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Emma Speaking at Climate Summit this Weekend

16 January 2014

This Saturday I, Emma Shriver, Energy Challenge Coordinator, will be speaking and exhibiting at the Northfield Climate Summit. I will be part of the panel, Responding to Climate Change: Effective Energy Conservation Steps for Homeowners and Businesses. My presentation covers the top 10 Minnesota Energy Challenge actions for homeowners and highlights active Northfield Energy Challenge teams.


Full details about all nine sessions and speakers available on the summit webpage. The summit is free but registration is required. If you are attending make sure to stop by my booth and say hello!

Turn Off All Those Energy Phantoms

10 January 2014

Hi everyone, TOLBY here! Have you ever noticed that after you turn off your T.V., video games and DVD player there is still a small red light? That light means that the electronic is using electricity -even though you turned it off! How silly.

Tolby phantom load

So, how do you stop the electricity? Unplug it!

The picture to the right is me turning off a power strip! Using a power strip to unplug electronics is the easiest, safest, and fastest way to unplug electronics from the wall. When you turn off a power strip it stops electricity from being used on all of the electronics plugged in. Easy peasy energy savings!

TOLBY Tip: To make sure power strips are turned off make it one persons responsibility each night.

Watch and Browse Efficiently

8 January 2014

It isn’t a huge surprise that 55% of our homes electricity is used by appliances and lighting. Especially since Minnesota has 45abeen in a deep freeze so far this winter, leading to lots of snuggling inside to watch movies. For these reasons I have a couple tips to help browse the internet and watch movies more efficiently. These are tips I found via The Energy Collective.

Change Your TV Settings: Select the “home” or “standard” picture set up. “Vivid” or “retail” settings are unnecessarily bright for watching at home and use 15% to 20% more electricity. This is a quick, easy and effective change.

Ditch the Console:  The most energy intensive way to watch movies is streaming them through video game consoles. Streaming movies using a Roku, Apple TV or directly through internet on your TV uses 10-20% less energy than a console.

ENERGY STAR Home Network: Cable and internet boxes suck power 24/7. To ensure that your device is using the least energy possible buy or ask your cable company for an ENERGY STAR rated device.

Small network equipment in America’s homes consumes more than $1 billion worth of electricity annually—equivalent to the output of three large, polluting coal-fired power plants. – NRDC

Keep warm everyone!

It’s 2014 and you will still be able to buy incandescent bulbs!

30 December 2013

When the first blog on the phasing out of incandescent lights was written back in 2011 January 2014 seemed far away. Well, it is here folks- the final phase of the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007 will be enacted this January. What does this mean for consumers and the lighting industry? In short lower utility bills, more jobs and a healthier planet! Below are a few items I learned from reading the EPA’s Backgrounder on the act.

  • The act requires that any bulb manufactured and sold from 2014 on needs to meet the appropriate efficiency requirements.
  • This act is not a ban on technology. You will still be able to buy incandescent bulbs, they will just have increased efficiency to meet the new requirements.
  • You will save money! Yes, more efficient bulbs cost a few dollars more upfront, but over their lifetime you will save money (and energy!). For instance: one ENERGY STAR rated CFL bulb can save you $40 over its lifetime.
  • The new lighting standards are driving innovation and creating manufacturing jobs all around the country.
  • Mercury levels in the environment will decrease. The vast majority of our electricity in Minnesota comes from burning coal, and burning coal releases mercury into the environment. Using a CFL uses less electricity, requiring less coal to be burned, releasing less mercury.

Total Mercury Emissions, CFLs and Incandescent

For more information take a look at the US EPA Backgrounder on EISA.

Add this to your Energy Challenge actions.

Happy Holidays!

17 December 2013

Happy Holidays everyone! Here are a few Energy Challenge actions to keep in mind as you celebrate with friends and family.2013 Holiday Card

Recycle like Crazy: Recycle everything you can and look for items in recyclable material when shopping for gatherings and presents. For guides on how to recycle everything take a look at Recycling Association of Minnesota

Flip the Switch: Double check and make sure all lights are off and electronics are unplugged before you leave the house.

Drive to the Limit: Taking a small road trip to visit family? Drive efficiently by making sure your tires are pumped up, and you are driving the speed limit.

Color with TOLBY: Need an activity for the kids to do? Print out TOLBY coloring sheets and activities that will teach them about energy efficiency and keep them entertained!

30,000 Minnesotans Reducing their Energy Use!

13 December 2013

The Energy Challenge reached another milestone earlier this week- 30,000 members! That is enough people to fill (seated only) 445 light rails cars! The current 30,300 members are pledging to save a total of 244,653,817 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) annually. This amount of CO2 is equivalent to removing 23,119 passenger cars from the road each year. EPA GHG Calculator


Great work everyone- this shows that all of the small things we all do add up to make a big difference for Minnesota’s environment. As always, continue to spread the word on the Minnesota Energy Challenge and energy efficiency actions!

Fun and Surprising Plug Load Game

4 December 2013

Which appliances uses more energy in a week: 5 minute daily shower, fridge or an iron used twice a week?

In order to efficiently prioritize your energy conservation actions you need to know how much energy household appliances use. A co-worker of mine found a great plug load game, by Navetas Energy Management, that helps you learn just that! Organize the given appliances from least to most power used in one week. You will be surprised at what the answers are!

Navetas Appliance Quiz

After you have finished playing (and learning), pick one appliance and focus on reducing its energy use. Then add the action to your Energy Challenge profile to see your savings climb!


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