Sustainable You

Sustainability and the Built Environment

4900/6900 Wk 10: Energy

Response due at the beginning of class on 3/22.

This week you will be focusing on learning about your individual energy and money saving habits in your home/daily life. Having this information will be invaluable throughout your life. Of all the websites and resources I’ve visited regarding energy/money savings, I have been consistently impressed with the quality of the Georgia Power website on money and saving tips. It is just so well done, informative and super easy to use. For your 5pt post on the website this week, please:

1 Visit the Georgia Power Save Money and Energy Links and search through the website (it is a sea of information).

2. Please find a minimum of 3 useful pieces of information you’ve learned from this website. Discuss what you learned and why it is useful to you personally or your future career.

3. Do the virtual tour for each room in the home and read about all the various areas of the home in which you can save money and energy.

4. After you’ve done the virtual tour please consider your current house, or your permanent residence, while you are doing the virtual. Discuss all the ways your home could benefit from the tips given from the virtual tour.

5.  Energy Vampires —

Take a glance at this  media article and video PSA regarding the fact and fictions of energy consumption in terms of everyday energy vampires.  Combined, our daily use of “energy vampires” make-up 1% of the carbon dioxide emission (greenhouse gas).

The author, Lori Bongiorno, does a good job breaking down “Energy Vampires: Fact versus Fiction.” I found the information really helpful because I often hear things about what I should be doing, but I don’t really know why I should be doing it, or what is the real benefit, if any. Articles like this make it easier for me to tackle the fact vs. fiction aspect of energy consumption issues.

After reading the article and watching the video, please ponder and share your thoughts with us regarding the following questions:

5a.. What types of standby power products from the list made by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) did you see that when compared in the ON/OFF status made you want to consider turning them off when not in use

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Filed under: Sustainable Design

18 Responses

  1. ashley Walker says:

    1. visit GApower.com

    2. One of the most helpful pieces of information for me would be the 10 tips on saving energy and money. This is helpful because starting a family and not having a full time job right now I am looking for numerous ways that we can save money. The best tip for me was tip number one and the tip stated to keep your thermostats at 78 in the summer and 68 in the winter. hopefully these will be comfortable temperatures so I can try to abide by this rule. another helpful piece of information was the tips on why your bill may be so high. keeping these tips in mind myself and my family can be conscious of how we use the energy int he house. The last piece of information that is helpful is the lighting section. I was not aware that the type of light bulb you use can have an effect on your light bill. I would like to install florescent light bulbs all through the house so maybe that will cut down on our bill.

    3. virtual tour

    4. one of the tips that can be applied to my home is the dishwasher tip in the kitchen. Our dishwasher is terrible and it does not clean the dishes like it should so we always end up running the dishwasher twice and that is costing money and energy so now that we are going to replace the dishwasher I am going to look out for energy star model. I need to make sure that all of my air vents are open so that air can flow freely in my home and energy wont be wasted. We have a portable dehumidifier because my sons nose gets stuffed up easily but I would like a permanent one installed in the house so I will try to find a energy star dehumidifier.

    5. things that I keep plugged in even when they don’t need to be plugged in are my laptop, my phone charger and my DVD player. I fee like I I get into the habit of unplugging those when my phone and laptop are fully charged or when I am not watching TV then I could contribute to saving more energy.

