Feeling Green

Feeling Green

Traveling through Poland, I noticed just how energy-conscious as a nation they are. There were windmills and solar panels everywhere. In most of the buildings lights were controlled either by motion sensors or by timed switches. When the lights are on indoors, they are noticeably less bright than what I have been accustomed to at home.

I had a couple of weird experiences in bathrooms being plunged into darkness at the most inopportune moment possible. One hotel I stayed in I exited my room one night to find the hallway pitch black and after flailing about for a time in a futile attempt to trigger the lights I realized that the motion sensor must have gone bad. After convincing myself for the 9,999,999th time that monsters really don’t exist, I pulled myself together, Whipped out my cell phone and found my way to the stairs.

In most hotels in order for the lights in the room to work you have to insert your keycard into a receptacle by the door. When leaving the room, you remove your card and the lights automatically shut off. Imagine how much energy they conserve nationally just by guests not being able to leave their room lights on when away!

Cars, as in most European nations, trend more towards compact. With gas prices at upwards of $4.00 a gallon I totally get it. The temperature in a lot of buildings seems to be kept a little low for my taste but perhaps it’s just my heat-seeking nature…

What I’ve learned on this trip is not just how wasteful we Americans are as a nation when it comes to energy but just how far short I fall in doing my own part. I did have an energy consulting company come out and evaluate the house earlier this year. They did a bunch of tweaks like wrapping pipes with insulation and checking for leaks. We’re actually well insulated and sealed quite tightly… We also replaced all of the light bulbs in the house with lower-wattage energy-saving ones but that’s just a start…

I’m thinking of all kinds of things now like programming the TV sets to turn after I fall asleep, not running my computers 24/7, lower the hot water temperature by a few more degrees, etc. Perhaps I might even save enough on energy next year to finance my next trip abroad…


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