Well, after getting a second Home Energy Report in the mail the other day, we are convinced of two things:
1. Our neighbors must sit around in dark houses surrounded by dirty clothes and dishes.
2. Our family is absolutely clueless when it comes to saving energy.
It is unclear how many households have been selected to participate in this program but, for those of you who haven't seen a Home Energy Report, it compares one's consumption of electricity to other people in a neighborhood.
There are three easy-to-read bars: Green - Efficient Neighbors; Gray - All Neighbors; Blue - YOU.
The last is actually printed in all caps as if accusing YOU of being a wastrel. In our case, the accusation is apparently true.
In our letter, the Green Bar was about one-and-a-half inches long; the Gray Bar was about two-and-a-half inches long; and the Blue Bar was 26 feet, three inches long. No, actually, it was only about three inches but, boy, it sure looked long.
The accompanying narrative said we used 22 percent MORE (again, all caps) electricity than our neighbors. The colorful bars showed that we used over double what our Efficient Neighbors used.
Who are these efficient people? For the record, our air conditioner was used about four days last year. And, it has not been on - at all - during the two periods we have received reports for. We always wait for the dishwasher to be full before running it, we never do half loads of laundry. Like many readers have suggested, we spend most of the time in the dark.
As for Quick Fixes for saving electricity suggested in the report, we have a couple of questions:
Do people actually unplug a TV when not watching it? Kneeling to pull the plug several times a day would result in a severe uptick in ice cube generation to soothe those aching joints, thus driving up the electricity used by the refrigerator.
Do shorter showers save energy if you have a solar hot water heater? And how do you explain to co-workers that a little bit of yesterday's smell is the price of energy efficiency?
* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.