Earth Hour & Energy Use
So this past Saturday was Earth Hour. This event, which is to highlight the world’s energy usage, encourages people to shut off their lights from 8 until 9 pm. My husband, who works on computers for a living and has a wii remote surgically attached to his hand tried to convince me that under the rules of this gig, we could still play a game of Mario Party, as long as it was in the dark. I said he was missing the point.
According to the Bureau of Land Management, American’s energy use has went up 20% in the last 10 years. In 2002, every person in the US used 1 million Btu’s every day! Energy is most often created by burning fossil fuels, using these valuable resources up as well as spewing harmful GHG’s into the atmosphere. There are plenty of great suggestions on how to curb your energy appetite.
· Replace regular incandescent light bulbs w/ Compact Florescent light bulbs. Note the difference in wattage. My ‘friend’ accidentally purchased three 23 watt CFL’s (which are equivalent to 100 watt incandescent bulbs) and put them in a ceiling fixture. I think I could have tanned in my, er… her living room.
· Make sure you use rechargeable batteries for products. To extend their life, make sure you fully charge them every time.
· Keeping the clock powered on your DVD player takes energy! Don’t let phantom lights (i.e. the little red light on your DVD player letting you know that your DVD player is off or the clocks on coffee makers and other electronics) on your electronics waste your power. Plug electronics into a power strip and when your not using the devices, unplug the power cord. This can reduce your bill up to 5%!
· Know how to properly dispose of your e-waste. There are both valuable and dangerous things inside your ipod, DVD player, computer, etc. In Waukesha there are several locations to responsibly dispose of your electronics. Some are free while others cost a little money. There is a growing push for manufactures to share responsibility in Wisconsin for electronics disposal. Call your state representative to let them know how you feel!
Figure out how much energy your electronics cost you with the calculator at http://www.mygreenelectronics.org
Also, remember, one of the easiest ways to save energy is to recycle. Recycling 1 aluminum can saves enough energy to power a light bulb for 4 hours!
Earth Hour was a great way to reflect on how to reduce the amount of energy we use. As an added bonus, the hubby and I had a good time playing cribbage (I won, of course) and spending time with each other with out all of the crazy distractions electronics allow. I guess now the trick is to make Earth Hour last more than 60 minutes.