Earth Hour is fast approaching (Saturday March 19th), and while shutting off all of the lights in your house might make it look like we’re being green, there are actually many appliances in your home that are constantly sucking energy, even by just being plugged in. Take the time to unplug the below items and consider ways to make permanent adjustments around the house to save you and the environment from dealing with the associated costs.
A really effective way to cut your energy use is by turning off your power bars. As long as those appliances don’t need to be constantly running, you’re good to flick them off. For example, your DVR may need to stay on to record, but your flat screen television is a huge energy vampire and doesn’t need to always be connected. Keeping items that can afford to stay off for a while on one power bar and get in the habit of turning it off and on.
Flat screen TVs
A flat screen TV that remains plugged in can cost you up to $160 a year in electricity bills, which is quite costly. If left on in cooler weather, they can also generate a lot of heat and warm up a room, causing the need for AC to increase. Remember to always shut them off when not in use, and if really keen, keep them unplugged (and not just for an hour…).
It doesn’t matter if you’re using a desktop or laptop (or if you’re a Mac or a PC user), we can probably all do much better at taking care of our computer’s energy usage. Set your computer to sleep when not in use (avoid bright screensavers), or get in the habit of shutting down more regularly. Yearly energy costs for desktop computers are about $40/year, and laptops about $19/year.
Tablet, cellphone, and laptop charging cords
Laptop, phone, and other personal device charging cords often get plugged in by a bed or in a living space and then left to sit and suck energy. Turn off their power bar when not in use, or unplug and pack them up if you don’t need them.
Surround Sound systems and speakers
When the music stops playing, or when we shut off the television for the night, it can be easy to forget that you’ve left the whole sound system on. And while it might be nice to have your wireless speakers kick in right away when you’re turning on tunes in the other room, get in the habit of turning these off and on (some speakers will even offer sleep modes to help you improve your energy use). During Earth Hour, remember to unplug your speakers, and enjoy the sweet sound of silence.
Household items with a clock
Items like your microwave or DVD player are constantly performing a function— telling time—which means they are using up energy, on top of the fact that being plugged in drains energy too! Unplug them for Earth Hour and be prepared to re-set the clocks when you’re finished.
This may be obvious, but turn off your lights! Getting in the habit of regularly turning off the lights when they’re not in use is something we can probably all get much better at (and save ourselves a lot of money in the process!).
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