Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Nocturnal Energy Use

At work the other day I was having a conversation with my boss about laundry.  It surprised me that we are both night-time laundresses.   Why?  Because it helps the planet, and maybe your pocketbook to use energy at "off" times, like at night.  

Here's how it works, every time you flip a switch or fill a washing machine, that power is tapping a plant (usually coal run) somewhere.  If everyone does this at once ("peak" times), more power plants have to go online.  And with more people using energy then ever before, more power plants are having to be built to accommodate this peak usage, meaning, more energy used.    Peak times range based on season, but are generally between 3:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.  

Many energy companies charge less for energy during mid-peak or off-peak times.  Which means just by contacting your energy company for information on the getting enrolled and switching a few habits, you can gain the double eco-whammy of money and Earth saved!  

Here are a few things we do around here just to make sure we are taking full advantage of off-peak energy times:
  • Charge all electronics (computers, cell phones, cameras, etc...) at night.
  • Throw in laundry before bed, hang dry in the morning.
  • Wash dishes at night.
  • Take full advantage of longer days and keep lights out as long as possible.  Heck, sometimes we never turn them on.
Also consider night-time use of:
  • Dishwashers
  • Sprinkler systems
  • TV, radios, etc...
Has anyone taken advantage of this?  What was your experience like?  Is anyone planning on it?  What did I miss that is a great use of nocturnal energy?


Marianna said...

I definitely pay attention to this...we run our pool pump at night during the winter (unfortunatly, it has to run in the daytime during the summer or we get algae). I always run the dishwasher at night. I also do laundry in the evening. I run one load of white clothes in hot water each week. I do that load as soon as I get out of the shower since there is hot water already in the pipes!

Meg said...

What a helpful post! I realized when I read this that I had sort of maybe heard about how peak hours work, but I'd definitely forgotten about it till now. Good reminder.