May 20, 2024

Here’s something that the Washington Post’s Allyson Chiu may not know: When the temps outside drop to -32 (good American Fahrenheit, not commie Celsius), even with an oil burner, baseboard electric heater, and the wood stove going, the house gets chilly. So, despite Ms. Chiu’s recommendations, I’m not taking a cold shower to save the planet – not now, not in the middle of winter, not anytime. But that isn’t the only thing she thinks we should do to reduce hot water usage.

Washing machines guzzle an average of 25 gallons of hot water per use, according to the Energy Department — the most compared to other common household activities.

“Doing laundry is a big area where using cold water makes a difference,” said Joe Vukovich, a staff attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council who works on energy efficiency.

There’s no link to check that Energy Department claim, but I went over the house and dug out the manual for our front-loading washer and found that it uses five to seven gallons per cycle. We always run it on cold wash and rinse, not because of energy but because the clothes don’t fade as much (unless we have some really nasty dirty stuff after a day of working outside) and in summer, we have a solar and wind-powered clothes dryer – the kind that folks used to call a “clothesline.” I’m willing to bet that we use less energy and water on laundry than Ms. Chiu does.

Here’s the real deal-breaker.

Showering accounts for roughly 17 percent of the water Americans use in their homes, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Your steamy showers also consume energy: Nearly half of a home’s hot water is used for bathing.

A cold shower not only uses less energy than a hot one, but it also saves water because you don’t have run the tap while you wait for it to heat up, said Jennifer Amann, senior fellow in the buildings program at the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, a nonprofit group. You should also rethink washing your hands with hot or warm water for the same reason, she added.

I’m not taking cold showers – I’m just not. Not at my age. Look, it’s not that I don’t care about energy efficiency; I (well, actually, my wife) pay the electric bill and we are always open to a way to reduce it. Our house is pretty efficient; water from the well goes into a tank in the cellar that is inside a huge stone heat sink that pre-warms our frigid well water and saves on the water heater. I like that, not because I’m all in a tizzy over my carbon footprint, but because it saves us on our electric bill. And that’s how these things should work; actual increases in efficiency save people money, and that’s the best motivation of all.

See Related: Octogenarian Climate Loons Try to Damage Magna Carta

Biden in Seattle: Difficulty Understanding What He’s Saying, Climate Hypocrisy, Plagiarism from Trump 

And finally, Ms. Chiu gets to dishwashers:

You don’t need to pre-rinse before loading the dishwasher and experts recommend scraping food remnants off instead. But if you do rinse, make sure to use cold water, Amann said.

“Don’t use hot, that’s just a waste,” she said.

While dishwashers use hot water, energy efficient models need very little, Amann said. Research suggests that even running a half-empty dishwasher can be less resource intensive than washing a few dishes by hand.

As long as the dishes get clean, I don’t see a problem with this, although since it’s normally just the two of us here in a somewhat remote rural setting we often use paper plates, which go in the burn barrel. Efficient? I think so.

I’ll admit, the dishwasher thing isn’t too onerous, but the laundry claim is just plain wrong. And cold showers? That’s a bridge too far – especially when scolds like John Kerry and Al Gore are still living in enormous mansions and flying around in private jets while they wag their fingers at the rest of us. I’ll keep taking my hot showers, thanks. I’m paying my own electric bill for our water heater, and as long as I’m paying my way, as I see it nobody has any right to lecture me on what I should be doing.