Time Change – Time to Reflect

About the author: Rob Lawrence joined EPA in 1990 and is Senior Policy Advisor on Energy Issues in the Dallas, TX regional office. As an economist, he works to insure that both supply and demand components are addressed as the Region develops its Clean Energy and Climate Change Strategy.

With the recent change to set clocks forward a couple of weeks ago, now would be a great time to think about your personal power usage.

As you went around changing those clocks, especially the electrically powered ones, did it seem that you had more and more to do this year? One of the biggest uses of electrical power in your home or office is also very discretionary.

If you have a school-age child at home (or you can do it yourself), have them draw a map of your residence, mark every electrical outlet and inventory its use. What is plugged in 24 hours a day? Ask if those lights and appliances are necessary to be “standing by” for use? For example, in my kitchen, the coffee maker and the microwave are next to one another. Both come with clock features and when plugged in are both using power 24 hours a day. Unless you have your coffee maker come on before you wake up, does it need to be plugged in all day? Does anyone need the microwave to come on at certain time or do you really need to have it run for a set number of minutes? Unplug it when not in use.

image of several clocks on mantel

And not all of these energy users have clocks. Why does an electric toothbrush need to be plugged in 24 hours when it is only going to be used a couple of times a day? Consider plugging it in for charging when you get into the shower or during the nightly news and then unplugging it after each use.

Don’t get me started on all of the chargers for personal and work cell phones, Blackberries/PDAs, cameras, and iPod/MP3 players that are plugged into the grid, but never seem to be charging any device. Do you have a television and DVD player in a guest bedroom waiting to be used? Unplug until the guest arrives.

Reduce your electrical power demand. Reduce your home electricity bill. Reduce your personal carbon footprint.