What is Pioneer Day?
It is one full day (24hours) with no electricity use in the house. These have also been referred to as "Unplug Days". Typically, adopters of Pioneer Day take part once a week (see below for adaptations).
Check out the How To Save Energy Around The House wiki for other day to day ideas.
According to the DOE, the average US household consumes 10,656 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year (according to 2001 data). That works out to about 30 kWh per day per household.
If you adopt Pioneer Day one day a week, you can cut your energy consumption down by 1518 kWh per year. Assuming you pay an average of 10 cents per kwh, that's $152 saved per year.
This idea could be adapted to any household. You can change the rules to fit your lifestyle.
- Have Pioneer Day once a month (energy savings will not be as significant)
- Have half a Pioneer Day - if 24 hours is too long for your house, cut it down to just the evening hours
- Winterize your Pioneer Day - During the winter, the heat is left on but is set at a very cool temperature.
Activities That Don't Require Electricity
Sometimes it's hard to remember what there is to do when you unplug. Here's a quick list to jog your memory of the simpler pleasures in life.
- Reading (during daylight hours)
- Card games and board games
- Playing musical instruments
- Taking walks around the neighborhood
- Go outside and stargaze
- Play flashlight tag (okay, you're using batteries, but maybe you can use rechargeable ones or a hand crank flashlight)
- Grab your significant other/partner/lovie/hunny bear for a little eco-hanky panky
"At our home I'm always looking for new ways to cut down on the electric bill. Last month I started to have Pioneer Day once a week...We only have one exception to this rule at our house, the refrigerator. I don't want the food to go bad. I thought that this idea would be met with major resistance from my 12 year old son. He actually enjoys the time spent sitting out on the porch talking. It lets him get his fill of grown-up talk. I think it has even cut down on the inevitable eavesdropping that occurs at this age. My 8 year-old daughter really loves the idea. She is the one in the family that always wants to play board games. During Pioneer Day we don't have an excuse not to play them with her. She has learned several new card games and is fast becoming the Slap Jack Champ of the house...For us it has not only cut our electric bill in half - yes, half - of what it was last year. It has made us more mindful of what electric items we really need to have on during the day. Not to mention how much closer it has brought us as a family." - herodrx1