Wednesday, April 7, 2010

One Green Thing: Candlelight

Earth Hour inspired us to shut off the lights and live by candlelight for the month of April. The verdict is still out about how much cheaper or better for the environment this may be than compact florescent light bulbs, but Jason will be posting a full analysis at the end of the month.

We long ago switched to compact florescent light bulbs to conserve energy, but we still flipped the switch and left lights on far more often than needed. I always try to turn off lights after I leave the room, but sometimes we forget. Flipping that switch became such a habit that we often had lights on in the middle of the day! There is no reason at all for that. To avoid temptation, and believe me it abounds, we put taped over all the light switches. I am hoping this experiment will help us realize just how little artificial light we need on any given day and help us adjust to do more things during daylight hours.

How has this changed my lifestyle so far:
  • We open windows and blinds more often to let in natural light; this further reduces our cost and impact on the environment because we need to light less candles.
  • I get more done when I get home from work, such as preparing my lunch or packing workout clothes for the next day, because I want to get it done before losing daylight. 
  • I'm finally getting to use all the candles and holders I bought when I was a Partylite consultant.
  • The apartment smells great from all my Partylite candles :)
  • My eyes are adjusting to seeing better in low light; it's amazing how the smallest amount of light can light up a whole room -- unless you are looking for something tiny =P
  • It's easier to go to bed early when it's pitch black.
  • We spend more time in the living room because the fish tank and projector provide extra light lol
This is the perfect time for this experiment because days are longer and the sun doesn't set until almost 8 p.m. The light on the fish tank in the living room used to turn off at 9 p.m., so that gave us extra time with light, but Jason switched it to shut off at 7 p.m. to make things more realistic when the apartment goes dark after the sun goes down.

So far this has been a pleasant experience, and we are enjoying the gentle glow and aroma of candles. However, a few things are proving a bit difficult, such as shaving and looking for clothes in my closet. My closet has no windows so it's always the darkest room, and I fear bringing candles in there and setting my clothes on fire =P I do have an enclosed candle lantern that I can bring in there, but it's still not enough light. I've managed, especially if pick out clothes the day before,  but I'll be glad when I can turn on that light again :)

I doubt we'll continue living by candlelight alone past April, but I hope this will help us make better use natural light and limit when and how often we use artificial light (including light bulbs and candles). Maybe we'll leave most of the light switches taped, but I think the one in the closet and the bathroom may need to come off.

For more information: Top Green Lighting Tips from Planet Green

1 comment:

The Green Girl said...

When I did this last year, I didn't realize you could use candles. Call me a dork but I was sitting in the dark.

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