Most of us would agree that our lives involve the daily use of multiple electronics. For instance, according to the most recent data, in 2009 40% of households had 3 TVs and 35% of households had 2 or more computers. These numbers support the fact that lighting, electronics and appliances now account for 36% of residential energy use. That is up from 24% in 1993.
Plug load also has a large effect on commercial building energy consumption. An interesting example is the Bullitt Center in Seattle. The Bullitt Center is one of the world’s greenest office buildings. Interestingly, electronics account for a quarter of the buildings electricity use. So what are they going to do to reduce this number? Install smart power strips that automatically turn off when there is no occupancy. Pretty cool, right??
To reduce your plug load at home and at the office install power strips and remember to turn them off when you are not there. Not all of us can install such fancy power strips-but a good ol’ simple one will work just fine! Add this to your energy challenge actions to see how it can help reduce your energy use and carbon footprint.
Electricity use via plug loads, due to our legions of devices, is becoming more noticed and is starting to be addressed. It is no longer something that is just shrugged off as insignificant. And given our penchant for more and more devices, plug load will remain a growing concern. -Steven Castle, Green Tech Advocates
If you haven’t already received your one sort recycling bin I am sure you are anxiously awaiting its arrival. Crews are delivering bins to neighborhoods through the beginning of June. Check out this map to find your recycling bin arrival date.
When you get your bin you may wonder “Is this too good to be true? How does this work?” To answer those questions take a look at the video below. The video is of a similar sorting plant in Philadelphia and does a great job at explaining how it all works.
One thing I got from it is don’t throw your plastic bags in your one sort bin!
Energy.gov recently came out with a wonderful infographic about water heaters! One reason why I love infographics is because they make a topic such as water heaters easy to understand, and pleasant to read! Anyways, take a minute look at this if your water heater is 15+ years old, or if you want to save some money on your water heating bill.
Here are a few interesting facts from the infographic:
- The average U.S. family uses 64 gallons of water every day.
- There are currently 5 different types of water heaters.
- Average water heater last 10-15 years, and 27 million households have a water heater that is 10+ years old.
- Different types of water heaters use different fuel sources.
Ever notice energy being wasted at home, work, or on the street? Well, it is time to share what you are seeing. Submit your photos of people, places and things that are wasting energy to the Energy Challenge’D project.
We’re launching the Energy Challenge’D to have fun while highlighting things that need a little (or a lot) of energy efficiency guidance. But we need YOUR help to find places and things that are Energy Challenge’D. Check out the Flickr page for submitted photos.
A couple of weeks ago I signed up for the Commuter Challenge from Metro Transit. All it involves is a pledge to replace drive-alone trips with bus, train, bicycle, carpool, walk, vanpool or telework. This may be different for everyone. Maybe you have the goal of biking to work once a week or maybe you are a hardcore commuter and have a goal of never driving alone to work.
Whatever your goal, if you sign up for the Commuter Challenge and stick to your goal you will start saving money, becoming healthier and contributing to a healthier environment. What a win-win-win! Speaking of winning, if you track your commute at least one day a week and you are eligible to win prizes , such as $100 Target gift cards and Kindle Fires. How cool is that!?
Personally, I enjoy tracking my commutes – it makes me realize how just one additional ride on transit can really make a difference in CO2 emissions.
While you’re at it, make sure to add your transportation actions to your Energy Challenge profile!
This post is fueled by a personal story. I recently started the process of purchasing a condo. At the inspection I found that the beautiful wood windows in the living room were rotted on the bottom two inches. And by rotted I mean wet to the touch and squishy- NEVER a good sign! This happened because of a silly mistake the previous homeowners had made. While making the home more energy efficient they caulked the bottom of the storm window. This meant that water could get in through the screen but not drain back out the window
Don’t make the same mistake! Caulking is a great spring time home improvement activity. It is a cheap and easy way to reduce air leaks in your home. Follow these instructions given by the Department of Energy, and remember DO NOT caulk the bottom of the storm window. This will allow water to escape back out of the window and avoid rotten windows.
One reason why electricity is so cool is that it comes from many different sources that all make electricity. To create electricity we gather it from different sources and process them to make electricity. In Minnesota we get our electricity from:
Each source of electricity has different impacts on the earth. In Minnesota we get most of our electricity from burning coal. Burning coal is unhealthy for the earth and humans because it makes smoke that puts pollutants into the air. Sun, water and wind don’t hurt the earth as much because they don’t release bad pollutants like coal does.
To help keep the earth healthy reduce your energy use!