  2. Samantha Morton says:

    2. On the Energy Star Website I clicked on the link titled “Home Saving Tips” and then again on “How to Save Money and Energy at Home” While scrolling through the laundry list of small but significant changes I recognized most tips and tricks. However, while reading through the refrigeration section I learned that it is more energy efficient to keep the items in one’s refrigerator in the center (and away from interior walls) because cool air can circulate better. Also, by putting a refrigerator in your garage or any other un-air conditioned space you are actually putting additional pressure for the refrigerator to keep food cool. The last bit of interesting information I found was the importance of using a pot the same size (or larger) than the burner on which it is cooking. This makes perfect sense, but you waste 40% of the energy being released if the pot were just two inches smaller than the diameter of the burner.
    These bits of information are relevant to my major because efficiency is at that core of economics. Two of my major interests are alternative energy and green design. One of the most important elements to “green” building is there placement with respect to the sun’s patterns. By angling windows to catch the most light during the day allows a house to heat up naturally. Heating and cooling were highlighted as 50% of energy wasted in the average home today. Maybe someday I will have to use my knowledge of natural patterns in a future career involved in the design aspect.
    4. At my parent’s we have made good improvements like buying a new washer and dryer that is energy star approved but we are lacking in other areas like with an old water heater. We could wrap our water heater in an insulating type blanket to take some of the pressure off the heater and conserve energy. We could also invest in a ton more CFL’s. Lastly, our roof has had a long history of issues. We probably are losing a lot of heating and cooling via our roof. Better insulation is on the to-do list right behind… new roof.
    5. The Garage door opener is one item that really stuck out to me. I am fairly diligent with unplugging any appliances when not in use, however the garage door is one I have never thought of. So even if I was an extremist and was entirely on top of my game of tackling vampire energy, this is one culprit I cold do nothing about. It would be insanely impractical to have the garage door opener unplugged except when in use because that would leave you getting out of your car to open the house to run inside and plug the interior opener back in- all this just to park your car. The garage door opener at the ready uses 4.48 watts on average, which is nothing to shake a stick at.

  3. Katie Jones says:

    1. N/A
    2. I learned a lot from the Georgia Power website, but the information that I found particularly interesting were the tips on how to make your home more energy efficient. For example, I had no idea how to properly seal ductwork and how that directly effected the energy a home consumed. According to the website, “gaps in joints and at plenums can cause your heating and cooling bills to increase by as much as 30% and can allow air contaminants to enter the home. Although this seems like common sense, I had never really thought about how compacted my walls were and how much energy they could potentially let out. Another tip that I wasn’t particularly aware of was the advice to “wrap electric water heaters with insulated blankets.” This makes sense I just never thought of this idea in order to save energy. I was also being wasteful when it came to my stove consumption. I never knew how much more energy it required to heat something on the stove or oven than in the microwave and toaster. For example, I always grew up making my oatmeal on the stove rather than in the microwave. However, know that I understand the impact this has on the environment, I will definitely start heating the packets and water in the microwave. I also didn’t know the importance of using the correct sized pot when cooking something on the stove. Up until now, I just used the pot that was the cleanest, disregarding how big it may be. However, now that I know how much more energy it requires to heat, I will now make sure to wait on a smaller pot rather than using the one most readily available.
    4. Most all the tips recommended by the virtual tour, can be better incorporated into my current living situation. Although, I am pretty good, especially after this semester, when it comes to most of the tips explained on the website, my roommates on other hand could learn a thing or too. One of my pet-peeves, is when people put dirty dishes that haven’t been thoroughly scraped and cleaned into the dishwasher. This can definitely be improved upon at my house. Almost all of our appliances need to be replaced and changed to Energy Star goods. My house also has an issue with turning out every single light whenever someone leaves the room. Multiple times a day I will have to walk around the house and turn off the lights that they forgot about. Another tip that can be incorporated into my current house is keeping the thermostat at a consistent temperature. All of my roommates, except for one, and I all generally get more hot than cold. However, one of my roommates is freakishly always cold and will try and constantly switch the air, even though we have already decided on a median temperature that we should always keep the thermostat on. As a result, we end up spending much more energy and money on air conditioning/heating than needed. Finally, our house can definitely do better when it comes to the amount of laundry we do on a weekly basis. Instead of combining all our dirty garments into one big load, we individually will run the washer and dryer all week and therefore consume much more energy than we should.
    5. There were quite a few items that I wasn’t aware were using so much energy and that I have now since switched off. For example, my electronic toothbrush. Even though it is 100 percent charged, I have always just kept it in its charger and left the charger constantly plugged in the wall. Another item is my sound-machine. Because it has a clock, it uses constant energy even though I only have it turned on at night. Another genre of products that I have trouble with are all the devices connected to my tv. I not only have a cable box but I also have a dvd player, a tivo, and an apple tv box. Even if I were to just unplug the dvd player and the apple tv, when not in use, I would save sufficiently more energy.

