Episode 8 - Your Energy - Reduce, Reuse, Relax?

Welcome to 1000 Ways Green! The show where we are going to give busy people like you easy ways to help save the planet for our future generations.

This week’s episode is going to step away from our series on how to remove plastic from our lives (I feel like the older I get the more ADHD I get with things) but I plan on coming back to wrap up that series after this episode. Instead this week we’re going to look at how to reduce your energy waste, reuse that money savings so you can hopefully relax with more money and energy staying with you. Why should you care? 1. Most of the energy we use today is still being created by fossil fuels that are creating greenhouse gasses. 2. Any energy you waste means you have to make more of it and therefore pay more to meet your needs. So…onto this week’s three things:

Mint Green level: Your mint green challenge this week is to simply do your wash on cold rather than warm or hot. 75% of all energy use in washing clothes comes from the heating of the water. Most stains still come out in the cold if you use a stain remover.

Shamrock Green level: Your shamrock green challenge this week is to make pasta but turn off the heat. Once you have brought the water to a boil, added the pasta and brought it back to a boil, you can turn off the burner, add 1-2 minutes to the time it takes to cook your pasta and it will come out the same with about half of the energy used. To make this work you need to put a cover on your pot while boiling and after you turn off the heat. By doing this you’ll emit less greenhouse gasses and save you money! Then tell your friends about it.

Forest green level: For your forest green level this week I’m challenging you to stop letting vampires steal your energy! No, I’m not talking about the sparkly Twilight vampires of Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series but the vampires that you have connected to your walls. Anything you have plugged into an outlet right now is using electricity and costing you money and creating GHGs (greenhouse gas emissions) for our planet. This is costing you somewhere between $100-$400 dollars a year and America between 10-19 billion dollars every year. So…what can you do? There are 3 options:

  1. Unplug all of your devices and power strips when you’re not using them. Yeah, to be the cheapest and biggest you’d need to do this, but it is a huge pain which is why this is the forest green level. However there are two other options that aren’t as hard.

  1. Buy some smart outlets. These are outlets you plug into your normal wall outlets but they let you turn them on and off from your phone or a smart assistant (Google home, Siri, Alexa). The added bonus with these is that you can also program them to automatically turn on and do things based on times or commands you give them. For example, maybe you want your coffee machine to turn on every morning when you tell Alexa “Good morning”. Or maybe you want your lights to flash green and yellow every time the Packers win! Ok, that last one might just be me to my wife’s unhappiness (she’s a bear’s fan), but the point is you can also have them do a lot for you.

  1. Buy Smart Energy Saving Power Strips. I’ve got two of these and they are great. They have one control outlet and a bunch of children outlets. When you have the item in the control outlet (let’s say your TV) turn off and go into sleep mode, all of the things plugged into the children outlets automatically turn off and stop pulling power. So it is almost like pulling the plug for all of them by turning off your TV. While both of these last two options cost money, remember you’re giving $100-$400 a year to the vampires so these will pay for themselves pretty fast.

I’ve got links to smart outlets and smart power strips I like in the show notes but they are becoming more common so you can find them in lots of places these days. Thanks for listening, that is it for this week. Next week I’m going to try to wrap up the series on plastic removal in your home. Thank you for listening and remember that we make the biggest impact when we do this en masse, so tell a friend about the show and post to social media all the good work you’re doing. Until next time, be green and be seen.