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That would be us. In the energy world. At least according to our latest and not so greatest report from our “Smart” meter. I have a hate-hate relationship with that meter. It only gives us bad news. Like this.


Basically telling me to stop making home cooked meals for us.

My peak load on electricity. Dinner time. I suppose to become an overachiever we need to hop in the car nightly and head out 20-30 miles round trip to buy a dinner at a chain restaurant that would feed a family of six in a developing country.

In other words, we don’t do as well in energy consumption as 70 of our closest “neighbors”. We ranked 71st in the latest mailing, out of 100 people around us. It does NOT include any of the local McMansions. Since they heat with natural gas, they aren’t compared to us. Only the older homes that are cursed with heat pumps.

jack camera 337

We have two of the beasts. They work well, since we can tailor the output for bedrooms versus first floor, but still they consume beaucoup energy. Particularly when you are retired and home all day. Yes, we could crank that temp high and swelter in the house, since we no longer head off to government jobs in ice boxes that are set low to keep the computers cool.

All of those energy saving suggestions are tailored to those who leave their homes every day to go to work. Not to those of us who are here when the temps hit the high nineties.

But really. How is it more energy “efficient” to not use our stove or oven. Or to get rid of the chest freezer with all our home processed fruit and vegetables in it. Should we be buying all those quick fix meals that can be nuked or heated quickly? What about all the energy waste in the packaging and the transport?

None of that is counted for those of us who cook from scratch nightly. Who don’t do the carry out or fast food or restaurant hopping that keeps our kitchens clean and spotless. That minimizes those loads in the dishwasher. That lowers that “bump” from 5-7 pm in our energy curve.

Really. I want to believe that buying local food and making it myself is better for us. But is it? How much do we really save? Honestly, I think we are doing a better job in many ways, but it certainly isn’t reflected in the reports we get monthly.

How do we measure what our real carbon footprint is? I can’t easily answer that, but it is a good question.

Something to ponder on a Monday night.

About AnnieRie

Retired, I am following my dream of living in quiet west Howard County, a rural oasis, not far from the urban chaos, but just far enough. I love to cook, bake, garden, and travel. I volunteer at Howard County Conservancy. I lead nature hikes, manage programs and show children all the wonders of nature, and the agricultural connection to their food.

6 responses »

  1. I hate these energy reports. Apparently my household is the worst consumer of energy in my complex. And we use the majority of said energy between 10 am and 12 noon. Surprise!! That’s because we wake at 10, shower and eat and then leave at noon for work. NO energy used until 11 pm when we both return home. I guess the unit underneath mine that has their A/C running constantly must have a secret.

  2. Kathryn Marshall

    It’s such a complicated issue. Thanks for your thoughts.

    Sent from my iPhone


  3. You’re healthier than the rest though!

  4. I don’t like those reports either – it’s like BGE is making it it’s business to make us all feel guilty. Which doesn’t make sense, because if we use more energy, they make more money. It’s kind of like McDonald’s pretending to want to give us healthy food, when what they REALLY want is for us to remain addicted to the junky stuff.

  5. I have not met anyone who finds those letters useful. Or, who is overachieving.

    We have done so much in the past ten years to make the house more energy efficient. New doors. Windows. Roof. Insulation in dormers. Appliances. Heat pumps. CFL lighting.

    The only way it seems for us to be better is to live somewhere else and turn everything off that we can in the house.

    Seriously, or else tear down half the house.


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