Family Energy Saving Strategy

Get the furry family members involved!

I love saving energy in my home.  My wife is a little less enthusiastic on this topic.  This difference in "energy saving passion" occasionally results in disharmony in our household.

Like the time I turned down the water heater temperature and "helped" her take a cold shower. Or the time I switched her lamp bulb to a CFL and hoped she just wouldn't notice the different light.   Or my constant lurking in and out of rooms she recently vacates so I can ensure the lights are off (with wanton disregard for the fact that she may soon re-enter the room).  Then there's the automatic light timer in our kitchen that decides to turn off all the lights when she's washing dishes.  And she really, really doesn't like it when I adjust the thermostat to save energy at the sacrifice of her comfort levels.

But I'm getting better.  Really, I am.  I've learned I'm learning to communicate (a skill that seems to help in all aspects of being married) my energy saving plans.

This topic was recently covered in a post on Energy Circle by Nancy Baron titled Mars & Venus: Alternative Energy Saving Strategies of a Vermont Couple. In the opening of her blog post, Nancy describes some of the issues she and her husband faces:

Those who know us would not be surprised that friction arose even over this common efficiency goal. In this case, it came down to approaches. Bob is into technology investments and I generally go for the low-cost/no-cost solutions. A good example of this was the choice of energy projects we decided to tackle last spring. Bob had been researching the relevant payback of technologies, including pv's, geothermal and solar hot water. After analyzing the available products and our solar exposure, Bob selected a new solar hot water system for the house. I would rather find places to cut before making a large capital investment.

Nancy goes on to describe some of the energy saving methods her and her husband work together on:

  • Installing  a TED
  • Removed lighting in the kitchen that wasn't necessary
  • Rewired some lighting in the living room to make it easier to use only the lights they need
  • Had an energy audit
  • Installed a solar hot water heater
  • and more!

Whether you live with your wife, family, roommate, or just yourself, it is important to communicate your energy saving goals with others who live with you.

Follow these steps below to help you and your fellow dwellers stay on track to save energy, save money, and help our environment:

Steps needed to save energy while living in harmony with others:

  1. Come up with the energy saving plan
  2. Communicate that plan to others in your home
  3. Re-work the plan based on any input others in your home gave you (or your wife told you that you had to do)
  4. Put the plan into action
  5. Review the savings with others in the house to reinforce good habits (you may even want to pass along some of these savings to help those less-enthusiastic participants)
  6. Repeat

Getting others on board with your energy saving plan will make it more fun while having a greater impact.

I'm sure my wife is wondering how she can use this strategy to get me to help more with cleaning the bathrooms....

enjoyed our post? let others know: 


We have a living room table lamp at our house that I call my wife's "pilot light" because if she is home that light is on. It doesn't matter where in the house she is, the living room pilot light is always on. And, it has to have a special bulb that shows colors the way she likes them. No CFLs or LEDs allowed.
I learned many years ago that the WAF(wife acceptance factor) was just as important as the payback when considering energy efficiency investments.
Hi, I am from Japan, Kyoto I think it will work just little bit more hard if I should "Re-work the plan based on any input others in your home gave you (or your wife told you that you had to do)" because it needs extra cost, extra communication to other my family member, etc. But overall not bad to try your advice for 6 points about how to save energy while living in harmony with others according above your article, thank you Man.
I enjoyed this post, and appreciate you crediting Energy Circle for the inspiration. Another way to engage some of your smaller roommates is via our Moolah Maker program. Make a deal with your kids to split the difference on savings on future power bills. You'll see collaboration quickly. You could also offer the savings to your wife for a spa treatment!

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