Several years back my family and I restored a home from 1940s that had huge energy issues. During our initial inspection we noticed the first big problem with the home — it didn’t have any insulation! We couldn’t find insulation in the attic, nothing in the walls, nothing under the floor – no insulation was found anywhere! Can you imagine trying to heat or cool a home in Florida with no insulation?
As you can guess, we had insulation installed immediately, but we didn’t stop there. We utilized every resource we had to make sure we were consuming the least amount of energy as possible.
- Batt Insulation was added inside any wall that was rebuilt;
- Foam Outlet Insulators were placed behind all light sockets and outlets;
- Door Draft blocks were used on all exterior doors; and
- We applied caulking to all windows, exterior doors, and baseboards.
Another issue we had with the home was with our electrical wiring and outlets. Before we were able to have the home re-wired we utilized power surge protestant strips to protect our appliances and to easily turn systems off when they were not in use. Not only was this practice protecting our home (family) from fire, but we quickly realized that this practice was helping to reduce our phantom energy usage too.
Why does phantom (idle, or vampire) energy matter?
There are some that suggest phantom energy is so ¹minuscule, it doesn’t matter, BUT when you combine all of the phantom energy consumed by U.S. households, it adds up to billions of unnecessary expense and waste. Specifically, phantom energy consumption ² adds up to an estimated 65 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity each year. This extra electricity costs consumers more than $5.8 billion annually and sends more than 87 billion pounds of heat-trapping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year.
Every home in the U.S. is battling phantom energy. The most ³preventative culprit is with our rechargeable devices. My family battles with devices being charged overnight, being left on charge too long, or chargers remaining plugged into the wall with the device removed. There is a simple solution for this problem — start using a timer!
Set a timer on your device (or even with a traditional timer) that reminds you to unplug it.
This is my entry idea into the Energy Savings Superstar Contest at Lennox.
Are you entering the contest too? Entering the Energy Savings Superstar Contest is really easy but we only have TEN MORE DAYS left to enter! All you have to do is:
- Provide a description of your energy-saving tip in 200 words or less.
- Upload a photo no more than 2MB in size depicting your energy savings tip. Have some fun with it and share your personality along with your idea.
- Tell Lennox a little bit about yourself.
Taking a few minutes out of your day to enter could help you with BIG Prizes!!!
- $10,000 in Lennox® heating and air conditioning equipment
- A year supply of ice cream
- Tickets to the closest local water park
Do you have a Superstar Energy Savings Tip to Share?
Enter the Sweepstakes HERE.
¹ Green Lantern: Charging electronic devices overnight, Washington Post, (Oct., 2009). Retrieved from: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/10/26/AR2009102602416.html
² Sustainability Tip #10, Phantom Energy, Bates Sustainability, Bates College Green Tips (April, 2006). Retrieved from: http://www.bates.edu/Prebuilt/PhantomEnergy.pdf
³ Standby Power Summary Table, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Retrieved from: http://standby.lbl.gov/summary-table.html