  4. Katherine Holland says:

    1. Searched through “Georgia Power Save Money and Energy Links.”

    2. I enjoyed searching through the “Home Savings Tip” link on the Georgia Power website. The home savings tips are for customers who are interested in saving energy and money in their home. The first tip of information I found to be interesting was the online thermostat that can be adjusted to learn about temperature control and savings. For example, the recommended temperature setting during summer is seventy-eight degrees. By keeping the AC setting at seventy-nine degrees, you could save up to 3% on your bill. Setting your thermostat to seventy-seven degrees can set you back about 2% more each month. It was interesting to see how much money every degree setting would cost me. I feel that by seeing the cost differences will make me more aware when I go to change to temperature. Knowing this information will help me cut energy costs to save money each month. Another tip of information I found useful was on the importance of choosing to have an electric water heater. The reasons to choose an electric water heater include: less worry/no pilot light, less fumes, no ventilation problems, the unit itself lasts longer and requires lower upkeep, and it is an opportunity to save about $30.00 per month on an electric bill. After reading this, I feel it might effect my living situation. When I set out to find a place to live after college/after living with my parents, I want to live in a place with energy efficient appliances. Knowing this information will help me as I learn to budget and save money for the future. The last area of information I found to be useful was the “Top Ten Energy Efficiency Tips.” It was interesting to see what percent of home energy goes to certain areas of the home. I will use the tips on how to keep up with my home to save money and create a more efficient home environment.

    3. Took the virtual tour for each room in the home and saw ways to save money and energy.

    4. I definitely found some ways in which my home could benefit from some tips given in the virtual tour. First, by replacing appliances with energy star qualified appliances, I can save money and conserve energy in my kitchen and laundry room. I have a leaky faucet and by fixing it I will not only conserve water but also save money on bills. Next, by adding power strips to outlets in my current residence, I can eliminate standby power consumption to conserve energy according to the GA Power website. Another tip I want to try from this site is setting my computer to be on sleep mode. This change is so easy and will use less energy and save money. The next tip I found to be beneficial was for my ceiling fan. I was unaware that if I increase my thermostat setting by two degrees and turn on my ceiling fan, I can lower energy costs by 14%! The last tip I would like to pick up is more online billing instead of billing through the postal service. This will not only reduce paper waste but it will also allow me to easily manage my home energy budget.

    5. For the most part I am pretty good at turning off and unplugging electronics when not in use. After looking over the list of “Standby Power Products” made by LBNL, I saw some electronics that I will now consider turning off more frequently. The products that I am not good about unplugging include my night-lights, inkjet printer, and my laptop. After seeing the effects of switching these appliances off, I will now make a habit out of it to save energy and reduce utility costs.

  5. Megan Greene says:

    1. N/A
    2. I learned a lot of useful information by just looking at the top 10 energy saving tips for the home. At home, the thermostats are always around 78 degrees in the summer and 68 degrees in the winter. I just thought that my parents did this because those were comfortable temperatures, and I was always complaining that it was either too hot or too cold. However, this method is actually extremely effective in reducing energy and costs. You can save over $100 and avoid drastic increases in energy use by sticking to these temperatures. My dorm at school is frequently at an uncomfortable temperature, but we cannot adjust the thermostat because there is not one located in our room. I learned some tips that can help with temperature problems without dealing with a thermostat. Now, since the temperature is getting warmer outside, we are forced to deal with hot dorm rooms. I use a portable fan, but I learned that a fan doesn’t actually lower the room’s temperature, it only makes you feel colder, and so running the fan when I am not in the room wastes energy. Keeping curtains and shades closed will prevent warm sunlight from entering my room. I also wondered why energy star brand appliances were so special. My parents bought new appliances for the kitchen and laundry room in the past 2 years, all energy star. Energy star qualified appliances can use 10-50% less energy and water than standard models. I think that it is worth the extra money that the appliances cost for the benefits that you will receive for years to come.
    3. N/A
    4. Many times my family members stick dishes and cups into the dishwasher that have not been rinsed and scraped beforehand. Scraping off leftover food pieces and remnants before putting the dishes in the dishwasher can help save water. Sometimes people do not turn off the faucet completely and hours can go by until someone turns the sink off fully. Hot water leaking a one drip per second can waste over 1500 gallons of water a year. Since I live in Texas, it is pretty hot year round. Closing shades during the warm months can help keep the heat out so we don’t have to overuse the AC. My family never takes baths, which is good since a 10-minute shower still uses less water than a bath. My mom typically leaves her laptop on all the time. We should set our computers to sleep mode when we are not using them to help reduce energy and heat output. We moved our old refrigerator to the garage when we remodeled our kitchen. We should have just recycled it. We do not use it that much and it will cost about $90 to operate.
    5. I have never realized how much energy goes to waste just by having an appliance plugged in. We have a microwave in our dorm room that stays plugged in all the time, but we use it maybe one time per week. I leave my phone charger plugged in even when my phone is not charging. I leave my printer plugged in at all times. I am very bad about unplugging things after I use them. I think most of it is just laziness. I just want things to be on and plugged in right when I need them. I realize now I should probably take the time to unplug things because of how much energy I could save.

