Welcome to the KingZoo and Funny Farm, where we learn to live, laugh, and love together. Here you'll find snippets of life in our zoo, parenting tips we've learned along the way, reflections on shining God's light in this world, passions in the realm of orphan care, and our journey as parents of a visually impaired child with sensory processing disorder. Have fun!

Friday, August 19, 2011

The importance of saving energy

Every few months we receive a nice letter from the electric company showing us how our usage compares with that of our neighbors. It is imperative that I receive the mail on these days or the Good Doctor reads these letters and immediately has a conniption. Conversely, this is the same man who has a conniption on a getting-warmer day in spring when he comes home from work to find that I have refused to turn the air conditioner on for yet another day.

I do not argue the importantance of saving energy, and am usually the one attempting to implement new energy-saving practices in the home. In the summer I keep our household environment at a nice, humid, sub-Saharan temperature. In the winter, we survive at a crisp not-quite-freezing climate. I, too, remind the children to turn off lights when they leave a room.

But on the other hand, I think there is a mathematical miscalculation behind his quarterly tirade. I admit that I have very limited math skills. However, I think I learned somewhere along the way, that if you are going to compare two items, the variables should be as controlled as possible. So, following this stream of thought to its rightful conclusion, if the electric company is going to compare the average monthly power usage of homes in the neighborhood, shouldn't it make sure that each of those homes has approximately the same number of people?

We live in a 40 - 50 year old neighborhood and many of our neighbors are still the original owners. Their children have long since left the home, leaving just two occupants in the home. Sadly, in too many of these homes, only one parent is still living. It hardly seems fair to compare the electric usage of one person to that of a family of nine. To that end, it doesn't seem fair to compare a family of 4 to a family of nine. Of course we use more electricity than our neighbors when none of the other homes in our neighborhood have more than four people living in them!

Let's test this out by taking a look at laundry. I am certain that we do much more laundry on a weekly basis than each of the 1, 2, or even 4 member homes. Then there's dishes, rooms used, etc. It would make sense that it takes more hot water to bathe and provide clean dishes for a family of nine than for those half the size.

Having said all that, it is my sincere hope that the next time we get one of these reports from the electric company, we will be rewarded instead of chastised. Instead of a tirade, we will hear, "Well done, my good and faithful family. Our electric bill was NOT double the amount of our neighbors. You have done well in handling this small amount. Let's celebrate together! Bruster's for everyone!"

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