Earth Week Challenge #3: Power Down

Earth Week Challenge #3: Power DownEach day, we rely on electricity to light our homes and offices, power our appliances, and charge our electronics. Many people also depend on electricity to fill their homes with hot water, heat, and air conditioning.

Unfortunately, the cost of electricity is going up, both in dollars and in environmental and health impacts, and it doesn’t show signs of stopping.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 86 percent of the nation’s power comes from fossil fuels, such as coal, oil, and natural gas, which are natural resources used to generate energy.

By using less energy, and greening the electricity we do use, we can lighten our carbon footprint.

Why Is This Important?

Powering down and saving energy benefits the environment, the economy, and our health:

  • Environmental problems such as global warming, acid rain, and water pollution are all results of fossil fuels that are produced and used in excess. 
  • Implementing an efficient energy system can reduce energy costs by $500 per household each year.
  • Ground-level ozone is produced from vehicle pollution, consumer products, and power plants. This kind of pollution can cause coughing, throat irritation, and aggravated asthma. Energy conservation reduces these emissions and the pollution they cause, which can save lives.

Take Action

Here are a few tips to get you started:

1. Switch off the lights

Turn out the lights when you leave the room or in an area that is unoccupied. 

2. Unplug your electronics

Many appliances and devices draw as much as 15-20 watts of power, even when they’re turned off. Unplug your devices and reduce your utility bills and carbon emissions simultaneously.

3. Take advantage of sunlight

During the day, work in rooms with windows where you do not need artificial light.

4. Adjust your computer settings

Switch to your energy-saving settings and set your computer to sleep-mode for when you are away from your desk. A computer in sleep mode can save up to 70 percent of power.

5. Install "smart" power strips

These power strips will shut down the power to devices in standby mode, saving you about 5 to 10 percent of your total household electric consumption. 

6. Go natural

The average blow dryer uses about 1,875 watts of power per hour. Whenever possible, do not blow-dry your hair.

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