Q. I have a small question: how did you go about unplugging yourself from electricity? How long did it take to find alternatives?
A. As you can see from our ENERGY CHART (PDF) we cut our energy usage in 1/2 to an average 6.5 kwh (from the City of Pasadena site a “normal” Pasadena family uses 25 kwh a day)
The most noticeable electricity drop came when we replaced our second hand, thrift store purchased refrigerator with an Energy Star model (which was rebated by the City of Pasadena). After which we then replaced our nearly 30 year old, second hand Maytag washing machine with a Energy Star rated and water efficient model (also rebated by the City of Pasadena). We also have Energy Star rated TV, computers, VHS & DVD player. If we have to buy an appliance or techno gizmo we make sure it has an Energy Star rating. I would say all these changes took place over a 2-3 year period as we went on a mission to kill-watts, of course, Pasadena’s rebate helped out considerably otherwise it would have taken us longer to make the switch.
As for the urban homestead kitchen I like to say that it’s virtually “Unplugged” The only plug in appliance we have is the fridge. That’s it! In the laundry room you’ll notice a dryer is absent next to its washing partner. Instead, everything is sun/air dried.
Since the ‘office’ is adjacent to the living room where most of the electronics are, we’ve eliminated phantom loads in the office by installing surge protectors. We’ve also installed CFL bulbs about 10 or 12 years ago in light fixtures and are religious about turning off lights when we leave the room. We also opt for natural light, even in evenings. This blackout WWII-like rationing mode of conservation is our attempt to reduce and conserve our electricity use even though it comes from a green source (12 solar panels on the south facing garage roof — also rebated by the City of Pasadena).