Earth Day Battle of the bulge – It’s time to put your home on an electric diet.
America’s voracious appetite for electricity is growing faster than our waistlines. With an almost 75% overweight population, according to Forbes, the US ranks in the top ten most obese countries in the world. More astonishing, we’re second only to Canada for most energy consumption per household (Energy Information Administration). That equates us to the global pigs of power consumption.
With energy star appliances, more efficient furnaces, and better insulation the average US household had actually declined by 26% in overall energy use from 1978-2001, mainly attributed to less natural gas consumption. However, our electricity use is surging. Experts agree the influx of techno-gadgets have become the hidden power hogs in today’s homes. Your DVR machine uses almost as much electricity turned off as it does on, this equates to about half the electricity that an energy star refrigerator uses. That just doesn’t sound right. Another energy hog: those new, always on digital picture frames. The cost to run one at about $10/yr sounds cheap enough, but according to the EPRI if every house in the US ran one, it would take four dedicated power plants just to furnish the electricity for them. Other common mini-power hogs that add up to real numbers nationwide are computers, printers, monitors, your plasma tv (or two), incandescent lights and ipod docking stations.
A healthy snack alternative for your home.
I’ve put together a list of things you can do to help put your home on an electricity diet and help you in your battle of the power bulge. Kind of like a low carb protein drink instead of a corn dog.
1) Change our your old incandescent bulbs for more energy efficient, cork screw type florescent bulbs (you’ll save the money on your electric bill within a year)
2) In fixtures where you can’t use those modern power saving bulbs, install a dimmer switch. They’re 15 bucks at Lowe’s and they can use 90% less electricity.
3) Run all your desk gadgets (computer, monitors, printer, lcd photo frame, etc.) on an surge protector. Click the off switch when you leave for lunch or go home for the evening. Do the same for your TV set, entertainment center, and DVR box. Keep the surge protector off when you’re not home and don’t need your latest episode of The Office recorded.
4) Make it a point to turn off lights in rooms you’re not using. Also keep doors shut in rooms you’re not in.
5) Use your outdoor grill to cook in the warm summer months. Nothing beats good old barbeque or grilled chicken, and you’ll eliminate heat from a stove working against your AC.