Welcome to Energy in Your Twenties! This series will help college students, recent college grads, and young professionals prepare for their first experiences with an electricity bill. Whether it’s figuring out how to choose an electricity provider, how to curb your roommate’s excessive electricity use, or how to make homemade dishes without cranking up your energy usage, this series will tackle the questions and obstacles people face during the first couple of years of paying their own electricity bill.
Dating in your twenties can be a challenge. Whether it’s finding the right person, figuring out what to do on a date, or trying to stay within your budget, there can be many setbacks in your dating life. To make it easier, First Choice Power has taken some stereotypical date ideas and provided three energy efficient twists for date night. These ideas focus on keeping your date fun, energy efficient, and budget-friendly.
1) The Dinner Date
You can transform the traditional dinner date with these easy, energy efficient ideas. Without the high restaurant price, you’ll still be able to enjoy great food but with the added benefit of lowering your carbon footprint and saving money.
A picnic is a great way to stay energy efficient and share a meal for a date. In your picnic basket make sure to pack cold finger foods that don’t require further energy to heat them. In my picnic baskets I usually have some form of bread, lunch meat, cheese, and fruit.
Another energy efficient dinner date sure to impress is to cook a fondue dinner at home. Most fondue recipes can be made in a slow cooker. Slow cookers use about .7kWh over 8 hours, which compared to the 2-2.2kWh an hour that an electric oven uses ensures an energy savings of about 50%. If you aren’t a cheese fan, make it a dessert night with melted chocolate and fruit to dip in!
2) The Coffee Date
Ditch the usual drink date for these active and energy efficient date ideas. Instead of awkward or uneasy silences, you’ll find it easier to get to know your date. You’ll probably even find yourself having more fun with a tour of your city or a game night.
Instead of sitting across from each other awkwardly at a coffee shop, make your coffee order to-go. You can drink your coffee while walking around the city. If you’re looking for something a little more adventurous, try being a tourist in your own city. Instead of driving around, stay energy efficient by renting bikes or walking. You’ll get a better view of the city and save gas money as well!
If you’re looking for a more stationary activity, grab a deck of cards or your favorite game and play outside. During winter, you can sit by a fire pit and save money and energy on your heating bill. In the summer, find a cool spot in the shade. Keeping your thermostat at 78 ⁰F in summer and 68⁰F in winter will help you stay energy efficient and save money while you’re out enjoying the date. Every degree of extra heating or cooling will increase your energy usage by 6%-8%.
3) The Movie Night
Going to a dark quiet movie theater doesn’t present the best opportunity to get to know the other person. Trade in that tired date for a more modern approach with a streaming movie experience.
Watching a movie on your computer uses less energy than your TV or a large movie screen in the theaters. Not to mention you’ll save money by not paying for overpriced movie tickets. Watching a movie on your laptop also makes the experience portable. Allowing you to snuggle up on your couch, or watch under the stars. If you want to get really innovative with your movie watching experience you can create an at home drive-in theater. This can easily be done with a projector and a white bed sheet. You’ll be able to laugh and talk during the movie without repercussion while also being energy savvy.
These aren’t the only energy-efficient dates out there. Feel free to get creative and come up with ideas of your own. A general rule of thumb is to match your activity to the weather around you. If it’s cold outside, think of ways to get active and stay warm without cranking up the heat. If it’s hot outside, think of ways to stay cool – like kayaking. Thinking outside the box can transform going to a movie into a movie night under the stars.