In the process of preparing for peak oil and climate change, I have been evaluating low-to-no energy alternatives for each of the activities and appliances that we use. Surprisingly, I have found that many of them may be fairly easy to replace. A few, I still have not figured out.
Let's start with the obvious:
Clothes Dryer - clothesline and indoor drying racks.
Dishwasher - Washing dishes by hand
Hair Dryer - Unneccessary, IMHO.
And the not so obvious:
Heating - Energy efficient Fireplace/ woodstove/ cookstove (needs to be super energy efficient to avoid deforesting the rest of the world). Also, super insulation and excellent windows. Plus, wearing lots of extra clothes, moving about, and drinking hot tea.
A/C - Ceiling fans and open windows. Minimal clothing. Lots of shading of your house by trees and vines. Not moving much between 12 and 4. :) Frankly, I don't know if this will cut it here in OK. But if electricity doubles the way gas has, will most people really have a choice?
Oven/Cooktop - Sun Oven. Wood cookstove. Clay oven for bread and pizzas.
Lighting - Solar lanterns. Kerosene lanterns. Going to bed early.
Hot water - Solar hot water.
Clothes Washing - I have it on good authority that there are manual clothes washers/wringers out there. I've never seen one. Also, I hear that a big tub and anything that could be used as an agitator would also work.
Canning food - You can actually can in the Sun Oven! I haven't actually tried it yet though.
And the unnecessary but IMHO highly desirable -
TV/DVD/Stereo - Local entertainment, books, games, walking about outside, lots of alcohol :). Putting on plays and playing together in bands. Spending most of our time in productive activities that can be pleasant such as homebrewing. Or, a small Photovoltaic (PV) solar energy system.
What I haven't figured out:
Coffeemaker- Is there something called a french press? If so, how does it work? I could possibly just heat up my water in the Sun Oven and then use the french press.
The FRIDGE! I mean, yes I know that we can overwinter veggies, and store some in a root cellar (which I do not have yet), and maybe keep a chicken or two in the backyard for eggs, but what do you do about milk and cheese? There are no dairy farmers currently in my area to drop by every day.
What have people always done in cities, for that matter? Did they all just eat at restaurants? Because I can't see apartment dwellers in London in the 1800's being able to cook a lot of food. Did they just buy their food every day and bring it home??
Someone enlighten me! Because whatever they used to do, we need to figure out a way to improve on it and get really local.