  6. Mary Alice Jasperse says:

    2. I was extremely interested in Georgia Power’s involvement with Plant Vogtle set to be constructed in Waynesboro, GA. This will be the first nuclear power expansion in 30 years, a huge move. In the information pack about Plant Vogtle, the statement was made that “a person living within a few miles of the plant receives less radiation from the plant than from watching a television.” This statement is very problematic because everyone surrounding the plant will constantly be exposed to that level of radiation. Also, Waynesboro is one of the poorest towns in Georgia. Also, Plant Vogtle will be right across the Savannah River from a former military arms plant that just so happens to be a Superfund site. Obviously, these aspects of the project were not discussed in the info pack.

    Georgia Power is making efforts to recycle the coal combustion byproducts (CCB’s) that result from the coal burning process. One of these byproducts is gypsum, which they said could be used in growing plants. I learned about gypsum in a Soils and Hydrology class I took at UGA and gypsum actually has a ton of qualities that are very beneficial to soil health. From what I remember, it is as effective as lime to reduce soil acidity. Instead of mining for lime and putting gypsum in a waste dump, it makes more sense to close the loop with gypsum and use it as a soil additive. The website did not outline, however, if that gypsum would be otherwise contaminated after it is involved in the coal burning process.

    The website also said that their coal plants are becoming equipped with the latest environmental controls, a process that will be completed by 2015. They did not specify what changes these are, exactly, so I am not sure if the plants will now be classified as “clean coal.” According to the website, “By 2015, our investments will have decreased emissions of sulfur dioxide by 93 percent, nitrogen oxides by 85 percent and mercury by 75 percent from 1990 levels.” It is kind of disturbing that they are still putting 25% of their 1990 levels of MERCURY into our environment. But, I guess we’ll take what we can get. I also wonder if these improvements were mandated or by choice.

    All three of these issues have been discussed to some extent in my classes, and I have taken personal interest in these issues. As a potential environmental attorney, I could be asked to attack or defend Georgia Power on any of these environmental issues.

    4. I think it’s interesting that Georgia Power sees (they seem to see) that energy conservation is mutually good for the power company and for the consumer. At the end of the day, they have to produce less energy, find less coal or other energy sources, and do less mining. While in the Georgia Power virtual home, I found it interesting that simply putting a smaller pot on a larger burner can allow up to 40% of the stove eye’s energy to escape. This is so interesting! Many times I avoid some eyes of our stove because someone has spilled food on the eye and it smells bad when turned on….maybe this is incentive to clean the stove eye. Also, an “overflow” refrigerator can cost up to $90 more per year in energy costs! Some friends of mine have a spare fridge that they dub the “beer” fridge. $90 is quite a bit of beer money… Many of the other improvements sound very promising, but are unrealistic to a kid-o who signed a one year lease like myself. For instance, unless a light bulb goes out, there is no incentive for me to take all the working light bulbs out and replace them with energy efficient ones. The payoff simply is not there. However, these things are very interesting to someone who will potentially build a house someday. It’s much easier to go ahead and buy the more energy efficient appliance than buy a run-of-the-mill appliance and waste money and energy.

