Monday, December 12, 2011

Light Up the Night (+ Giveaway!!!)

  
For some, the months of winter are dreaded days. The trifecta of cold, wet weather, minimal daylight hours, and time spent indoors renders them cranky and dispirited. For me, though, this is a glorious time of year.

A perennial homebody, I can contentedly go for days at a stretch without leaving the property. In fact, I just did this very thing, sticking around chez English this past Tuesday through Sunday (although, admittedly, the stomach flu played a vital hand in that situation). As a stay-at-home writing living in the country, and now a full-time mom (Huxley has yet to be babysat, and we're in no great rush to change that), it's easy to pass the days around the house without feeling the need to make the trek into town. Writing, baking, cooking, playing, and exploring outdoors characterize our days, while the light from the wood stove, Christmas tree, and candles light up our nights.

I'm also a huge fan of well-placed lighting, and proper indoor lighting come winter is, I believe, essential to making it through the season with your sanity intact. We use CFL bulbs in every lamp in our home. The soft glow they produce is warm and inviting, perfect for nights sequestered indoors when the ground is covered in snow and the streets are slick with ice. Compared to incandescent light bulbs, CFL's use considerably less energy (up to 75%) and have a much longer lifespan (up to 10x's). They do, though, contain trace bits of mercury and must be disposed of in an environmentally responsible manner. That's become increasingly easier to do these days, with large retailers such as Home Depot and Lowes offering CFL recycling stations in their stores.

Which all brings me to today's giveaway. Hubs was picking up some homesteaderly provisions at Lowe's a few weeks ago (probably wood for the recycling station he just built-post forthcoming) and found an incredible deal being offered. The home building retailer recently partnered with Progress Energy for a home energy efficiency initiative and was selling packages of CFL bulbs for way, way less than they're regularly priced. He stocked up on boxes of them, with a few to present as a giveaway. And, so, today's small measure giveaway is for a whole mess of bulbs, so that you too can save energy while lighting up the darkest time of the year.

The CFL package I'll be giving away includes:
1) Two packages of six 18W (incandescent 75W) bulbs, for a total of 12
2) One package of six 23W (incandescent 100W) bulbs
3) One monster package of eighteen 13W (incandescent 60W) bulbs
This totals 36 bulbs. That's a lot of energy efficient lighting, folks! CFL bulbs will easily fit into any lamp or light socket that accepts standard incandescent bulbs, for those that might be less familiar with them.

To enter, simply leave a comment telling me any small steps you've made towards being more energy efficient. One we employ during the colder months is the use of heavy curtains at night over several older windows downstairs. We replaced a lot of windows prior to Huxley's birth, to maximize the heat potential of the wood stove during cold weather, but left 4 old, sash-style windows, as we hope to eventually do some remodeling in those rooms. Until that day comes, we use the heavy curtains, drawing them shut once the sun sets.

Please leave a means of reaching you in your comment, either via a link to your own blog or website or include your email address. I'll run the giveaway for one week, ending next Monday, December 19th at midnight EST. Canadians, feel free to give it a go.

Until then, please know that, cheesy though it may sound, YOU truly light up my life. I love the community blogging creates and I can't thank you enough for taking the time to stop by here and check out my ramblings, musings, and spiels. You're amazing.

Now, get to commenting and, again, may the odds be ever in your favor ;^)

UPDATE:  The winner of the giveaway, chosen by the Random Widget, is Martha, number #52. Thank you so very much to everyone that entered. Look for lots of great giveaways coming up in the next few weeks!

54 comments:

Anna said...

I am also pretty content to stay close to home this time of year. I use power strips (I can't think of the more technical term for these) to plug appliances into so that I can easily turn them off when they are not in use. This keeps them from drawing power when they are not actually in use. I need to do something about a drafty window very soon!

Yasmin said...

I'm fortunate to live on the top floor in my apartment complex and live off of the warmth of my neighbors. My apartment tends to stay on the warm side so the heater only kicks in at night. That being said, I do try to minimize my energy use by only running the dishwasher and washer/dryer when I absolutely need to (I'm in no hurry to ever use either one)!

unsightly said...

We invested in super warm comforters so we can keep the heat at 58 degrees overnight to help conserve energy.

Michelle said...

We try to turn off lights and appliances when not in use. Hang dry what we can, especially cloth diapers. Clothes curtains when it gets dark, open certain curtains for the sunlight. Use cold water to wash clothes. Keep the thermostat as low as possible (with a one year old I hate it to get too cold though). I really wish I could replace my 90 year old windows though!

