What does a Garden Gnome do when she is not gardening, in the kitchen or doing genealogy? Well the answer might just surprise you so read the entries to find out more. This blog focuses on everything we do to make our house a home. There will be a strong emphasis on home energy efficiency and do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. At the same time there will also be crafts, knitting and crocheting projects along with any other little tips we do to create that down to earth, I want to be here home. Please enjoy your visit :)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Let's Talk About the Logistics of Saving Electricity

Energy conservation is on everyone's minds with the rising costs of electricity.  In Ontario we have the new TOU pricing combined with an addition 8% tax due to the HST.  Despite energy conservation and paring down electricity usage as well as switching higher energy using appliances to off-peak hours, many Ontarians are seeing an increase on their electric bills.  The bottom line is no amount of energy conservation can compensate for the increased rates and new tax.  The media is even referring to this period as Ontario's dark days or dark ages as more simply refuse to use any more electricity than needed at home.

Many take electricity for granted but it's only been around since the late 18th century and it was slow to spread from urban to rural communities.  There are still many areas in Canada where electricity is not easily available and if it is quite costly to set up.  So while many in densely populated areas are used to flicking that switch those of us who have had experienced with more remote areas know that hydro from the grid cannot be take for granted.

In the 18th century and early 19th century electricity was still a novelty.  Sure there were the gas lanterns, coal oil lights and candles but even then folks knew enough to conserve their light source.  They went to bed earlier and got up at the crack of dawn basically working with the natural daylight hours.  Every room in the house wasn't lit and they weren't constantly bombarded with televisions, electronics and other electricity sucking devices. 

From a logistical point, going without hydro is quite doable.  All across North America folks are taking the initiative to move off the grid and become self sufficient.  The Amish and Mennonites in Ontario manage to live quite nicely without using electricity at all.  Many Ontarians have unplugged their televisions and media out of personal choice.    We camped with full amenities in a self-contained unit that included a refrigerator with freezer (run on propane), shower, running water, heat, cooking facilities and lighting for a number of years.  We could get 11 days of comfortable living while practicing energy conservation off our batteries but that increased when we added solar back-up.  Solar has been used for years in cottage country so going totally solar for normal home use is also feasible.  My husband's aunt and uncle were 100% solar so they were off the grid entirely yet they had all the amenities including internet, television and all major appliances.  Solar allows us to move forward in the 20th century without remaining slaves to Hydro One or other electricity providers.  What is quite interesting though with moving to solar there are Wi-Fi hotspots and wireless connections so you can still have internet and even television via internet as well.   It's not as if we have to regress to the 18th century to be able to do what we need and want to do in the 20th century.

The alternative is moving back into the dark ages, going to bed when it is dark and getting up at dawn.  If we continue to follow Dalton McGuinty's government and Hydro One we will be moving back to the dark ages.  It is time to take action and move towards solar as well as any alternative methods of heating and cooling.   It is time to send a strong message to the Ontario government and Hydro One to say enough is enough, we can get what we want without you!

Garden Gnome