Challenge #1: Saving energy is easy!

Try and unplug all chargers and electrical devices that you’re not using.

Be as consistent as possible and try to make a habit out of it.

Remember to unplug

They can’t do without electricity. They can do with less electricity.”

-Kenneth Lay

There are more and more electrical devices, machines and even cars on the market and of course in our homes every single day. People tend to think of the electricity as a green power, but the latter is only true in the case of renewable energy – solar, wind, tidal, wave, geothermal, biomass, waste incineration, landfill gas and hydroelectric power plants.

It sure sounds like there is a lot of green electricity providers out there. But in fact, all of the mentioned above represent less than 25 % of the electricity produced on a global scale. In the US alone, that number is less than 15 %. The coal-fired power plants are still the most common; they currently fuel 41% of global electricity.

coal-fired power plants

“Almost every way we make electricity today, except for the emerging renewables and nuclear, puts out CO2. And so, what we’re going to have to do at a global scale, is create a new system. And so, we need energy miracles.”

Bill Gates

If you are interested in finding out more about your country’s electricity production, you can check it here.

As you can see, we can help our planet by reducing electricity consumption.

The truth about phone chargers

Let’s get back to this week’s challenge. It’s been talked about phone charges being plugged into sockets while not charging our phones quite a lot over the past few years. That might have been a problem with older phones. But due to technology progress made in that field, modern phone chargers use less than 0.3 watt per hours. Most are really close to 0 nowadays.

plugs

But you’ll be using about 2 watts/h if your phone is attached and fully charged, which usually happens during the night. It’s still not a lot but if we look beyond our own energy bill it suddenly starts to take on more significance: some fast calculations suggest that if all US phone users unplugged after charging, enough energy would be saved to power a town with the population of about 250,000 people.

Devices with higher consumption

Moreover, there are many other devices that use way more energy even when turned off. For instance, let us take a look at the average microwave:

  •  ON: 10 minutes x 1000 watts = 167 watt-hours
  • OFF: 23 hours and 50 minutes x 7 watts = 167 watt-hours

Shocking, right?! And there’s a lot of others “electricity vampires” in your home – TVs, VCRs, computers, printers, DVD players, video game consoles, cable TV boxes and many other devices.

It’s true that a lot of modern devices use less than 5 watts in standby, but we all have more than one device in our home. Don’t forget that 1 watt per hour adds up to 8.8 kWh per year.

How much can you save?

The Energy Saving Trust reckons that the average household can save up to $120 a year by unplugging all of the devices that are on standby or connected to the mains during the night.

So, I guess this challenge has an extra feature since you won’t be only helping the environment but also your budget. 😉

Make unplugging easier

Since we know unplugging all devices every day can be really frustrating and time-consuming, we found it useful to use different types of power strips. For devices that you use simultaneously, you can use smart strips. But we really like power switches that allow you to switch each socket individually. There are also power switches with timers available. And for those of you who’d like to make it even more comfortable: switches with remote control.

Take-home points:
  • in most cases, producing electricity has a bad impact on nature;
  • try not to charge your phone over the night;
  • unplug the devices that you’re not using;
  • make the latter easier with power switches;
  • BONUS: save some extra cash.

We hope you’ve learned something new and that you’ll do your best to make a habit out of unplugging devices.

We also invite you to leave your comments below.

Cheers,

Good Earthlings

10 comments

  1. Lynne says:

    Great article thank you. I live in South Africa and we have a big power problem here.
    Our power company Eskom just cannot supply our country with enough power. We are having daily electricity cuts throughout winter which they call load shedding. They basically give each town/ area a turn every day to go without power for a few hours.
    Thanks for these tips, if everyone in South Africa took note of these we might be in a better position.

    • Good Earthling says:

      We’ve heard of that, yeah. It must be really awful. For most of us it’s really impossible to imagine being without electricity. Even if it’s just for few minutes, let alone for a few hours. :S
      You should really share our post with as many people as possible. Together we/you can make a difference.
      With kind regards,
      Good Earthlings

    • Elias says:

      I love these topics, I’m an electronics engineer and I work in the power supplies industry and I know a lot about energy consumption, you are right even when you are not charging your phone, this little charger that you plug into your wall, is a small power supply of it’s own, and it will consume some minimal energy due to leakage currents in the inside circuitry, individually this might seem negligible, and indeed it is, but when looking at the larger picture that every single person have a charger plugged in the wall that isn’t charging, the overall cost will start to scale up. Good you pointed to that as not many know this stuff.

      • Good Earthling says:

        We’re really glad to hear that you like our topic. We also hope you’ll join in on our challenge.
        All best,
        Good Earthlings

      • Alec Terry says:

        I find that I am guilty of doing a lot of the things that were mentioned here, especially leaving my phone plugged up even when its fully charged. Definitely not a good practice

        I think that Bill Gates had a great point that even though electric power itself is clean, we create pollutants in the creation of it. Some food for though I guess.

        • Good Earthling says:

          We are all “guilty” of similar small stuff, since we don’t even think about it. But what really matters is, if we are willing to improve our ways, once we are told how to do that. 😉
          Take care, Good Earthlings

        • Michael says:

          I always need points and advice when it comes to caring for this earth. Life is busy. Kids, house and work take all your time and thoughts, leaving you thinking wow who knows how long that tv is left on with no one in the room. Let alone unplug it. I like the idea of timers on the plugs, I can make the needed changes in my life and it be done for me to allow the habit to stick in. I want to do my part and stop having to feel guilty that I am hurting more then helping.

          • Good Earthling says:

            Hey Michael!

            We are pleased to hear that. It’s great to hear that you’re willing to make changes, since that is basically all we have to do. By changing our habits, we can make the world a better place. Stay in touch.

            Love, Good Earthlings

          • Dejan says:

            Hello there,
            I was actually thinking about this because we have an enormous amount of devices connected to electricity 24/7. But I just can’t imagine myself unplugging and plugging in so many devices daily. Perhaps if I would try to connect more of them to one connector and just turn that off. Some food for though I guess. Thanks for the article!