Challengicious Monday: Slay Your Vampires

>> Monday, May 3, 2010

Mondays are challengicious at The Conscious Shopper. Here's your next energy-related challenge:

Slay Your Vampires

To complete this challenge, you can...


  • Unplug, unplug, unplug.
    • Unplug the adapters when your cell phones, laptops, and iPods are finished charging.
    • Unplug your microwaves, coffee makers, and toaster ovens when you're done with them.
    • Unplug your TVs, DVD players, and stereos when you're not using them, or at least at the end of the day.
  • Use a power strip. Since power strips don't draw energy when they're switched off, you can cluster like-groups of appliances and electronics around power strips so you only have to flip one switch to turn them all off. If that's still too hard, you can get power strips with timers or even special sensors that detect when your electronics are not in use.
  • Buy fewer products that require electricity. Keep it simple by avoiding products with bells and whistles. For example, do you really need a toaster or coffee maker with a digital display? Could you get buy with a traditional phone that plugs into the wall rather than a cordless phone?
According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, the extra energy use from vampires "represents a relatively small but growing percentage of an individual home’s electricity use (about five percent), but taken across all U.S. households, 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."

Just to clarify: you only need to unplug products that use electricity even when they're off. One easy way to tell is if it has a digital screen, if it uses a remote, or if it charges. VCR? Yes. Hair dryer? Probably not. TV? Yes. Toaster? Probably not. Cell phone? Yes. Lamp? Probably not.

Have you ever wondered how much electricity your appliances and electronics actually use? Have some fun with a Kill-a-Watt at Pragmatic Environmentalism.

Will you take the challenge?

You have hereby been challenged to go green in a year without going broke! Check out the last challenge, or view the whole list of Challengicious Mondays. Sign up for my RSS feed, follow me on Twitter, and join my "Go Green without Going Broke" group on Facebook!


Zee @GreenBlossoms May 4, 2010 at 4:32 AM  

Unplug, unplug, unplug -- I should constantly remind family members about this, including myself! Yes, I'm guilty of being an energy vampire too. A few days ago I forgot to unplug my laptop and the TV! I'm starting to think it's a great idea to put sticky notes in every room in the house to remind everyone.

Power strips are great, we use them around the house and it's great having to flip just one switch to turn everything off. Great tip!

Wonder-ful May 4, 2010 at 10:02 AM  

This is pretty timely given our high energy bills. We're getting a handicap van in the next week and we're going to have to reduce our bills and put the savings toward paying off the van. Very excited! Means I can get away with unplugging things like a madwoman, but have an excuse that is valid with the rest of the household :D

Erin aka Conscious Shopper May 4, 2010 at 8:38 PM  

@Zee - I am definitely more in the habit than my husband...but the kids remind us both!

@Wonder-ful - Awesome!

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