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Global Stewards - Green Eco Tips for Sustainable Living

Take the Zero-Volt Challenge to Reduce Your Electric Bill!

Permanently reduce your electric bill quickly and easily with the zero-volt challenge! If you have kids, inviting them to help can be a great way to teach the importance of conserving energy.

The Problem:

With so many household devices - both appliances and electronics - in use today, it's easy to lose track of how many we're paying to keep plugged in that aren't actually adding any value to our lives. Many modern devices use a surprising amount of standby power when turned off - up to a whopping 25% of your electric bill could just go toward powering idle devices. Other devices, such as second refrigerators or freezers, cost hundreds of dollars a year to run, but may not be worth the extra expense. And some unused devices may simply have been plugged in at some point in the past and forgotten. And, finally, if any light fixtures still have old incandescent bulbs, these cost considerably more to use than LED bulbs.

Energy Conservation - Conserve Energy with the Zero-Volt Challenge!The Solution:

Quickly identify and minimize unneeded expenses in three easy steps:

  1. Print one or more copies of the zero-volt worksheet
  2. Walk through your home and garage, switching off heating/cooling as needed (even if gas-powered, some electricity may be used), turning off lights and unplugging devices*- refrigerator last - until your outside electric meter stops running.** List everything that is turned off or unplugged on the worksheets, adding notes as you go of additional opportunities to save:

    • Smart Power Strip Needed: consider buying smart power strips for frequently used devices that consume standby power so that they shut down completely when turned off. For less frequently used devices, consider only plugging them in when needed (i.e., extra TVs, unused entertainment electronics, guest room devices, computer accessories, small kitchen appliances, device chargers (use energy even when not charging), garage equipment).
    • LED Bulb Needed: If you notice any incandescent bulbs in your light fixtures, make a note to switch these to LED. If it's an outdoor light or a frequently used closet light, switching to a motion and light sensitive bulb can cut expenses further.
    • Filter Needed: Make a note to buy any needed filters for your heater, air conditioner and/or air cleaner to improve efficiency.
  3. Walk back through your home and garage, re-plugging and turning on only what's really needed and adds enough value to be worth your hard earned money to power. Since the refrigerator is pulled out, could also clean the refrigerator coils to improve efficiency.

That’s it - very simple, but results in surprising cost savings!

* IMPORTANT Only unplug a device if it is safe for both you and the device!

** While you're at it, take a moment to turn off any running water and check the water meter to make sure it's zero. This is a quick way to find hidden leaks (the most common being a leaking toilet flapper).

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