Saturday, October 29, 2011

How I spent Earth Hour (March 30, 2008)

Current mood: electric

Earth Hour was the observance worldwide on March 29 of one hour of trying to live without electricity. At precisely 8:00 p.m., I had some friends over, and we were in the middle of having a real fun time, so I didn’t really notice the time. Even if I had, I’m not sure I was quite ready to bring festivities to a grinding halt.

Around 8:45, things began to wind down a bit, so I calmly moved the topic of conversation over to energy conservation. I pointed out our pole lamp, in which we have installed one 60-watt incandescent and one 13-watt compact fluorescent bulb. I think they were taken aback that the 13-watter is actually brighter than the 60! We were already looking up stuff on the Internet, so I showed them the Earth Hour website. Then, with their approval, we switched off most lights, lit candles, and shut down the PC.

I think at first they were somewhat weirded out, but we (in my family), who are used to switching stuff off, kept things rolling. First we got out an orange and amazed them with squeezing orange peel spray into a burning candle. This kept conversation going for maybe 10 to 15 minutes. Then we got out a musical instrument, my son’s ukulele, and began playing and singing. One uke led to two, then also one guitar and eventually a second. Before we knew, we had a regular jam session going.

It might have lasted longer, but 9:30 approached, and some needed to get to bed fairly early, so some lights went back on as they left. Still, we left the PC and most of the lights off and continued our little jam session.

Later, this led to another hour, roughly, of playing records, guitars, singing and dancing, within our own little foursome. So, even though the lights had been put back on by that point, we experienced family fun at its finest!

As an afterthought, it was probably a good idea we did not flip off the main circuit breaker to the house, as originally planned. We would have had to reset about 10 clocks and other devices, and we would have lost all the messages on our answering machine. While we did not achieve true-zero usage, instead I think we did better than expected, as we got four more people involved in energy conservation than we otherwise might have, and showed them that it can indeed be a lot of fun!


bus15237 said...

There is no reason to wait until March rolls around to try this again! Life does not need to come to a halt just because the electricity goes off. Plan & have fun!

bus15237 said...

Comments on the original 2008 post:

Pittsburgh Storm
That's awesome! I don't know if I would turn EVERYTHING OFF (gotta keep the fridge on for the kids) but I like the idea.

I use to use so little electricity, I would get $18 electric bills and keep the furnace on 62 degrees when I wasn't home.

Well, that was before I had custody.

Stuart Strickland
One hour without electricity will not kill the stuff in your fridge, provided, of course, that you keep the door closed.

Speaking of the fridge, and saving money, when was the last time you vacuumed the coils? If it's been more than three or four months, you're wasting electricity. That wad of dust acts as a fur-coat insulator.

If you have back-mounted coils, you can usually sweep them off easily with a car snow brush. If they're underneath, you'll need a couple of tools, star [sorry MySpace cut off the comment here]