Showering in the dark.

I’m trying to use less electric light, and more sunlight.

I open all the blinds and shades during the day to flood the house with lovely soft light so I don’t need to flip the switch. I type outside on the back porch until it’s too dark to see. And when I take a shower or brush my teeth, I do it in the dark.  Isn’t that how Abraham Lincoln did it? He studied by candlelight. Of course, he also lived in the hills and had no electricity.

Okay. I’m not actually in the dark. It’s daylight and the blinds are wide open. I know where the soap is. I know where my teeth are. Why do I need to turn the light on?

My biggest problem is trying to go to bed at a decent hour. When the hubby’s out at sea, I have  outrageous insomnia. Maybe I’ve watched too many episodes of Dateline, but I find it more and more difficult to go to sleep. I need to finish this edit for the manuscript or that post for the blog, or….what was that noise? Did it come from outside or the back porch….or my car? My mind won’t shut off until 3:00 or 6:00 in the morning when everything is finito.

My brother told me I’m a vampire. I sleep during the day and I’m white as a ghost.

I’m not the only one trying to save on the electric bill. My in-laws told me they’ve been doing it for years. “I didn’t realize we were so green until I started reading your blog. We do most all of that stuff,” my father-in-law told me.

When my husband was very young and they lived in Pennsylvania, his mother began the ritual of opening all the windows at 5:00 a.m. and closing them at 9:00 p.m. since no one in rural southwestern Pennsylvania had air-conditioning.

My in-laws have insulated their entire house—doors, windows, and ceiling, switched to a gas stove, and purchased an Energy Star washer, dryer and refrigerator. They’ve installed new windows.  Finally frustrated, his father called the electric company. “What do I have to do? I’ve insulated everything. We don’t crank the heat or the air. I’ve switched to Energy Saving appliances. Why can’t I lower my electric bill?” he asked the patient woman on the phone.

And the answer: “Actually, sir, in the past two years you have drastically reduced your electric consumption. It’s just that our rates have gone up.”

My in-laws are therefore saving $50 a month on their electric bill, especially due to the new energy-saving appliances. My father-in-law claims within 15 to 18 months, the savings will have paid for either the washer or the dryer all by itself!

No wonder my husband has such a sharp head on his shoulders. Raised by such wise individuals, they passed it down to him. And we plan on passing it right on down the line!

Do you do anything creative to reduce your electric bill? Like showering in the dark? 


22 responses to “Showering in the dark.

  1. When I bought the house I kind of ignored the fact that the top of the double oven had a convection feature to it. But I’ve been using it more. The oven is electrically heated. By using the convection oven rather than just baking stuff the old-fashioned way, I have found I need about 25% less cooking time and the power to operate the fan (which is what makes it convection) is far less than the energy used by the heating elements.
    I also looked into “solarizing” the house. But the last time I checked it would have cost about $100K – so that isn’t practical. (Maybe Solyndra has some left over material I could get dirt cheap!)

  2. and you know that the benefits don’ t stop at the dollar signs..each increment of energy production creates a virtual cascade of waste and greenhouse gases to go with it–that is an unseen path of very heavy footprints..apparently we are not always aware of the results of our conveniences.
    much green love to the in-laws and husband and to you little ‘pale writer in the dark’..
    you don’t leave the blinds open when taking a shower do you? or are they high above your eyes? the title sounds like a savory story..send it to Isabella Rosselini..
    enough disruption..back to manuscripts..your habits sound like mine in the i split the night, down by midnight or so..

  3. I can’t stand lights on early in the morning… I have to ease into the day with soft, low lights. We’ve always turned lights off in the rooms we are not in, just common “cents”. I prefer natural light to artificial light, but sometimes you’ve just got to turn them on.

  4. We keep the thermostat set at 18C and wear warm clothes in the winter. In the summer we keep the curtains drawn in the sunny rooms and keep the air off unless the humidity gets overwhelming. I am also a bit of a light nazi -I run around and turn lights off constantly.

