Conservation in the High Desert
Conservation is primarily a “state of mind”. One consciously changes behavior, then after a
while those deliberate actions become habit. As a child, I was always reminded not to turn on a
light (or in some cases light a candle) until needed and to turn off the light immediately after
use. I now have an ingrained habit that automatically causes me to turn off lights no matter where
The following are some practices that we use in our home to conserve energy. We have invested
more than most in energy efficiency and renewable energy equipment. We are continually trying to
improve our behavior to increase the benefits of our investments.
1. In the winter, the first thing in the morning, we open the honeycomb insulating
shades on the south facing windows and open the shades on the skylights. They
are closed at dusk. During the summer, only some of the shades are lowered
from the top to allow some light. One can easily feel the cold (or heat) coming
through the double-pane vinyl windows, when the shades are opened.
2. The dishwasher is only run with a full load. Of course, I cannot “pack” the
dishwasher as well as my wife, so she reminds me to use the “light load” setting.
3. We live in Dyer, Nevada where we use well water. In our location, water is
scarcer than electricity. In order to conserve both, we installed a solar water
heating system with a storage tank. We use a recirculation pump with a manual
switch to route the solar heated water back to the storage tank through the insulated
Since our shower is approximately 100 feet from the solar heated water tank, we
know to run the pump for a few minutes before using the shower (or the
dishwasher), e.g., turn on the recirculation pump before taking one’s clothes off.
The washing machine uses cold water for full loads only. Even when manually
washing some dishes, the recirculation pump is turned on for a few minutes before
starting to wash, to prevent the loss of water down the drain. The recirculation
pump uses appro