As I sit here in my living room covered up with an extra blanket, seeing our clothes drying on the drying rack, and the leftover pencils and papers from one of the kids drawing a character to help remind us to turn the lights off, I am reminded of the fact that easy, and free, behaviour changes are the building blocks to energy conservation.
Also, in my living room are strands of Christmas lights that have recently been switched over from incandescent to LEDS (light emitting diodes), empty boxes of LEDS for our chandelier that we switched out the CFL’s (compact fluorescent lights) and old electronics on our floor from switching out power bars to advanced power strips and simply making a pile of old electronics we just don’t need anymore. Easy, low-cost changes that increase our home’s energy efficiency.
And as I sit here drinking my hot coffee in the early hours of the morning before anyone else is awake, I have had another look at the video our oldest made of his solar powered sensor activated watering system he designed for watering our garden. The system is designed so that we don’t need to rely on electricity from our well pump (and we can conserve water!). A renewable energy system designed by my kid.
So…what’s the moral of the story? Aside from the fact that I need to clean my living room, in a short period of time we have built a pyramid.
An energy saving pyramid! A pyramid with a Net Zero lens! A pyramid that has built a strong foundation starting with the basics of behaviour changes. The best part of behaviour changes is that they are free! Grabbing an extra blanket or sweater, turning the lights off, and shortening the length of showers conserve energy, decrease our carbon footprint and are free but cost-effective ways to save on our power bill!
And the best part of all? The kids have been strong contributors to building our pyramid. Ok. Not at first. It did take almost two weeks to get everybody on board using the shower timer and reducing the length of their showers, but they are all using the timer now (and listening to it!)! Old habits are hard to break. Solidifying a new habit into a routine is hard, so I would say two weeks is a win!
The one energy efficiency change we are all excited about is the motion-sensor light in the laundry room. Sleepy kids looking for clothes in the morning or hands full with laundry baskets, the laundry room is the one room that the light is left on the most. Recognizing that if we are unable to change behaviours, it made the most sense to switch the laundry room light out so that the light automatically turns off after a minute if no one is in the room.
Automated energy efficiency. Amazing!
As I finish sipping my coffee, I must think what’s next? Yeah, yeah. I know. Clean the living room. No, after that! This challenge has taught us that building a pyramid is not that hard after all. So together with our energy conservation habits and energy efficiency changes, it makes the most sense to now investigate renewable energy to reduce our carbon footprint even further. Stay tuned!
I can’t help but think of Mike Myers in Austin Powers. We all have the power to change, but to build a pyramid we must build the foundation first. Behaviour changes that start with each one of us.