    Many suggested improvements, like “rim joists” I have never even heard of! These certainly sound like interesting prospects, and as I looked on the outside of my apartment complex, we actually have them! I’ve never been so proud. One of the main things I saw with the virtual tour is how many of these things are very possible with new homes, but much more difficult with older homes. For instance, as I was thinking about my parents’ house, many of the improvements seemed bizarre. Putting rim joists on a rock house? That would look terrible! However, my parents recently bought a new washer and dryer and opted for the front-loading energystar version. Go mom!

    5. It was crazy to learn that a plugged in desktop computer uses $34 an hour! That’s crazy! Luckily, I have a laptop…however sometimes I leave it plugged in when it is fully charged or leave the charger plugged in without being connected to the computer. My grandmother always unplugs the toaster oven after she uses it, which I always thought was so odd. Now, I guess it makes sense.

    In the article, it was nice to know that if a toaster or coffeemaker does not have a digital clock, it does not suck up vampire energy. Both my espresso machine and my toaster do not have clocks. However, I do have a Hello Kitty clock that is always on. Without it I would never get to class on time, so it is a fair trade.

    While looking at the summary table, I was shocked to see how much energy it took to heat a residence! Luckily, my apartment is really small and very well insulated. We’ve only had to turn our heat on for 5-minute intervals the whole winter! This is really nice. In the future, I want a small house.

    The thing that bothers me about my roommates is that they leave their bedroom lights and ceiling fans on sometimes when they are not even in the apartment! I guess I will have to take baby steps. It is hard not to seem like their mother, but sometimes it seems like I am the only one in the apartment who actually uses the recycle bin.

  7. Maggie Benoit says:

    1. Georgia Power Save Money + Energy
    2. 3 Useful pieces of information – discuss usefulness personally + w future career
    a. Thermostat should be set to 78 in summer, 68 in winter.
    b. Storm windows help to keep heat in during winter + heat out during summer.
    c. Energy Star qualified compact fluorescent light bulbs – last 10x longer + operate in cooler conditions.
    d. Wrap electric water heater with an insulated blanket.
    e. Energy Star products 15-50% more efficient.
    f. Keep refrigerator as full as possible + keep them in areas that are cooled.
    g. Georgia Power will conduct a free energy audit on your house. This is totally awesome.
    h. I found the above tips + many more on the site to make a lot of sense. With that said there were a number of quick energy fixes that I have not always consider + are really easy to make improvements on. I like seeing this in writing because it confirms how small changes at home really make a difference in terms of savings as well as my energy impact.
    3. Virtual tour – ways to save money
    4. Discuss ways to benefit from tips
    a. Double pane windows
    b. Weather strip on windows + doors
    c. Cleaning scraps off dishes before putting in dishwasher
    d. Using the right sized pot on stove can save up to $36 annually
    e. Use a power strip to remove energy source from multiple wires when not in use
    f. Set computer to sleep automatically when not in use
    g. Cordless phones save more energy
    h. Do not close air vents in unused rooms of house in order to allow air to flow freely
    i. Switching to cold wash can save $40 annually

    5. Energy vampires facts + fiction. Daily use of energy vampires = 1% of emissions
    6. What types of standby power products LBNL – ON/OFF status
    a. One big one for consideration is turning my laptop off more. Though it is not plugged in all the time, it is nearly always on sleep when I am not using it + therefore requires more frequent charging. On a full spectrum, it’s hard to say exactly. I do use power strips on most electronics + regions of my home with multiple light sources. However, I leave things like blow dryers + coffee makers plugged in a lot. As much as I’d like to think of myself more valiantly, I can’t say I’m always up for to inconvenient measures of reaching behind squirrelly areas to unplug certain items when not in use.

  8. Brittany Biggers says:

    2. I think the most interesting advise that Georgia Power emphasizes on their website is to switch to electric appliances. I’m pretty sure all of our appliances are already electric, but this is good to know for future reference. I also learned that switched to CFL lightbulbs can save you $30 throughout the life span of the bulb. I also was not aware that water heating takes up a large amount of your water bill. These facts will help me be more sustainable in the future, as well as save money.

