Feb/10

22

Lights Are Off But Somebody IS Home

Challenge #4: In the Dark?

For the past several weeks we’ve been teaching ourselves to live in the dark.  Not completely, although candlelight is quite calming and romantic, but rather we’re making a conscientious and concerted effort to turn lights off throughout the house unless they are absolutely necessary. No exceptions. Sounds easy, right? Well, it should be…but for some reason it’s not normal behavior. Hallway lights, staircase lighting, and accent lighting were often left turned on. That habit is quickly changing.

Unfortunately our great experience to turn the lights out does give the illusion that nobody’s home. In fact, a neighbor who had been trying to catch up with us became frustrated because it always appeared to her that we weren’t home. And now that I think about it, it could explain why our Girl Scout cookies haven’t been delivered yet…hmmm!

The only complication to our rule of “lights out” so far (other than neighbors believing us to never be home) is that our geriatric dogs (aged 14 and 15) don’t have the eyesight they used too, and we have many stairs in the house. Expecting them to navigate the stairwells blind is unconscionable and cruel. So we’ve installed a nightlight, and this is now the only light that remains turned on after dark as a matter of safety for our animals.

We’ve also analyzed which rooms tend to use the most lights the majority of the time. It turns out that our home office is the hands-down winner in light/energy consumption, so we’ve switched out all the old incandescent light bulbs in that room to CFLs. Eventually, we’ll have the entire house converted to CFLs, but in the meantime, we’ll focus on the rooms that use the most lights most often.  Another tactic has been to be more mindful of opening up curtains and blinds for lights in rooms we occupy. With gray skies and snow, this step does not always let in as much light as the trade off is for heat loss from the cold seeping in.

At this point, we don’t know exactly how much energy-savings these efforts have afforded, but we do know it’s the right thing to do…so from here on out, “lights out.”

Sharon Dewar

Read the Dewar-Yates family’s previous post, Going Green Saves You Green on Valentine’s Day.

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2 Comments for Lights Are Off But Somebody IS Home

Yadira | February 24, 2010 at 11:31 am

Wow, you're pointing out a very interesting challenge with your dogs Sharon that I wouldn't have thought about. I think the nightlight is a very nice solution. Good thinking.

Yadira | February 24, 2010 at 7:31 pm

Wow, you're pointing out a very interesting challenge with your dogs Sharon that I wouldn't have thought about. I think the nightlight is a very nice solution. Good thinking.

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