January 30, 2011

Conserving Energy

By Eric D’Aleo

I’ve been watching the birds over the last few weeks as the weather has become colder and grayer. The chickadees and tufted titmice appear more regularly at my birdfeeder, preferring a shrub that is protected from the wind by a new fence I completed this fall. A flock of over 15 mourning doves have decided to roost again in my woodshed this winter after an eight- month absence. What a rocketing display of “exploding birds” fly off if I forget they are there when it’s time to get wood. In both cases the birds are trying to survive through the harsh winter by saving energy. Staff at the Science Center is also taking cues from our avian neighbors. Furnaces were cleaned and serviced to run efficiently during the winter. Programmable thermostats have been checked and set to lower building temperatures overnight when no one is present. Weather stripping was checked and leaky windows and doorways that are not used for the winter have been sealed or insulated. Even simple behavior changes like closing doors tightly and bringing warmer clothing for outdoor winter classes and work makes a difference. But as with the birds, the weather will determine how much energy we use this winter.

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