I used to be the leader of the local Green Team at my company. We have teams like this at our major locations to help with recycling and other “Green” initiatives.
A while back, we had a conference for all our Green team leaders to get together to share ideas. We brought together the leaders from some of the various teams around the country. We had a goal to share best practices and listen to some speakers on various topics relating to social responsibility. I was one of the lucky ones from Salt Lake team who were able to attend.
Note: This post may contain affiliate links, ‘cuz I like to provide my family with the necessities of life, such as Nutella and Netflix – once you have those, what else do you need? However, my opinions, as always, are my own.
One topic that caught my attention was the Kill-a-Watt program developed by our Vancouver team. They were concentrating on reducing power bill costs. We want to teach our employees to power down equipment that isn’t being used. And not just turn it off, but teach them to unplug it. It’s called “Vampire Power” – the small amount of power that’s used whenever an item is plugged into the outlet.
They purchased these special meters called a Kill-a-Watt meter. This gadget allows you to measure exactly how a piece of equipment will cost on your power bill. It’s pretty cool. You enter the rate for your local power company and then you just plug the equipment in for a couple of hours. Bingo! It tells you exactly the cost per hour. You should measure it both when the equipment is running and idle.
For about $20 and a little bit of your time, you could save hundreds of dollars a year on your power bill. We bought a dozen of them so employees can try them at home. I’m embarrassed to say that I left my printer and scanner on while I was gone (oops!), so I’d really like to see how much it would have saved if I’d thought to turn them off.
Some tips – use a dedicated power strip so you can quickly and easily power off all your little vampires without getting down on the floor. Be careful to separate things that can be powered off (cell phone chargers, blow dryers, lamps) from things that shouldn’t be powered off (refrigerators, Tivo units, possibly TV’s).
You will want to check your owner’s manuals to make sure that it won’t hurt your appliances to power them down repeatedly. Fridges are the largest power users, but you shouldn’t power them down with food in them. Salmonella anyone? You’ll want to measure the cost savings from buying in bulk vs. the power drain of a 2nd freezer. And always buy the most energy-efficient model you can afford.
If you have tried this, I’d love to hear how much you saved with this idea.