Energy (use): personal



We are all addicts of fossil fuels in a state of denial, about to face cold turkey. And like so many addicts about to face cold turkey, our leaders are now committing violent crimes to get what little is left of what we’re hooked on.

– Kurt Vonnegut

Overview of community discussion

Our initial community discussion focused on energy use: both the easiest and hardest of topics. Easiest because in so many ways conservation of one’s energy use is the ticket—use less and you will need less! OTOH, energy use permeates all activity outside of love. We even burn calories while sleeping, and we certainly require immense amounts of energy to run our homes, our businesses, our culture. The meeting’s work decided to break down energy use into three categories: personal conservation, community conservation, and then community-based renewable energy (possibilities.) We gathered ideas and created action steps.

Personal Conservation: We noted that many of the personal conservation ideas presented will allow reduced energy use—an action much needed to reduce carbon emissions, and save money. We suggest three actions that will not cost anything to implement: **Wash clothes in cold water. **Use a drying rack instead of a dryer.**Keep your home 5 degrees warmer in the summer, and 5 degrees colder in the winter. (OK that is four.)


Once those simple things are achieved, tackle the next 3 steps. An interesting quality of resiliency is redundancy–creating back up plans (and back up plans for those!) Be prepared for changing fuel prices, and begin to imagine less easy heat on-off switches, and more…sock knitting? Learn a skill you have been meaning to, especially if it can help you increase your independence from the energy grid. Here is a quick test of your carbon footprint.

Start implementing personal energy savings:

Sign up for a home energy audit.

 The Green Spotlight energy use checklist.

Analyze energy impacts of your buying habits.


Walk! Walk! Walk! Whenever you can. And remember to carry your cloth grocery bags.


Your resources for getting started are right in town.


A Kill-a-Watt meter is available for check out at the Northfield Public Library <. You can place a request on these  items just as you would a book, though. To place a request, you can call, email or text a librarian (645-1802, . Use this to assess energy use of home appliances, then get busy making the changes that you can.

RENEW Northfield has been working on energy reduction issues for over 7 years, they published a document as a city agency to craft an energy independent Northfield.


Talk to your neighbors for they may have implemented a few energy saving things that you can too.