    3. After taking the virtual tour I learned lots of interesting facts that can improve the sustainability of my home! I am going to by a fan to put next to my bed, so we wil use less air conditioning. Also, I am going to invest in a good quality lamp so I will use less lights.

    5. I really liked the the concept of energy vampires. I had heard before that keeping your appliances plugged in does waste a lot of energy. One major thing that I had never thought of unplugging before was the microwave. It blew my mind that the microwave used that much energy when it was not even being used. I am definitely going to make more of an effort to unplug our microwave!

  9. JoAnn M says:

    1. visit GApower.com

    2. I enjoyed visiting the GA power website. To my surprise, I actually was enlightened in several ways on how to be more energy efficient and at the same time, learned how to cut costs on my personal energy bill. I recently got married in December and my husband and I are constantly learning what to and not to do in our new home. The part about the ” Top Ten Energy Efficiency Tips” was what I found most useful. Tip number 1 was my favorite. I always knew (since my parents told me that is) that I should keep my thermostat at 68 for the winter, but I wasn’t sure about what to have it set on for the summer, being 78. I learned that I could save up to three percent on my energy bill a month and that every degree I steered away from the recommendations could set me back several percentages. Along with tip 1, my husband and I are currently finishing a room in our home. One of the energy saving tips discussed proper insulation. We had talked about skipping this step for the time being to save money, but after some reevaluation, I believe we’ll go ahead and complete this so we can save more money in the long run. Having a new home, we recently installed several different light fixtures. The website recommended fluorescent lightbulbs to help cut costs, This will probably be something my husband and I look into the next time we go to purchase new bulbs.

    3. virtual tour

    4. I discovered a couple thing while watching the video and taking the virtual tour that i had taken for granted. I did not realize that “vampire energy” was taking place. In my house, we leave so many appliances and computers plugged in or on sleep when we’re not using them. I had no idea just how much energy these products would consume. I would like to think, most people like me thought, if they’re not using the appliance and it’s off that they aren’t being charged anything. When the time comes to replace the appliances in my house I would like to install energy star appliances. Currently the only item that is, is our fridge, but I think we would see a pretty significant change in our energy usage if we could convert all.

    5. The items I am the absolute worst about leaving plugged in would be my different chargers; computer, phone, Ipod, etc. We also have two Tvs in my house, but only one of them ever gets used on a regular basis. The other is located in what is called the “man-cave”. Here we have lights, a mini refrigerator and a flat screen tv with an Xbox hooked up to it. Although this room is used, for the most part it’s only on the weekends. All things considering, this room could be unplugged about 75% of the time.

  10. Melissa Worth says:

    2.
    1) I used the interactive thermostat to see how your temperature affects your energy bill. This was really interesting to me because I’m from Florida and naturally very heat sensitive, so I usually keep the temperature somewhere between 68 and 72 degrees during the summer months. But, according to the website, 78 degrees is the recommended summer setting. Right now I live on campus, and all of my utilities are included, but the website says that by keep my air conditioning between 68 and 72 degrees during the summer months, I would be paying between 16 and 28% more.
    2) “Georgia Power households have approximately 235,000 secondary refrigerators more than 10 years old in their garages, basements, storage spaces or elsewhere in their homes. If every Georgia Power household recycled that second refrigerator, the annual energy savings would be as much as 250 million kWh/year. Many of these secondary refrigerators are not ENERGY STAR® qualified and typically use 75 percent more energy than newer ENERGY STAR models.”
    This statement was really surprising to me. I know a lot of people who have secondary refrigerators, but it’s never really made sense to me. My refrigerator at home is more than 10 years old, and it is not ENERGY STAR qualified, but we’re in the process of remodeling our kitchen, and I would definitely like to make the switch to ENERGY STAR appliances. I will check into recycling our refrigerator too because Georgia Power offers a $35 rebate.
    3) On the Read Your Meter section of the website, it explains how the electric meter works and how to read it. Georgia Power also reads your meter on about the same date each month, and you are charged for each kwh used. This is interesting to me because it will allow me to keep track of my own energy bill next year and to budget how much money I need to allocate to that bill. Also, I didn’t know this before, but it says that one kwh hour is equal to one 100-watt light bulb in use for 10 hours.

