· Media > Published Articles > North Country News > Energy Conservation


"Turning off the Power" by Beth Weick, as published in North Country News, April 2012

Our energy use – in terms of electric kilowatts - is rising. While our solar panels do generate power thanks to sunny days, we're also drawing power from the grid. Each month I monitor the kilowatt hours used from both sources as a mechanism to understand our seasonal trends and energy dependencies here at D Acres. And this past month surprised me just a bit.

We could pat ourselves on the back and say that, nevertheless, the many residents of D Acres are only using the output typical of an average family. And, yes, there are a myriad of seasonal explanations that make the month of March energy intensive: numerous grow lights, for one example. But both those statements are false comfort. We want to be proactive models.

Consequently, the numbers have sparked personal examination. What are our own habits? Our preferred conveniences? Our energy addictions? And, how do our personal choices intersect with group uses? Ultimately, the quantity of power used or not used here at D Acres is a reflection of our collective body. No one of us can stand apart.

What are we doing about it? For one, our response is that of renewed vigilance. Turning off appliances such as printers and computers when not in use, leaving no lights on if a room is exited, transitioning young plants to greenhouse space as quick as possible. These details reflect our habits; being present for our own reflexive actions is simple to write and more challenging to enact. Conscientiousness is an ongoing process.

In regards to the larger picture of organizational energy uses, our discussions are considering the following energy saving strategies: computer free days? No power during daylight hours? Blackout days?

So here we go. This coming Sunday will be our first "power down" day. With a generator ready to provide water if needed for guests or visitors, we will turn the power off for the daylight hours. No lights, no computers, no shop tools. In what terms will we consider our experience? As an adventure? A burden? An inconvenience? Can we create new habits for ourselves?

This is a modest beginning. With refreshed motivation and each other for continued inspiration, we aspire to restructure our schedules and our expectations. No doubt it will be a process of adaptation, and of evolution – but are these ideas not synonymous with daily revolution? And so we embark on the transformation of our daily minutiae.

Bethann Weick lives and works at D Acres Permaculture Farm & Education Center, a non-profit education organization. She first came to the farm in April 2008 and now focuses her work on gardening, animal husbandry, and writing. Check out her recent articles published in Small Farmer's Journal and Permaculture Activist. Learn more about the programs at D Acres by visiting www.dacres.org.

upcoming events Upcoming Events
Social Networking D Acres of NH Blog D Acres of NH Facebook Page D Acres of NH Vimeo
GoodSearch: You Search...We Give!