Powering down, part 2, and other conservation attempts

As I pulled into the parking lot at work this morning, another car pulled in right across from me.  Both of us got out and did the same thing – put on jackets to prepare ourselves for entering a very cold building.  I do this every day, but I’d never seen someone else do it at the same time.  It was kind of funny.

Our administration has requested us to save electricity and water where we can, since the school’s power and water bills are going up.  The two specific requests were to turn off our office lights when we leave and turn off our computers and monitors at the end of the day.  I’ve always turned off my computer, and I never turn on my office lights.  Three of my office walls are glass (it’s like working in a department store display) and there’s so much light coming in from the hallway and group study area that I don’t need light in the office.

What I do need, unfortunately, is a space heater.  If the school is so concerned about saving electricity, it looks like they could figure out a way to make this building in general, and my office in particular, warmer.  The A/C in my office runs all the time.  I’ve gotten used to the noise.  We put a big piece of fiberboard up there to block the breeze, but it’s still noisy.  When I first relocated to this office I called the maintenance dept. about it, and they basically said there was nothing they could do.  We don’t have control over our own thermostats; it’s all controlled centrally from maintenance.  You would think they could turn everyone up one or two degrees without too much complaint.

So far, on the home front, we’re tolerating 79 degrees just fine.  I can tell the difference, but it is very slight, and the A/C is definitely running less.  I haven’t decided yet whether I’m going to try for 80 degrees.  I’ll probably try, but if it’s too uncomfortable it’ll have to come back down.  The worst time for me being hot is in the morning when I’m getting dressed.  The A/C has been running less during the night, it’s not hot enough outside yet to make it run, and I’m sweating in spite of having taken a lukewarm shower.  Some days are worse than others.  On those days, I have to run the A/C in the car on the way to work or I’ll arrive in a sweaty mess.  Sometimes, though, if I’m not overheated, I can do without the car A/C.  I always turn off the A/C on the way home; I don’t care if I arrive at home in a sweaty mess.

I’ve switched from sodas to tea to drink in the morning.  I’m making sun tea at home and pouring it into a leftover Diet Pepsi bottle.  I’m done with NutraSweet completely, and I have 3 more cans of Coke Classic in the fridge (saving that for the weekend) and then I’m done with those too.  If I get a craving for soda, which I will, I’ll get one out of the fountain in our cafeteria.

My compost is really smelling compost-y.  It gives me reassurance that good things are happening in there.  It’s definitely settling; I’ve got room for another load of lawn clippings the next time I mow (mixed in with shredded paper so it won’t be too wet).  It looks as if we’re heading into a dry spell, weather-wise.  It rained a little today but otherwise it’s been dry for 5 days.  Hurricane Bertha has begun a turn to the north, so we probably won’t get anything but big waves from her, fortunately.  And the weather persons are saying that the chance of rain for the rest of the week is very low.  Just five days without significant rain, and the St. Augustine grass is already getting crunchy-looking.  Some friends in the neighborhood have installed zoysia grass in their yard; I’ll be interested to see how that turns out.

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