year-old furnace with a new 95% efficiency model. Looking forward to a more comfy house with lower heating bills this winter. So when we skiers aren’t out on the slopes, we’ll be nice & toasty at home!

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