    We are on time of use rates where we live, so we set the dishwasher and washing machine to come on late at night or on the weekends when the rates are cheapest. I hang laundry when I can, but often find myself relying on the convenience of the dryer. At least it’s a newer energy star model.

  5. We installed ceiling fans in Southern CA and the circulating air really eliminates the need for air conditioning. I’ve been known to shower in the dark. The sensory experience of dimming the lights is a change from the routine. We’re lucky that we have the ocean breeze at night–a 30 degree difference in the summer. Keep the great ideas coming!

  6. Lucky our house here at nz have the sky roof were in we save lots in energy in kitchen and hallway and in bathroom as well. The bad thing about it, when the winter comes, its so cold. So electricty is really going high during this winter seasons…

  7. Our household has its own solar ‘energy panel array’ in the back yard, and also a 12 kW wind generator, which is connected to the national grid network, we’ve calculated our energy use for one month is approximately £14.50 so we get actually quite a lot back from our energy supplier/buyer, from the power we don’t use!

    But that doesn’t give us a excuse to waste anything.
    We use to have a washing machine which when it become unrepairable we recycled it.
    We wouldn’t dream of owning a clothes dryer? and the myriad of other useless gadgets that adorns most peoples houses nowadays, as these are extremely damaging to the environment, In most cases in one way or another.

    We cook on a wood burning aga, which also produces heat in that room, and also we have a wood burning stove in the other room downstairs, which is all the form of heating we need last year; the temperature plummeted to 21°C below zero, but inside we didn’t notice it being that cold. As long as one wears plenty of clothes, instead of chucking a few more logs on the fire.

    We also make our own bio-diesel from used cooking oil mainly from fish and chip shops.  We make candles from the residue we get back from the used cooking oil, and perfume them with various herbs that we grow at our smallholding  they tend not to be a main form of lighting which is LED.

    We grow most of our vegetable matter in the summer and spring and a large poly tunnel further extends our seasons, 
    even though the cover is made from plastic which is somewhat unfortunate, Here in the UK, everything is more expensive then in the states.

    people here are more fugal with everything, very few people own large capacity automobiles, only the rich! your lifestyle Jennifer in the UK is absolutely normal, and most people here would relate to it, and would not consider it extreme in any way, especially in the more rural parts of the country where people just don’t have the same amount of money, as people tend to have have in the cities.

    People here may  think  we are extreme, in our lifestyle choices, but I feel it’s not any detriment whatsoever to the quality of life we currently enjoy.

    It seems people in the US are somewhat more wasteful, going by what you have explained, and I’m glad people like yourself are taking the initiative their and making people more aware that a wasteful lifestyle is just unacceptable, where every planetary resource is in decline. Due to the wests rather wasteful behaviour over recent years

    I do hope I’ve given your readers. Hope! That there is a life outside,and indeed beyond the concrete jungle that we’ve made for ourselves.

    ‘Not perfect though, what is in this life’!

  8. showering together in the dark saves water, and electric and could be lots of fun

  9. I’ve nominated you for a Versatile Blogger Award. I’ve been enjoying reading your blog and I’m supposed to pass the award along. You don’t have to do anything with it if you don’t want to, or you can post it and follow the rules.

  10. I have insomnia too and I think the “light pollution” is part of the factor too. Especially all the gadgets and chargers and things that have lights in your room when you sleep- I try to get rid of as much as I can and can’t stand having a tv in the bedroom anymore. Works for two things though, save electricity and save your sanity, when you sleep better! 😉

  11. Oh Jenn, reducing your sunlight intake makes your skin healthier.
    Remember, white is the new tan 😉

    You should expose your white body to the sungligh for about 30 minutes a day to get your vitamin D from it. That’s it.

    Speaking about brushing your teeth in the dark, before I go to bed I always brush me teeth while watching tv. In the morning I brush my teeth in the kitchen or living room. You would be surprised how many things I can have done while just brushing my teeth. It saves me time. I am busy body and to make me stand in one place for 3 minutes JUST to brush teeth would drive me insane!!! In addition my bathroom is so small that if I have the door open it’s bright enough for me to do many things withouth having to turn the light on 🙂

  12. Dry clothes outside in the sun. We live in Florida, the sunshine state,but most people use a clothing dryer. I use a portable drying rack.

