January 9th, 2009 Categories: Green Living
Living a greener lifestyle in Northern Virginia – or anywhere for that matter – doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. In fact, these 3 tips for green living all have the potential to save you money if you are willing to do your homework.
The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that, in the average home, 75% of the electricity that powers electronic devices (televisions, computers and kitchen appliances) is used when the devices are not even turned on. This is because many electronic devices still draw “phantom” power when turned off. This can be remedied by unplugging appliances when not in use, or more easily, connecting appliances to a power strip that can be turned off with the flick of a switch. An even handier, and perhaps more feasible solution is to purchase a “smart” power strip that automatically turns off devices when not in use.
For most devices, it is worth considering rechargeable batteries instead of disposable batteries. While the initial cost of rechargeable batteries is usually higher, their use can bring savings over time. Batteries use very little electricity to charge, but be sure to unplug the charger when not in use or after the batteries have finished charging. We just switched to rechargeable batteries for our digital camera and portable listening devices and have already seen savings.
Home computers aren’t enormous energy hogs, but there are a few misconceptions about them that lead to increased energy usage. One is the belief that computers will have a longer life if left on at all times. This isn’t completely true, as some hardware wears out faster when the computer is left on. Another misconception is that screensavers reduce the amount of energy used by monitors. This isn’t the case, as the screensaver requires energy for your computer to run it. Putting a computer into sleep mode will save more energy all-around and is a way to compromise between leaving the computer on or turning it off. Computers that are used frequently throughout the day will benefit more from sleep mode and use less power than if simply left on; computers used less often are best powered down to save on energy and incur less wear.
What about you? Any New Year’s resolutions for a greener lifestyle in 2009?