    4. I feel like in many instances, we’re already using a lot of the recommendations from the virtual tour. For example: we keep our fireplace damper closed and the majority of our light bulbs are fluorescent. Also, we’re forced to use the correct-sized pot on the stove because we have an induction cooktop, but there are definitely still some ways my home could benefit: replacing our old refrigerator with an ENERGY STAR qualified model, scraping dishes instead of rinsing them before loading the dishwasher, installing a programmable thermostat, sealing holes around outlets with an inexpensive outlet gasket, using our ceiling fans, replacing our showerheads w/ low-flow showerheads, changing our air filters more often, choosing ENERGY STAR qualified cordless phones, turning off unused appliances, especially in the office, and taking part in a home audit. While I think some of these are really great, easy ideas, I don’t think that some of them are very practical for my family’s lifestyle. For example: my mom hates ceiling fans because she says that they just move the hot air around, and like me, my dad is very heat sensitive, so I don’t think he’d be too keen on the idea of a programmable thermostat.

    5a. There were a few products from the list that I have considered turning off, such as my electronic toothbrush & my Clarisonic face scrubber. When I go on short vacations, I generally don’t bring my chargers with me just because they take up too much space, and I’ve noticed that they can last for days without being charged. Also, I may consider unplugging my blu-Ray player and my surge protectors while I’m not using them, but a lot of the products, such as the home security system and clock, are just too impractical to unplug. Also, I’ve considered unplugging my TV, but I probably won’t just out of convenience. The point of having a remote is to be able to turn the TV on without having to get out of bed. Unplugging my TV would kind of defeat the purpose because I would have to get up to plug it in every time I wanted to watch TV.

  11. Karen Cotton says:

    1. Georgia Power Website was very informative; I will definitely try the suggestions so that i will be a good citizen towards the environment as well as our crewmembers.
    2. Three things that I got from the Website were a) that I am very much interested in the Home Improvement Plan. I woud love to take advantage of the whole house plan so that I can get a rebate for over 2,000; however, I will take advantage of the individual improvements whereas, I can get up to $700 back in rebates by having projects completed individually and they can even be done by my self named “handy man” husband. b) Door/Window winter stripping is something that can be done to keep us comfortable in the house as well as helping us save on high energy bills. c) I saw that on this website that there was a promotion on selling Premium Surge Protector Warranty. I did not understand this at all. The push is if you have a power surge, then this company will cover your electronics and appliances. Why pay a monthly fee for that when you can use power strips.?
    4. i received many helpful ideas from this website. I will change out the rest of my light bulbs to the highly efficient compact fluorescent bulbs which will cost more but last longer than the regular incandescent bulbs. I am pleased to have an electric water heater. There is no pilot light, no fumes from gas or carbon monoxide and ventilation problems which we had all of these issues prior to replacing the old heater last year.
    5. The type of standby power products that I have are a microware and the coffee maker with a clock. I will train my family to unplug those items prior to leaving the house in the morning. I will admit that I keep the front porch light on because just as Georgia Power mentions; it gives me a peace of mind to know that the potential burglars will go try something else.

