If you recall, I used to write a post once a day. On Wednesdays (if I'm not mistaken) I used to write posts about being green. Who would have thought years later the subject of being green would be an encyclical? I thought I'd start a series of sorts in that same vein. Basically how you can apply the principles discussed in Laudato Si into your own home.
This week I'd thought I'd tackle energy guzzlers in your home.
55. Some countries are gradually making significant progress, developing more effective controls and working to combat corruption. People may well have a growing ecological sensitivity but it has not succeeded in changing their harmful habits of consumption which, rather than decreasing, appear to be growing all the more. A simple example is the increasing use and power of air-conditioning. The markets, which immediately benefit from sales, stimulate ever greater demand. An outsider looking at our world would be amazed at such behaviour, which at times appears self-destructive. ~ Laudato SiI live in Arizona. It would be rather inhumane to not have a place for the poor and the homeless that is cool. I'm sure the Pope is not expecting people to reside in buildings that can get upwards of 100F inside. I think he was referring more to areas that usually are much cooler in the summer months like London Ontario. We went most of the summer without air conditioning and what unit we did have was in one room only.
That said there are two types of air cooling devices in Arizona: evaporative cooling and air conditioning. Evaporative cooling works well in dryer climates and is more energy efficient, but it does use a lot of water. We originally rented our current home because it said it had both. However, once we moved in we discovered that nobody has used the evaporative cooler in years and it was dysfunctional. The maintenance people have basically said that it would have to be replaced. I doubt our land lord plans on replacing it especially since the air conditioner works.
Unfortunately the air conditioner uses a knob. This isn't very energy efficient either. Using a digital control is better. Many of them come so that you can preprogram. Our condo had a digital a/c control. We were able to set it to a higher temperature when we left for work, and then program it for a lower temperature before we returned home. We'd do the same thing at night. Digital controls are also more accurate.
In any case, try setting your temperature to a higher one. We hover somewhere above 80.
The same can be said of a heater. Although it's not mentioned in Laudato Si, one would assume that if you live in a warmer climate you would use your heater less and set it to a much lower temperature. You can also increase your heat efficiency by using heavy drapes to keep out drafts, but open them during the day to allow in more light.
Additionally not mentioned in Laudato Si is another big energy guzzler: the dryer. It doesn't matter where you live, you can forgo using a dryer or use a dryer infrequently. I realize that some areas do not allow outside laundry lines, but you don't have to have one. You can use a portable drying rack on your porch or patio or inside. You can install a line inside a basement or attic or shower. It doesn't matter if you live in an apartment or dorm. There are ways. You can simply use plastic coat hangers and hang your clothes on the shower rod inside a bathroom. The key is that you can't do all your laundry at once. It's best to make sure that you have enough space to hang up one or two loads at a time and only wash one or two loads.
For more information:
When I took the Diaper Challenge and Handwashed and dry hung diapers
My Thoughts on the Right to Dry