Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Day Six - A Bright Idea

SHUTTING OFF THE LIGHTS (when not in use)

OK, I thought I was doing the right thing by purchasing the ultra energy efficient CFL lightbulbs, then I started reading some more and got all freaked out about the mercury and plastic they contain. Plus the fact that they come in giant plastic packages that require a pick axe to open is a bit off-putting. So then I thought I'd switch back to regular lightbulbs, but then I'm wasting energy and contributing additional CO2 to the atmosphere. After doing more research, though, I found that I STILL HAVE NO CLUE WHICH IS BETTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT. So I'm just going to shut the lights off.

Don't think I'm typing here in the dark, because I'm not. I have on the lights I need to see. What I don't have on are the front porch light, the entry light, the upstairs hall light, the light in the corner that's wwaaaaaayyyyyy over there and the light in the bathroom that we usually forget about. Sadly, that's the number of lights that are usually on in my house for at LEAST eight hours each day, when they really don't need to be. Starting today, they will be shut off when not in use. As will any other lights or appliances that normally just hang out on standby, waiting for someone to need them (the printer, the cable box, DVD player, etc.).


Let's forget about the other ancillary appliances and just talk about the lights for now. Two of these lights use two bulbs and the other three use one. That's a total seven light bulbs, each burning at 60 watts, unnecessarily, for a minimum of eight hours per day. Assuming they still have the old lightbulbs in them that's 3.36 kWh per day, 1,226.4 kWh per year. That's a CO2 savings of over 1500 lbs per year. Nice. I get the added bonus of saving money on my electric bill, which runs roughly $0.061 per kWh, making an annual savings of $74.81 for lights I'm not even using. Looks like there'll be a little something extra in my Christmas bonus this year :-)


Not too difficult for me to do, but I feel like I'm constantly nagging everyone else in the house. There will definitely be an adjustment period for this one. Ethan even asked me "Mommy, why we don't have all the lights on?", like it's totally unnatural to turn them off occasionally. Sad, eh?


Jennifer said...

Hi Erin!

Not sure what your local electricity provider is in NY- but here in PA we use PPL and an additional feature, aside from paperless billing and an online payment, is that they have a way for you to go down a checklist as to how many appliances, your home core components (furnace, heat type, do you have a fireplace, etc to name a few) and when you finish the q&a- they give you a pie-graph of energy used, dollar amounts as to how much used per year and ideas to save. It is definately an eye-opener and helps! We saved $125 using this option over a 3 month period. Again, look into your provider to see what's offered.

Heather said...

I haven't done the research, but LED bulbs may be promising. No mercury - not sure if packaged in plastic or not. Might be able to request them without packaging.


Anonymous said...

I came across your blog and because it was so fascinating, I started reading from day one. Good for you on going green! Anyway, when I read this one, I immediately turned off my printer. After thinking about it, I realized it's on 24/7 and I use it to print 4-8 pages/month. Sad, but I am going to be better about it! Thanks for the reminder!