Originally published on Global Warming: Man or Myth
by Scott Mandia
My LIPA balanced billing invoices from February 2008 and February 2010 appear below:
I am currently saving $39 per month (21%) on my Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) bill because of a few simple “green” actions on my part two years ago:
- Changed all of my light bulbs to CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lamp)
- Turned down the oil burner thermostat
- Changed the line-powered sidewalk lights to solar
- Insulated all my copper piping
Here is the cost breakdown for each of these actions:
CFL bulbs cost me (in 2008) $148. I purchased 10 traditional “spiral” bulbs at Wal-Mart for $4 each. These were for the standing lamps and traditional lighting in the house. For the candelabras in the bathrooms and the ceiling fan lights, I needed to go online for custom bulbs because having little spirals looked tacky. I bought 14 of these bulbs at 1000bulbs.com for $7 each + $10 total S/H. These bulbs have the spiral shape covered by flame-shaped glass so they are attractive and hide the spiral.
The default setting on oil burners is 180/160 degrees F. Who needs it that hot? I turned it down to 150/130 degrees F which is still plenty hot enough for the DW and shower. The only drawback to this lower setting is that my baseboard heat isn’t as hot and on the really cold days the house does take a little longer to warm up. Those few days are worth it. I am saving oil and electricity because the burner runs much less often.
Replacing my sidewalk line-powered lighting cost $40 at Wal-Mart. These lights just stick into the ground and they are charged during the day because they have solar collectors on their tops. They are not as bright as the electric lights, but they illuminate the walkway well enough. I haven’t lost any of my guests yet!
I wrapped all of my copper piping with foam tube insulation that one can get at any hardware store. This cost me $30. I noticed the heat saving the next day. My washroom is just above the oil burner and that room used to get quite warm. After the pipes were insulated, that room was much cooler which meant that heat was staying in my hot water pipes instead of being vented into the environment. The oil burner room used to feel as if I were walking into an oven and it is noticeably cooler now.
The total spent for these four green changes in 2008 was $218. Because I am saving $39 per month, the initial cost was recovered in six months!
Now that CFL bulbs are cheaper the savings would come much more quickly. I can get the spiral bulbs for $2 each now and the candelabras are now only $4 each. That knocks $75 off the cost of these same bulbs in 2008.
Some other simple green actions that my wife and I do that reduce our carbon footprint and save us $$$:
- Hang clothes out to dry so the drier isn’t running much. (Just ask your neighbors if they mind.) BTW, the clothes smell great this way.
- Programmable thermostats. I have three zones and program each zone to turn down when not in use. During the day when nobody is upstairs, why run the heat there? At night, when we are all upstairs sleeping, why heat the 1st floor and basement play room?
- Turn off lights when not in use.
- Run ceiling fans instead of A/C when it isn’t too oppressive.
- Cook on the grill almost every night. Propane is much cheaper than running that range or oven every night.
I would love to hear how you have saved $$$ going green. Please comment.