  13. Good post. I blog in the dark many times- ha. And try not to turn on too many lights. Cheers!

  14. I keep the lights off most of the day until dark. It really makes no since to have them on.

  15. Hi there, Great post! My bedside lamp blew it’s bulb the other week and I haven’t replaced it yet. I’m using a beeswax candle instead and it is sooo much more relaxing! I don’t think I will bother with that new bulb after all…

    On the subject of clothes dryers. I just got rid of my tumble dryer. Edinburgh could never be described as a ‘Sunshine State’ :), but not having a dryer is working out for me, even in rainy Scotland! It is saving a small fortune on the old electricity bill!

  16. Duuhhhh…..I ride a bicycle everywhere I go, does that count?

  17. A thousand thank yous for your comments! You guys are commenting so often now, I struggle to keep up! Makes me happy. Sometimes, I get so behind, I might not answer comments. But it sure doesn’t mean I won’t be over checking out your blogs—just might take me a minute. I’ve found this is the quickest way to answer everyone. Thank you a thosand times for your patience and for hanging in here with me! Just scan through to find your user name. And again—THANKS SO MUCH for taking out the time to read and comment. You are all so encouraging to me!!

    @juwannadoright—that’s excellent. I’ve heard of those convections ovens before. Good to hear they save so much energy. And solarizing the house cost that much? WOW. That’s as much as a new house. My mom said the same thing.

    @Nadine—no, I can’t be seen! lol! You’re so caring. Seems saving money and saving the environment goes hand in hand, doesn’t it? You’d think everyone would jump on board in this economy…

    @Jesusknowsmyname—My mom used to wake us and have candles in the bathroom. She still does this. Seems like common sense, but you wouldn’t believe the friends I go to visit who have every light on in the house. I go around flipping them off, thinking, “They’ll never invite me over again.”

    @lightlycrunchy— Your lifestyle you’ll be passing on to your little ones is immeasurable in value! Good job! We don’t have use rates where we live. Hopefully soon, everyone will. You’re in Maine, right?

    @ Anne—the ocean breeze does help. But so do those ceiling fans. That’s so fantastic, woman!

    @ Nors—sounds like you save bundles in the summer, but then spend in the winter. Maybe it evens out a bit?

    @Stephen—your lifestyle sounds like our dream. The solar panels and wind generator, and making your own candles. If the world shut down tomorrow, you’d be fine! 🙂 It also gives me great hope when I hear much of the world isn’t as wasteful as we are. That’s a much smaller area to change. Unfortunately, my lifestyle is considered “extreme” to many here. But that’s what we’re out to change!

    @ Misswhiplash–ahh. You always have such good ideas!

    @Beth–that’s true. I’m going to have to scan the room and see what all is lighting up once the lights are out that might be keeping me awake. Mostly though, it tends to be my own thoughts! 😦

    @ Mom Photographer—white is the new tan made me laugh. Now evertime I brush my teeth, I think of you. I think, “What else could I be doing?” But sometimes if I concentrate too hard, I lose the toothbrush. It jumps right out! ha!

    @Claudiajustsaying—freshly dried clothes outside can’t be beat!

    @ Jody–who posts in the dark. That made me smile.

    @Findingmyworth—that’s my girl!

    @Goodbyemagpie–I love it! The beeswax candle is a fantastic fix for that burnt out bulb. And I’ve dried clothes outside many times without the sun too. Just needs a bit of wind, really.

    @Alison—girl. You beat us all with that bike!

  18. don’t worry, it happens to me all the time. sometimes I focus on doing something else and I forget I have the toothbrush in my mounth and I just sit or stand with it until I start drooling… . Most of the time from a few minutes of brushing it streches to 10 minutes. Because of that my husband makes fun of me all the time.

  19. You’re a girl after my own heart. I do many things in the dark or by the light of the window! I treat electricity like products and packaging: REDUCE first. I continue to be surprised at how little I actually “need.”

  20. Shannon—me too! LOL! 😀

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