Greener living for Mac students

October 27, 2011
This article was published more than 2 years ago.
Est. Reading Time: 3 minutes

Miranda Batterink

The Silhouette


Skip the Tim’s line and brew coffee at home. Make a beeline for the rotting discount produce cart at your local grocery store. Split a pitcher, pass on personal pints.

The student life and the endless struggle to save money fit together as naturally as Halloween and candy corn. Most of us are pretty aware of the little daily differences that can go a long way to keeping some extra cash in our pockets. But when it comes to saving substantial money on the utilities bill, many of us, myself included, don’t have a clue.

The semester goes on in all its glory, but every month the hydro bill arrives, and every month a lot of my money and a little bit of my soul gets paid out to Horizons. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

A major recent government of Ontario initiative has been the implementation of the Smart Meter, which is a time-of-use electricity measuring system.

That means that electricity prices vary, depending on when you are using it. Roughly translated, electricity use on weekdays between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. will cost about 1.5 times more than during evening hours and weekends. So whenever possible, do laundry, cooking and laptop charging during these off-peak times, because every little bit adds up.

The number-one energy consumer in residential homes is central heating. In my home growing up, adjusting the thermostat was roughly the equivalent to tasering the family dog…you just didn’t do it. If you were cold, you put on a sweater. If you were still cold, you put on another sweater. If you were still cold, you were instructed to run up and down the stairs ten times.

Only then, between sweat-drenched gasps for air, were you permitted to negotiate the possibility of turning up the thermostat a few notches. True, life was hard. But it taught me some valuable lessons about energy costs that have saved me countless dollars throughout my undergraduate career. Lucky for you, I am willing to pass them on.

Computers still use energy when they are locked, sleeping, hibernating or anything but off, so if you’re leaving the room for any substantial amount of time, shut the thing down.

Opening the oven door to see how your food is coming along releases all the hot air your poor oven has worked so hard to generate. So if you must see how your cookies are mid-bake, use the oven light. Better yet, avoid this step altogether and just eat cookie dough.

Skip laundry! Hot water is the second biggest factor in household energy output. More importantly, hygiene is overrated. If a clothing article is soft viagra beginning to look particularly dirty you can always hand clean it on the new washboard abs all those flights of stairs will have helped you develop.

Turn off the TV, shut off the lights, and hunker down with a book and a tea-light for some good, 20th-century evening entertainment. November should be a month of clear night skies and predictable lunar phases, so if the flickering light of a candle isn’t quite cutting it you can always strategically place yourself where there’s a little extra moonlight.

Why take a shower when you could not take a shower? If you must, take a cold one. It may seem like seven minutes of hell on earth, but when you finish, the air outside of your bathroom will be a balmy 21-degree paradise in comparison.

With a little energy saving knowledge and some simple alterations to your hydro-consuming lifestyle, you’ll be able to slash your utilities bills in no time.

Then you can sit back in the light of the moon as it streams through your bedroom window and ponder the endless possibilities of what you can do with all this unexpected extra monthly cash.

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