Energy Use at Better Farm Reaches Lowest Levels

Better Farm wants to be as green as possible. As we save our dollars and look to a bright future of turning this unsustainable house green, we bide our time by doing all we can with what we have to get the proverbial ball rolling.

To that end, we've been extremely careful about our energy use here. Back in May we swapped out all the lightbulbs for energy-efficient ones. Then we sold off the two air conditioners on the first floor of the house. Last week I lowered the hot water heater's levels by 10 degrees (the difference is imperceptible, but for every 10 degrees you lower your heater, you're looking at a money savings of 3 to 5 percent). We unplug all appliances and lamps (including the toaster, coffee maker, any lights not being used on a daily basis; even the printer) when not in use (even when something's not on, it still uses energy if it's plugged in). And the other day I picked up some fresh weatherstripping for the doors. We're also utilizing blinds and curtains to maximize or minimize heat and cold entry to the house, depending on what the weather's like.

So you can imagine it was a welcome surprise to learn, on our most recent energy bill from National Grid, that our energy use is at its lowest levels—in spite of the house being full of people on a fairly regular basis. The news has bolstered our commitment to keep going green, and now the synapses are really firing. Next up: insulation for the attic and crawl spaces, sealing off the basement, spackling, patching, and weatherstripping any remaining drafts; and making sure all the ducts coming off the furnace are sealed up tight.

Viva Better, everyone.
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Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.