September 19, 2011
Saving on Utilities
My darling husband, Benni, is a utility hog. He leaves the lights on in the bathroom, the TV on in the living room, and the gas on under the coffeepot. Since we both work at home, this means that I spend my day turning off, switching off and clicking off. I’ve asked hubby many times why he wants to waste energy and money this way, and his lucid explanation is “Leave me alone.”
I read somewhere that the single most important thing we can do to slow global warming is to reduce our electricity use. When the earth explodes in a ball of fire, I will at least have the satisfaction of blaming my husband.
DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS
I also conserve water by not flushing the toilet every time I use it, I just lower the lid. During a drought in New York City, the mantra was “If it’s yellow, be mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down.” I think that’s a good system to follow here in water-deprived Los Angeles.
My friend Tony installed something called a pedal valve at his kitchen sink. He presses on a pump with his foot, so that the water only runs when he needs it. These greeny things are expensive at first, but the savings accumulate.
Even when they’re not in use, your appliances are still drawing electricity. Some noble souls unplug every machine that’s idle, but I’m much too lazy to keep bending down all day, plugging and unplugging. Oh well, Nobody’s perfect.
THE OLD COUNTRY
The Europeans also have toilets with two different flush buttons: press one for number one, press two for number two (and press zero for an operator). What a great idea: so simple, so logical - why didn’t we think of that?
Not everything those foreigners do makes sense, though: like the bidet. This has got to be the dumbest invention ever (along with the mini-vac). In a bathroom that’s usually so tiny that the shower is on a cord in the tub, why waste space and water on a fixture whose function is easily accomplished by a washcloth?
And the Brits are a little too thrifty for my taste when it comes to central heating. The indoor temperature in England in September is the same as the outdoor temperature in Maine in December. This is even true in ritzy hotels like the Savoy – where I had to wear fleece-lined boots at night to go to the bathroom. We were being charged a king’s ransom for two nights in the River Suite (someone else was paying) and I had to beg for a space heater.