Friday, July 10, 2009

Energy report

It is Frugal Friday today and after a couple of weeks of not participating I thought it would be fun to get back in the action.

A few weeks ago I wrote about 50 ways to use less electricity. I thought I would give you an update on our progress and a couple new energy saving tricks I have learned.


Here is some of the goals we have accomplished:
  • Only turning the oven on once a week. We have been cooking our meals primarily on the stove top, campfire or in the crock pot. (I would love to say solar oven too but I haven't worked with that as much as I wanted to.) The times that I have turned the oven on, I used it to the maximum. The picture above is from the first weeks baking. I had the oven on for only 1 hour and 15 minutes and baked everything in the picture above plus another pizza that we ate for supper. (The pizza in the picture only had the crust baked as I was getting it ready to go in the freezer for another day.) I tried out putting stuff in while it was preheating and turning the oven off before the stuff was done. It worked fine except I left my sweet rolls in the oven to long after I had turned it off and they ended up a little to brown.
  • Hanging everything on the clothes line except Ken's dress shirts. I have only run the dryer for around 15 minutes each week. That has been a little challenging when we had a bunch of rainy days at first and then again when we came back from the reunion with a bunch of stuff that needed done but it has worked.
  • Taking shorter showers. I have definitely tried to speed up, I haven't timed them very often but the ones I did time I was able to take in only 3 and 4 minutes.
  • Turn off the lights. We have worked hard and stopping the habit of automatically turning on lights. Most of the time the light from the windows is just fine.
  • Turning off the computer. This still needs quite a lot of work, I have a tendency to forget, but I have made progress.
Then some of our "failures":
  • A couple of times I have decided to use the crock pot for supper but failed to get the stuff in it in time so I ended up cooking it the rest of the way on either the stove top or microwave. I don't think I saved much electricity on that one.
  • We did end up turning on the air conditioner for a couple of days. It had gotten pretty warm and very humid and our downstairs bathroom was not drying out and was having mold issues and also Ken threatened to spend evenings at his air conditioned office so the Air went on. Since then it has been actually chilly quite a bit and we have been tempted more to turn the heater on. :-)
My New Discoveries!
  • I was quite excited to discover a very simple and energy efficient way to cook rice. I discovered it quite by accident the other day. One morning a Malaysian friend of ours was coming over to help us cook Japanese food (as we were learning about Japan) and before I went to pick her up she asked my to put some sticky rice to soak. While I put it in the pan with water and set it on the stove and automatically turned it on. A couple of minutes later I discovered it boiling and I quickly turned it off and looked at it and it still looked like before so I figure Pei Lin would never know the difference. Well we headed off to get Pei Lin and pick up a few groceries and when we came back she asked where the rice was. I showed her and then when we looked at it, it was completely cooked. I had to confess after all, that I had turned the burner on for a tiny little bit. This week I tried it again but with brown rice (which is what we usually eat). I brought it to a boil, turned it off and let it sit for an hour. It was actually done more than I prefer, next time I want to experiment doing it for a little less time.
  • My other energy saver is for frying eggs. We eat fried eggs quite a bit and our whole family likes the yolks to be solid (nothing runny for us please!). I didn't used to cook them with a cover on but since that saves energy I have been trying to do that with pretty much everything lately. I discovered the eggs cook much quicker and I can turn off the burner when they are about 1/2 way done and they will just finish cooking on their own. I do use a cast iron skillet which I think helps to conserve the heat.
Those are some of the energy saving things that have been going on at our house. I would love to hear your favorite ways to use less electricity!

2 comments:

Sarah said...

It is so odd because I discovered the egg trick this week too! My husband has an omelet for breakfast every morning without fail. This week I put the lid on to see if it'd cook the top part of the omelet so I wouldn't have to flip it. I did this about halfway through and then turned the heat off so the bottom wouldn't get burned. It worked perfectly! Sometimes we get lucky and saving energy is actually more rewarding than using energy!

Emily said...

Just a tip for the a/c issue. Those large square fans are great to sit in a window and have them suck the air OUT of your house. It works like a large whole house fan by sucking out the stale (hot, humid) air inside. Thanks so much for your ideas on such little things we can all do.

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