The Big Switch Off

By Lucia

What?

On 1st January 2021 we’re turning off all the switches in our house.

Why?

It struck me last month that we take electricity massively for granted. Just as I discussed in my Gratitude post in relation to our water supply, we often don’t notice how much we’re using things until they’re taken away from us. We currently rent and are looking forward to having more control of how eco-friendly our house is when we buy later this year, but as I’ve learnt with our low-waste journey, reducing is always the best place to start. Even eco alternatives produce waste and pollution, so the less we use the better.

I’ve also been inspired by the likes of Matt D’Avella and The Minimalists who often deprive themselves of certain things for a time to then add them back in intentionally.

As well as trying to use electricity more mindfully, it’ll also be interesting to see if we save any money this month. This is one case where money saved will definitely be a good indicator of how much we’ve cut down.

As the well-known saying goes, you can’t manage what you don’t measure!

How?

We’ve listed all energy outlets in each room of our flat and will start the New Year with everything off save for a few exceptions: namely our fridge-freezer and the doorbell. As and when we need to use things, we’ll turn on the switches and then turn them off again once we’re done.

We did a mini dry-run with our lights in the summer, as I’ve always loved the romantic idea of getting up with the sun and going to bed when it gets dark. After all, isn’t this how our ancestors would have lived? It was brilliant in the summer, as there were many hours of daylight to play with, but living with no lights on might be a bit trickier at this time of year!

I’ll be keeping track of the things we’re doing differently below and updating you on anything we learn along the way!

Who’s up for joining us?

Week 1 Update

Isn’t it ironic that this is the month my neighbours have chosen to leave their kitchen light on 24/7 despite hardly ever being in there?? It has annoyed me slightly, but makes what we’re doing seem even more important. It has also saved me turning on the bathroom light a few times as their light illuminates our rooms too!

A few things we’ve tried this week to help reduce our electricity usage:

  • Using phones less so they need charging less frequently;
  • Only turning lights on if absolutely necessary (it’s amazing how well you can find your way around your own house in the dark!);
  • Planning ahead with defrosting to reduce microwave usage;
  • Turning on the oven switch only when required;
  • Switching plugs off at night.

What we’ve noticed:

  • I love knowing what the time is! My Dad collects clocks, so I grew up being able to see one no matter where I was in the house. But I’ve put my clock radio away, the oven clock is hardly ever on and with my phone in power saving mode I don’t even have my usual clock face screen saver.
  • I hadn’t quite realised how much computer work we do. Out of necessity, it currently sprawls out to take up most of the day (think online instrumental lessons for 4 schools plus private students, added to website editing and theusual email admin), but I’d like to see if we can reduce the time the router is on outside of compulsory work hours in the following weeks.
  • IT’S HARD. Modern life is a plugged in life and once you’ve had to turn something on once it’s difficult to remember to switch it off again.

So whilst there have been a few sacrifices I’m not sure we’ll stick to, we’ve both found little moments of peace and quiet a Godsend. I finally finished reading my second-hand copy of Howard’s End this week rather than filling up any spare time with Facebook to drain my phone battery!

Pop back next week to see what else we’ve learnt!

Gratitude
PFJ 2020
Why
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