Eyreka said...

Our town FINALLY got recycling, so that is our latest endevor

Sherrie said...

Line drying clothes is my favourite. A beautiful, wonderful-smelling way to save energy? Yes, please!

jen said...

we keep the heat low and bundle up with sweaters and blankets. we're also doing bigger things - replacing windows, adding insulation, energy efficient appliances.
we would love these lightbulbs - just about to add lights to the basement and bathrooms. :)

Green Zebra Market Garden said...

To be energy efficient, we keep our house pretty cold in the winter time. I'm also slowly converting over to CFLs. However, I have a lot of lamps that take 3-way light bulbs (50/100/150 watt bulbs) and I don't think they make a CFL replacement for those.

Barbara said...

Hanging out cloth diapers (in summer); CFLs; woodstove; newer appliances. Sleep mode on computer. Programmable thermostat, programmed low!

Hugh said...

We've turned down our thermostat, replaced some light bulbs and replaced the weather stripping on the doors.

Indio said...

I use heavy weight curtains over all of the main house doors. There is nothing like an insulated drape covering the door to reduce drafts. I also use insulated roman shades on all of the windows even though they're double pane replacement windows. I'm in the process of having a pellet stove installed which should reduce our oil usage. I'm hoping it will cut our oil dependence by half.

Fresh Eggs Farm said...

My company is the one that runs that program for Progress Energy! I actually run the same program here in Dayton, Ohio for our utility. You can find AMAZING deals on CFL's right now. Someone commented on there not being 3-way CFLs - there are now! :-) There are 3-way, dimmable options (make sure the packaging says dimmable), flood, recess can lights, different wattages and color tones of the light (soft, bright and daylight). For EACH CFL that you put in your home, to replace an incandescent, you will save an average of $30 PER BULB, over the life of the bulb! AND since lighting, on average, is 20% of your typical electric bill, that could add up to HUGE savings!!!!!!

Fresh Eggs Farm said...

Oh! Not to sound like a commercial ha ha - but I wanted to note a couple more things.
1-the mercury content...there is more mercury in a can of tuna then there is in a CFL. The amount is smaller than the period at the end of this sentence. Also, if your utility burns coal - there is automatically 6 MORE mgs of mercury emitted into the air, over the life of the bulb, compare to a CFL.
2-the average house has 40 sockets, if you replace all of them from incandescents to CFLs and each CFL saves you an average of $30 over their life, that's an average savings of $1200 over the life of those 40 bulbs!!!
Good luck to everyone entering the contest! It's really a great deal!!!!

Erica said...

We wash on cold and line dry everything. We also keep the thermostat set at 55 all the time...chilly, but nothing another layer of wool won't fix. We had only CFL's in our apartment, but since we bought our house and have so many more light fixtures than before, lots of new CFL's haven't been in the budget, so I'd say we're at about half cfl, half regular bulbs at the moment...

petoskystone said...

I use heavy curtains on my bedroom windows, while the exercise/storage room is unheated (portable heater if any are in there), thermostat is at 66, plastic is up on the second floor & dining room windows, washing/drying is done early morning or after 5 p.m., & we recycle (to the point the pick-up guys know to turn down our street without looking).
jlalexia(at)yahoo(dot)com

El Gaucho said...

We're also big into the CFLs. When an older bulb goes, it's replaced by a CFL. I realize that this isn't as efficient as replacing everything at once with a CFL, but we don't have the resources to replace all the bulbs at once.

We also try to close blinds/drapes at night to keep the cold out and open the south and west facing ones during the day to accumulate some solar heat.

Stefan, Sarah and Lukka said...

We recycle profusely (one bag of garbage for a family of 4 per week!), we keep our furnace very low (low 60s) in winter and bundle up, and we unplug just about everything when not in use. Great giveaway!
Sarah M

Michelle said...

I try to do lots to be frugal, and green which can be often one in the same. I cook from scratch, use cfl, heat with fireplace, wrap water heater, hang laundry in loft in winter, make my laundry detergent, I could go on forever! These bulbs would add to my collection and possibly put me at 100%!

Michelle
steim99@yahoo.com

The Haphazard Countryman said...

CFLs bother me, especially in the winter months. Many of them take a long time to warm up and get to full light, which is difficult when you are trying to go into a room to get something and need a quick light for a short time. I'm also afraid that most people don't recycle them properly, leaving mercury to filter down into our ground water.

