I think I have mentioned the heat once or twice.
Yesterday was the third hottest day on record, in Melbourne.
Last night was the third hottest night on record, in Melbourne.
Come with me on a journey. We are going to travel in time, back to the year 2003.
* cue zigzaggy lines and eerie music *
It’s January, 2003. I am hugely, I mean HUGELY pregnant. I can’t seem to find the photo right now, so you will have to believe me. I am also still working for the state government, in a job I loathe. Counting down the days till I can start my maternity leave.
And we have a heatwave. The start of a heatwave, to be precise. And, in that way that pregnant women do, I have a Moment.
My particular Moment looks like this: There is NO WAY IN HELL that I am going home unless we have SOME SORT OF COOLING at home.
So I get on the phone, and I call around, and finally I find somewhere that has cooling systems for sale. And then I leave work early (which I am ALLOWED to do, because I have flexi-time, but no-one in that area does and so they all look at me suspiciously when I do it) and I drive myself (because it is SO HOT and I am SO SWOLLEN that I am not even catching the tram to work anymore) to the shop where I look at coolers.
And because I have done my research, and I am energy conscious and I know that air conditioners EAT energy, I buy an evaporative cooler and I bring it home.
And it is not NEARLY as good as an air conditioner but it really takes the edge off.
* cue weird montage to show time passing *
And over the years it gets used and forgotten and used and forgotten. And it sits in the dining room gathering detritus on top of it, until finally I snap (or maybe it was the day my OMGFABULOUS professional organiser came and she snapped and I jumped) and it gets retired into a corner of the study.
And it was good.
And then the heatwave started, and Fraser and I got the cooler out of the corner of the study and brought it into the newly clean living room and positioned it in front of the window, because even on a hot day you are meant to run your cooler in front of an open window. And I ran it last night, and it was good.
And I ran it today, and it was good.
Except for one small thing.
The evaporative cooler may not eat energy, but it eats water. I’m estimating somewhere between 60-80 litres today alone. And we only ran it for 11 or 12 hours.
So here, you see my dilemma. We’re meant to save energy, and the state is sucking on rolling brownouts because demand is so high, because everyone is running their air conditioners overnight because their houses are OMG HOTTER INSIDE THAN OUTSIDE at that time.
And we’re meant to be saving water because it is a precious resource and we have only had 0.8mm of rain this month (I suspect that might be 8mm but it is still a very small number). In fact, our target per-person usage is 155 litres a day. (Weirdly? We used less water than that on our last bill, but were still charged penalty rates for excess consumption).
So I just used half a person’s water running my fan blower thingy. For 11 or 12 hours (because I nicked out to take the kids to the pool, which was OMGWONDERFUL and we might have to go back there tomorrow aggain).
Somewhere, we need a decision tree for green wannabes like yours truly. At the moment, it’s like a game of paper/scissors/stone where you don’t actually know what trumps what: do I worry more about energy consumption or water consumption? Or something else like the recyclability of the product and how much water/oil it took to create it?
Until they do, I’ll be fretting. But at least I will be evaporatively cooled while I do so.
Meanwhile, do you suppose it can run on beer?