Our Version of the Summer Olympics

This is Brian. I haven't blogged in forever because Laura has done such an incredible job of documenting our lives! She's a little behind at the moment, but I promise, a very thorough May post is coming soon with a June post to follow.

But, we have a couple of things going that I wanted to mention. The first is that some of you know we had ridiculously high December and January electricity bills. In fact, anyone within a 2-mile radius when I opened the bill knows we had ridiculously high electricity bills. It had a lot to do with the fact that Laura was staying home from work with Clara, coupled with a central A/C unit that looks to have come over on the Mayflower. Needless to say, efficiency is not its middle name.

Now that summer is rolling in on us and the mercury continues its gradual crawl up the thermometer, I have to remind myself that, yes, I am glad that I'm from and continue to live in Texas. But we must return to the issue of an A/C unit as worthless as a two-legged stool. When the days started getting hotter, we'd begin with the thermostat on 80, and when I whined long and loud enough, 78. Regardless, the A/C was running constantly.

We're looking in to getting it serviced, but for now, we've issued ourselves a challenge to reduce our electricity consumption as much as possible. Step one is to turn off the A/C completely.

The winter bills and the realization of what summer will probably bring has given us a lot to think about in terms of our energy usage. We're keeping ourselves cool with some fans and it's not as bad you'd think. When the thermostat in the house measures the temperature at 91, that sounds awful. But once you get used to it, or get a good circulation going with the fans in the house, it's completely doable.

I looked up how to read the electricity meter outside so I've been taking readings throughout the day to see how we're pacing out and each day we've found a way to reduce a little bit more. I also went back through our old electricity bills and made a graph of our KWh usage per month.

Picture 5
Really, August '07 is where the legit data begins because before that is the considerably smaller Coppell house. Even so, based on the last 5 days, we're on track to use 787 KWh in the month of June. That's a 39% reduction compared to June's Coppell bill!

Anyway, no more A/C … that's challenge #1.

Numero dos is what some have called The Pantry Challenge. The question is this: How long could our family eat from the food in our house without going to grocery store?

IMG_3332 We're allowing ourselves to buy milk and egg beaters. If we completely run out of a food group (veggies, fruit) we are allowed to replenish that food group. Other than that, everything in the pantry must be eaten before we go grocery shopping again. I'm hopeful we can make it pretty far without losing it … we'll take another picture of the pantry in a couple of weeks to see how we're doing. Anybody want to play along?

We started the Pantry Challenge and the A/C Energy Challenge on the same day, so it's kind of a fun way to get the summer kicked off!

Hope you're all doing great!

6 thoughts on “Our Version of the Summer Olympics”

  1. We’re into that pantry challenge. We’re trying to come out completely even on food–
    We’ve got six days left in Switzerland, and we are trying to use everything we can before we leave!

  2. We would play along with the pantry challenge…only we dont hardly keep any food in the house anymore…we normally stop Kroger every couple of days on our way home….I hate doing it that way, but we tried shopping for a weeks worth and then stuff would end up going bad.
    And on the AC thing…it does make a big difference in your energy bill!! Ours very rarely goes above $100 anymore (it was actually $39.55 for last month) We haven’t used our AC yet this year and didn’t use it at all last year. Open a few windows and turn on some fans and it works for us!! :)

  3. Well when you have your own tropical heat waves, it is always hot… :( I live in my own climate zone so it doesn’t matter if the AC is on or not… oh well… good luck for the rest of the summer!!!

  4. I am seriously impressed, Rheas. I have nothing to complain about anymore when it gets warmer than I prefer in our house here in Reno at about 5-7pm (when that western sun is going down.) You guys are blazing out the TX summer with no A/C – that’s amazing! But, hooray for cheap bills!! Please update us about your pantry eating … I want to hear about the creative recipes!!! :)

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