The best way to go is LED. I have been replacing bulbs with LED in my house as they burn out. They do cost more, but are coming down each month in price and they last longer and use less energy than CFL.

I guess CFL is better than nothing, but LED is the way to go.

Jessie S said...

After many updates to our old house, we finally realized that the best way to increase out heating efficiency in the main part of the house is to close the door leading to our back hallway and office area. We use the back door to let them dogs in and out, but the heat to the back room (office) is inefficient, since the duct work has to wind it's way back there. We close the door between the living room and back hall, which keeps the back hall and office pretty chilly, but if we're in the office, we use an efficient radiant heater. It's amazing how much less the house furnace works (we also updated our 22 yr old gas furnace, with a heat pump electric/gas furnace a couple of years ago).

Jessie S said...

Yikes! Sorry about those typos... guess I need to preview next time :)

Christine said...

We have the dog sleep in the bed for warmth. :)

We live in a very cold locale (it's not uncommon for the lows to be in the -20s during winter), and as much I hate to admit it, our energy conservation for heat is more a necessity to keep our gas bills manageable.

I've made curtains out of quilts and wool blankets to keep the drafts down, while also using plastic on the windows. (Oddly enough, the new windows are more drafty than our 100-year old windows) We heat our garage/workshop with a wood furnace, burning deadfall from the property. We're hoping to save enough money to repair the old wood furnace in the basement, which is hooked up to the duct work -- but that's a far off dream!

Melanie J. said...

What a great giveaway! Here in FL, the issue is keeping the heat out, not in, so we've been opening the windows more FINALLY and loving the lower electric bills. Also Husby is really good about unplugging and turning off what's not being used, and I'm getting better at it too. Thanks Ashley!

Stephanie said...

I try not to use the lights until after dusk, at which point we only light the rooms that we are in. We unplug small appliances that are not being used (toaster, can opener, etc), and keep the thermostat around 68 during the winter. I'd lower it when we are gone but our dogs are hairless and they get cold! Who would have thought I'd heat the house for a dog? :) We do put them in a crate together though so they can snuggle.

Hollie said...

I feel so comfortable being at home this time of year and really have to push myself to leave if I have too. It just feels so cozy and festive inside!


Hollie27@cox.net

Frugalista Mama said...

We switched to LED Christmas lights :)

Lisa said...

This year we're keeping a "warm room" by curtaining off the doorway between the living room and the rest of the house. If things get too chilly, we can always pull the curtain aside. So far it's made a big difference in the amount of fuel we've used. BTW, my email is ldenny58@yahoo.com...just in case I win the giveaway. Lol!

Kate said...

This year, we replaced our outdoor and Christmas tree lights with LED strands to save energy and we're building interior storm windows for the original (1874) double hung windows in our Queen Anne, which should save a LOT of energy.

Grace said...

Like Christine, we use our pets as portable heaters. We don't heat the end of the house where the guest rooms are, and keep the thermostat as low as our antique dachshund will allow. She and three cats help keep it nice and toasty without using too much energy.

We are also learning to unplug all of the stuff that just drains energy when we aren't using it. It makes a difference.

Linden said...

The big recent change we have made is power strips that we shut off every night.
dorking at acsalaska.net

mad city foodie said...

we try to do our part for the environment. i would like to leave it better than when i arrived. we recycle, reuse, and thrift store shop even. our last energy sucking appliance - the fridge - was recycled this year to our college aged friend (and i love our new energy efficient one). the giveaway would be great and we would definitely put it to good use!

PurrfectPetSitting said...

I follow my husband around and shut off all the lights behind him. If it were up to him our house would be lit up 24/7!

Rebecca said...

We're in our first home in years that doesn't have a woodstove. We bought a programmable thermostat to keep the temps down when we are asleep or away. I've also pulled out some great old wool blankets for burrowing so we can keep the temps down regularly.

Kathy M said...

We installed new windows. Also, we keep the thermostat low and use heat only when necessary (we are in the South). Haven't made the switch to CFLs yet and this would be terrific. Thank you for the give-a-way.

Denise said...

The best thing we did was buy storm doors for both the front and back doors. Having extra quilts on the bed helps too!

Laura Evrard said...

I love CFLs too!

Meg said...

The first thing that comes to mind is that I've been carpooling with a colleague since last April. With an hour plus commute, that really helps me cut down on my energy usage.

greyson briere said...

