I usually take an extremely early PATH train out of the World Trade Center to my office in New Jersey. It is usually cold, and always dark.
I love winter to death, and have spent several New Year's up in Northern Minnesota (where I think that the term "cabin fever" may have been coined). But I hate being cold.
Since it is January 5th, I left for the office this morning dressed like the Michelin man. It was quite jarring to sit down on the steamy hot train and see one of my fellow riders travelling sans coat. She was merely wearing a sweater over her office clothing.
Not an Icelandic wool sweater, but a springweight cotton cableknit sweater. If I would have squinted, I might have mistaken her for one of my classmates at my all-girls high school.
I was in awe of her ability to fearlessly touch reality. It was 57 degrees Fahrenheit, and we hadn't hit dawn yet. There was no need to wear a winter coat.
I like to start thinking about my resolutions after the New Year, and then ruminate on them until, say, the Tibetan New Year. (If I miss that one, I can always start over again at Rosh Hashanah.)
This year, though, I have made a start. In late December, I logged onto to Con Ed to switch to green power. When I first looked at this earlier tin the year, I was daunted: the choices weren't transparent, pricing was pretty difficult to figure. I could only know that it would cost more.
After I ran off shrieking and unable to choose, I asked a friend who is involved with the NRDC which choice her family had made: she chose Con Ed Solutions.
While online in December, I looked at my usage history.
Most of you probably know that many appliances suck energy regardless of whether they are on. Anything with a constant LED display (TV, VCR, microwave); your computer and printer; phone chargers; anything that is warm to the touch when plugged in.
In June, I put a lot of these appliances on power strips and made a point of shutting off the power when I was out of the house and last thing at night. I also switched some frequently used lights to compact fluorescent bulbs.
November is the month it gets dark, and cold. Historically, it is one of my highest energy use months.
I used 23% less electricity in 2006 than I did in 2005. I thought, I may have saved enough to pay for any difficult to determine cost increase for switching to green energy. (Now, Conscious Business is "virtual"...business rates are far higher than residential rates, even for small businesses. So I don't know what the metrics are when businesses choose green power.)
Smugly I thought to myself, look at what I've done by doing so little.
Today, I received my December bill. It is 34% lower than my 2005 bill.
I immediately went out and purchased a nicer bottle of organic wine than I'd usually buy for casual sipping. After all, I've saved a bit more than $50 in the last 2 months, just by my own ingenuity and protestant frugality.
Um, wrong. I think the mercury hit 65 degrees today in NYC.
Get on the bus.