*How to Begin an Alternative Energy Plan*
By: CountryLady
29 September 2004

The best way to begin an Alternative Energy Plan is with Conservation.

Learn what you can live without, how to minimize your use, and understand your 'needs'. Become conscious of the energy requirements of your appliances and other electrical products.

For instance...
Can you use a manual can-opener rather than electric?
Can you close off rooms to conserve heat or cooling?
What temperature is your water heater set at?
How much 'juice' does it take to operate things around your house?
Can you find ways to do things that do not use electricity?

The cost for a 'solar clothes dryer' is tiny compared to the electricity hog in your utility room. Consider setting up things like this and then challenge yourself to use them often.

Have we and our families made a habit of using electrically powered entertainment? Getting back to 'entertaining ourselves' is good preparedness training, and brings the perks of doing things together. We've gotten in the habit of playing music on the radio, CD, etc, rather than MAKE music with a harmonica or recorder. We forget to include a deck of cards, a few craft items, a knife for whittling, etc. in our BOB and camping gear.

How can we conserve electricity?
One way conserve is by using nightlights in rooms we aren't sitting in. It makes it safer by eliminating the dark, AND we've been amazed at how seldom we really need to turn the light on. What doesn't get turned on, doesn't get forgotten and left on.

Other ways are...
Use a bread machine rather than the oven for loaves of bread.
Make casseroles on top of the stove in large pots rather than turning on the oven.
Use a toaster-oven for small jobs instead of the big oven.
Hang towels and linens outside.
Make sure of washing FULL size loads. Two small loads may use the same amount of water & soap, but it uses twice the electricity, and time.

A lot of times, ideas for being frugal are also energy conservation measures, so be mindful of them.

If it is a headache to conserve electricity, an 'attitude adjustment' may be needed before starting to use 'Alternative Energy'.

The more ways we can find to conserve electricity now, while continuing to live full, rich, active lives, the easier it will be to successfully use 'Alternative Energy' when we get the equipment.

'Alternative energy' can mean many different things, and is not always about having solar panels, batteries, or generators.

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