Permaculture-Inspired Urban Homestead / Eco B&B
Energy Conservation Tips
- use compact florescent light bulbs
- use area rugs on cold floors
- use window shades for passive solar heating/cooling
- add extra blankets or clothing layers for warmth
- reduce use of electricity during peak hours
- consider a home energy audit
- install low-flower showerheads
- use Energy Star appliances
- turn off computer monitor when not using
- dry laundry on an outdoor clothesline
- install a programmable thermostat
- insulate your windows and doors
Here in North America just over 5% of the world’s population consumes 25% of its energy. North Americans also use almost twice the electricity that the average European does. Overall, on the global scale of consumption, we use an extravagant amount of energy and tend to take it for granted. It’s time to re-evaluate our energy consumption patterns. We may be at or near "peak oil" and need to reduce our dependence on non-renewable sources of energy (oil, as well as coal and natural gas) that are not only main contributors to global warming and pollution but may not be readily available for much longer.
At Little City Farm we are constantly looking at ways to reduce our energy consumption. We are pleased that we now power our home with 100% green energy from Bullfrog Power, a Canadian renewable energy provider! In Ontario, Bullfrog uses a mix of 20% wind power, and 80% certified low-impact hydro, whereas the regular system mix uses only 1% wind, 2 % low-impact hydro, and 39% nuclear, 37% coal, oil, and gas, and 21% other hydro.
We have by no means completely given up our computer, car usage, or food processor. We have not found all the answers, but we are making small steps toward being more globally responsible in terms of the energy choices we do make.
We are happy to see that increasingly "eco" also means compact, efficient, or "less". We have intentionally chosen to live in a small house, and offer this cozy space to the guests who stay at our Bed & Breakfast. Our smaller house and super-insulated strawbale house addition (living room and bedroom), which also gains passive solar heat in winter and shade cooling from large trees near the house in summer, reduces our need for energy intensive heating or cooling. We have also retrofitted our century home to add more insulation, energy efficient windows and doors, and weather-stripping for winter months. Having a home energy assessment done by our local REEP (Residential Energy Efficiency Program) gave us more ideas on where to improve our home’s energy consumption.
We have limited basic appliances and electronics, opting for energy-efficient and hand-powered tools whenever possible, and an outdoor clothesline instead of a dryer. We cycle and walk to most errands, and intentionally do not own a car. Any vehicle usage we do need, we can meet through our membership in a local car sharing organization. We use compact florescent light bulbs throughout the entire house (which are 75% more efficient and last 8-10 times longer than regular bulbs), and try to be mindful of turning off excess lights, unplugging appliances, and powering down an idling computer or screen.
In general, we strive for a simple life, which means buying used rather than new, making things by hand, and re-evaluating what our "needs" really are. We are part of a local barter system, which allows us to trade for goods and services, helping to keep the barter currency circulating within our community. We aim to find ways to reduce, reuse, reinvent, recycle, refurbish, restore, revive, reinspire...
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LITTLE CITY FARM
508 Duke Street West, Kitchener, ON, N2H 3Y8
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Phone: (519) 575-9174