Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Picking up Pennies

Yesterday's entry on my Living Green calendar was from Gandhi: "You must be the change you wish to see in the world."

The other day I was in the nice, new lockerroom at work where they offer two hair dryers for the gentlemen to use. However, they were just sitting there plugged in. Talk about a great opportunity to reduce some energy drain! I mean, c'mon, does a hair dryer in a men's lockerroom get used more than about 90 seconds per day?

It has recently been documented that all those appliances sitting unused, but plugged in, each consume a little bit of energy and it all adds up to a massive amount. To read more on phantom energy, click here.

So I made up this little sign, unplugged the plugs, and taped it next to the outlets. Feel free to download, print out and do the same to hair dryers, microwaves, coffee pots, et al in your work area.

I'm just trying to live my life according to Gandhi (quoted above) and this bumper sticker I saw a few months ago: Quit yer bitchin' and start a revolution.

Oh, and "picking up pennies" is what Iditarod dog mushers call the act of poling with a single ski pole while riding on the back of the sled. They think that over the course of 10 grueling days every tiny bit will help.


mikko said...

Hmm. I get the hairdryer thing.

But am I supposed to feel guilty about not unplugging all of my "off" applicances and light fixtures (lamps, clock radios, stereo equipment, etc)?

How much energy does this save?

Kirk said...

Nope. You're certainly not supposed to feel guilty. I use my toaster about once a year, so its unplugged. My amp and keyboard don't get much use either, so they're unplugged. I'm not unplugging my TV or radio or any of the regularly used stuff. Look for opportunities that suit you best. Anything you do is better than nothing, and it doesn't have to be much.

Mikko said...

I like the idea of new construction adding an "OFF" switch to every apartment/house by the front door.

The switch would turn off all non-critical outlets (e.g., furnace-climate control, refrigerator wouldn't be impacted) while you're not home.

It'd be very convenient. Power up the house when you're home. Power down when you're not.

The key to these things... for most consumers (myself included) is getting me to want to do it.

Unfortunately, that often hinges on two things: convenience & $.

People waste a lot of energy/money (bit by bit) because its easier than thinking/doing something about it.

What's the value?

If you told me (better yet "proved" to me) "turning off" my house for 8-10 hours every day would save me a few hundred bucks a year... and it was easy to do, I'm all ears.

I think the majority of Americans aren't going to pay as close attention to this until companies start creating convenient solutions to be more efficient.

Kirk said...

Fortunately I don't have to convince most consumers, I only need bring it to the attention of the intelligent, thoughtful, globally aware readers of my blog who I'm sure will act appropriately.