2009/10/16–Energy Conservation Follow-up

Back in February I gave some tips on how to save energy in the home. Due to the arrangement of how my energy bills are paid, I do not see how my actions are affecting the final bill until some time later. I found out today that the impact my actions made. Overall, the curtains, lowered thermostat, using cold or warm water for laundry and so on reduced my home’s energy consumption by 15-20%. The majority of the savings was due to the CFL bulbs replacing incandescent bulbs, and removing some lights completely.

Another change I made, because my beloved 1999 Jeep Cherokee Sport (aka The Catahauler) was nearing the end of its travels with me (207,000 miles, 109,000 of those were with me), was a more fuel-efficient vehicle. As is normal for me, I did buy it used (52,000 miles), but she has a lot of miles left in her. The new vehicle (Catahauler Mark II) is a 2005 Jeep Liberty (KJ) CRD Limited with a 4-cylinder 2.8L turbo diesel engine. I’ve had it since June and I really enjoy driving it. I’m able to get 25-30 mpg, which is about what I get with the sedan I drive at work, but this allows me to haul a trailer when needed, and I still have 4WD when I venture into the land of ice and snow. Because my personal vehicle gets very little annual mileage compared to my work vehicle, and diesel engines tend to last for many miles, I plan to have the KJ for many years to come. I am still able to load 2-3 dogs in the Jeep, but I also have a rebuilt utility trailer (purchased used through Craigslist) for big or dirty jobs. Currently diesel prices have risen higher than those of gasoline, however I feel this is my current best option, given my needs and price range, to have a greener vehicle–the diesel allows me to run on biofuels when they are available.