It's an on-going concern in our family, one that they've heard far too many times, but don't hear enough.
I'm always telling my family to turn off lights and fans when they leave a room. The energy savings mount up, as a recent run of public service announcements and commercials have driven home.
We enjoy the power company ads that show hundreds of little lightning bolts piling up, symbolizing wasted energy.
While we're not that bad, the caricature of wasteful consumers makes me laugh every time.
Frankly, I can't imagine leaving a TV on to entertain my pet dog or cat. For one, our TV is threatening to die anyway, and I don't want to squander it's last hours on a pet. For a second, dogs can't see television the way we do, and so even a small radio might make more sense... but I still wouldn't do it.
I'm one for turning off the air conditioning whenever we're not at home, though I have heard that trying to pull the temperature down late in the day is an impossible task. I'm not sure.
But one of the things I am most adamant on in my household... is the laundry.
First, I combine loads, and make sure that we're not doing small needless loads if possible. The amount of water run through a washer can be limited, as well as the amount of electricity used.
But more important than that, I resist the use of the drier if at all possible. If there's any chance of hanging the clothes out and drying them with the sun and breeze, I'll go for that.
I've even cut it so close to approaching storms that my family now teases me that the weatherman can't tell when it's going to rain. I just laugh it off, and remember that every load that I can dry or almost dry before air drying in the house means another kilowatt hour saved in the drying process.
I know there are some that blanch whenever they think of hanging their clothes out to dry for several reasons. Some think it's too "low class"-- that running the drier is a status symbol.
Some think it's embarrassing to hang your undies on a line where all can see. Fortunately, our house is screened from all sides, and frankly, I don't care. I'll bet the neighbors are wearing underwear also! So, what's the rub?
Some people have a natural allergic reaction to pollen and can't do this, and for them, I understand and leave them to their highly filtered, air conditioned lives stuck indoors.
But some also argue that the life of clothes are shortened by over-exposure to the sun, and so they won't hang out their favorite garments.
Any and all of these may be good reason to not hang your clothes outside, but my wife has convinced me that hanging a few moist items on the bar above our washer can dry almost as well as the drier might...plus, in the winter, it adds humidity to our home!
As a child of parents who went through the Great Depression, I was taught some behaviors by example, and laundry is one.
Remind me to thank my parents the next time I write a two digit check to the utility company instead of a three digit payment.