We shut all the lights off in the house (day and night). During the day we use the natural sunlight to light the house. In the evening we move to the "main room", turn one lamp on, snuggle by the fire, under blankets and with each other in order to conserve energy. Use cold water to wash laundry, recycle, compost, use the same dishes throughout the day...whatever we can, when we can. This is a great giveaway! Accountability too!
much love-

Carrie said...

To save energy, we use a programable thermostat, and have slowly started lowering the temp at ngiht adn during the day. I shut curtains at night to keep the heat in, and open them during the day for light and heat. We are hoping to covert our gas burning "wood stove" back to a wood burning stove to help heat the house.

jennifer_f said...

We're changing over to CFLs as each of our current bulbs burn out. We've also switched from an electric cook stove to gas and have installed digital thermostats to automatically lower the heat during non-use times and at night.

Claire Reiner said...

We line dry our cloth dipes and wash on cold. I must say, this post has got me thinking about the many other ways we could conserve energy around the house!

Anonymous said...

We line dry our clothes year round and find that drying them on racks indoors during the winter keeps the air a bit less dry.

The house is heated very minimally (we wear layers of wool sweaters). The two boys share one lamp when doing homework. We can go all night with only one lamp on for all 4 of us...

But the best thing we do is bike everywhere for all our errands. This means that we only buy what we absolutely need (no extra chips/soda or other unnecessary and wasteful food stuffs). When it has to fit in a basket and saddlebags, you only buy the basics. This is true for everything, not just food. We use our car on average 2 or 3 times a month only.

And no need for a gym membership with all the biking. I am back down to my college weight!

Tory at AYA dot Yale dot edu

soccermom1 said...

We have weatherized doors and windows and use a infrared space heater instead of the older models
rjs682 at yahoo dot com

Tony R said...

We keep our house temp set at 58* and only use our fireplace to heat the house. We bought a woodstove insert last year and did some spray insulation in the attic and now we are able to make it till spring with just two cords of almond wood and a half cord of pine that I get from work :)

Anonymous said...

I recently bought a clothes drying rack. I love it but am still working out how to get my clothes dry without the "crispiness". Thanks for the contest opportunity! I can be reached at ericabruielly@hotmail.com.

Red Rover said...

We have been utilizing space heaters to warm up the rooms we are in rather than heating the entire house.

redrover212003@yahoo.com

Michele P. said...

first I want to wish you a Happy Holiday :) I actually work in Energy Services for a nonprofit, helping people to conserve energy in the LIHEAP fuel assistance program. I use space heaters when available, energy star appliances, insulating curtains in the colder months, and even a ceiling fan run the counter clockwise can make a difference to push the rising heat down back into the room. I also minimize washing dishes and clothes and wait until I have a full load-dishes get to air dry in the machine and I have racks set up for clothing that can air dry in front of the heating vents as well. I use low energy bulbs like the ones you are offering and try to weatherize my house to keep out the cold winds. There are many things you can do that will make a difference without costing a fortune-as many people right now are currently struggling just to pay bills daily. Thanks for the chance to win and for the neat energy awareness blog post!

micaela6955 at msn dot com

tmc480 said...

we turn off lights and appliances when not in use, use weather stripping on drafty doors and keep the heat on 68
tmc480 at yahoo dot com

ryanac32 said...

we carpool to save gas and have had our house reinsulated and weatherized for winter
ryanac32 at yahoo dot com

Anonymous said...

Carpool into "the city" for work. Bundle up the boys and go for a jog when we need a couple of things from the store. Hang dry all clothes in summer and 1/2 in winter. Turn down heater below 65* (although the spouse just keep turning it up, so I'm not sure that counts).

Carissa said...

I have learned the importance of warm socks and layers in energy conservation... We try to keep our thermostat around 60 during the day, and 52 at night. Brr!

Anonymous said...

I have found that I "need" a lot less climate controlled environment than we are "supposed" to. Most of the year, my AC and heater are firmly placed in the off position. The only problem is getting visitors on board...:)
Martha
mfm22@juno.com

Sarah said...

We crawled under our cabin last spring, scrubbed the mold off, insulated and laid down plastic. ( We're about 20 ft from our creek...). And have lots of energy efficient bulbs too- but could always use more!

k a t said...

Living in Seattle, one can easily get a bit SAD (seasonal affectional disorder) in the Winter. So I fully agree with you on the lighting issue! Thanks for the chance to win.