Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day, 2009

Here are a few things I do every day:

1. Recycle

2. Unplug appliances after I use them

***According to the government's ENERGY STAR program, 40% of the electricity that home electronics use is consumed while the products are turned off. The impact of this on your energy bill will depend on your particular situation-- one Berkeley study suggests the savings would be 6 to 26% off your total bill.The "phantom load," as it's sometimes called, is a result of many different household items (sometimes called "vampire devices," leading to perhaps the best-named law ever, California's Vampire Slayer Act of 2006).

The Berkeley study, this graph, and this article have some information on typical wattage of specific items-- but if you really want to know how much yours use, you'll need to buy or borrow a meter like Kill-a-Watt, or try this manual method.There are also the smaller items; for example, did you know that your cell phone charger is using energy even when your phone isn't attached? It's only a couple of watts, but it's a good idea to get into the habit of unplugging your charger from the wall when you unplug your phone from the charger. Kitchen appliances like microwaves, rice cookers, bread makers, and coffee pots also typically use less than 5 watts-- but there's no reason to leave them plugged in when you don't have to. The little things add up.And how much do they add up to? Around 50 to 100 watts in the average house, which is 30 to 60 kilowatt-hours a month (based on 20 standby hours a day). At prices of 5 to 15 cents per kWH in July 2006, that's somewhere between $1.50-$9 a month.***(Source: Money and Value Blog)

3. Carry reusable bags to all stores (not just grocery)

4. Use energy efficient bulbs

Yesterday, my husband bought a more energy efficient printer that uses special eco friendly ink. It pleases me to see that there are now so many options for the consumers. Now, more than ever, it is easier to be eco minded and green!

Here is a great blog I use to keep up to date on new sustainable materials:

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