  12. Hannah Greenberg says:

    1 Visit the Georgia Power Save Money and Energy Links and search through the website (it is a sea of information).
    2. Please find a minimum of 3 useful pieces of information you’ve learned from this website. Discuss what you learned and why it is useful to you personally or your future career.
    A. One thing that the website clarified for me was the necessity of changing your air filters monthly. The first house I lived in without my parents was in Charleston during the summer. Our power bill was really expensive, yet our air barely worked. We later found out it was because the filters had not be changed, and our unit was working harder to produce air. I think this is a task that is so important, yet many new homeowners or renters do not know.
    B. Another thing I learned from this website, and from my roommate a few days ago is the importance of cleaning out a dryer filter. I realize my two facts so far might be obvious to most people—however, my parents never informed me of these tasks. I noticed the other day our dryer smelled like something was on fire, and that is when my roommate asked me if I had cleaned out the filter. I haven’t ever done it, and learned that the restricted air flow combined with the heat can cause a fire.
    C. I learned about the EarthCents program. I think the programs that company develops are important to me for two reasons. First, I think it is important because our generation needs to start conserving, and making changes. I also think it is relevant to me from the economic standpoint. I am graduating in two months, and any way to save money will be a plus.
    3. Do the virtual tour for each room in the home and read about all the various areas of the home in which you can save money and energy.
    4. After you’ve done the virtual tour please consider your current house, or your permanent residence, while you are doing the virtual. Discuss all the ways your home could benefit from the tips given from the virtual tour.
    My house at home was built in the 1900s, so a lot of its appliances, etc are probably not the most energy efficient. First, none of the showers in my house have low-flow showerheads. In our kitchen, I know we have a range hood over the stove, however, I do not think it is Energy Star. I also do not think that our refrigerator is Energy Star, so it would be smart to start investing in EnergyStar items. It was also helpful to learn which burners you are supposed to use according to the size of the pot or pan. I usually just turn it to whatever without even looking. One thing I learned, which we are very good at in my house, is closing the damper.
    5. Energy Vampires –
    Take a glance at this media article and video PSA regarding the fact and fictions of energy consumption in terms of everyday energy vampires. Combined, our daily use of “energy vampires” make-up 1% of the carbon dioxide emission (greenhouse gas).
    The author, Lori Bongiorno, does a good job breaking down “Energy Vampires: Fact versus Fiction.” I found the information really helpful because I often hear things about what I should be doing, but I don’t really know why I should be doing it, or what is the real benefit, if any. Articles like this make it easier for me to tackle the fact vs. fiction aspect of energy consumption issues.
    After reading the article and watching the video, please ponder and share your thoughts with us regarding the following questions:
    5a.. What types of standby power products from the list made by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) did you see that when compared in the ON/OFF status made you want to consider turning them off when not in use

    After watching the video, there are a few things I would consider turning off. The microwave would definitely be one, costing $92.00 a year on standby mode. I would also turn off power switches. I have several of them, but have never turned them off when not in use. There are also a few things they did not mention that I should do a better job at turning off. I always have my speakers plugged into my wall, though I rarely use them- so this would save some energy by unplugging them. Also, my printer is constantly plugged in, and I use this probably once every two weeks- so I think I would notice a difference in energy use if I were to turn this off as well.

  13. Kelsey Savell says:

    2. I can save 3-5% on my electric bill for every degree higher in the summer and lower in the winter that I set my thermostat. Georgia Power also offers a $100 rebate if I install a programmable thermostat, which I can buy for less than $50. This is super useful to me because I am all for free money. It may make a for a good home project in the summer. I liked to hear that “cooking small portions in the microwave or toaster oven generates less heat than the stove or oven and can reduce electrical usage for cooking by as much as 80 percent” because I do this already. It gives me a further excuse not to cook. Georgia Power also offers incentives for switching to compact florescent light bulbs. I can save 30-50% if I buy 4 packs at Home Depot. Most of the lighting in my house is compatible with CFL bulbs, and the bulbs use 75% less energy and last longer than my current incandescent bulbs.
    4. The first light in my home that I will switch to CFL is my outside porch light. As the tour pointed out, it is my most used light by far. I always wondered why the burners on my stove were different sizes. Now I understand that I am supposed to match pot size to burner size. I can save about $36 annually by doing so. The website also suggests setting my appliances to automatically go into sleep mode after a few minutes of me not using them. Turning off one light before I leave for the day can save me $15 per year. Taking showers instead of baths uses less energy.
    5. Products I now want to unplug when not in use: my desktop computer and my microwave.

  14. Heather B. says:

    1. When comparing standard washer, dishwasher, refrigerator, and freezer appliances to Energy Star we see that you can save around 60 dollars annually. This adds up over time and could possibly lead to even more savings as energy costs continue to increase over the years. In the near future, I will be purchasing appliances on my own for my home and will need to consider these important facts as I’m sure money will be rather tight as a recent graduate. Also, I learned that just 1 degree of difference- warmer in the summer or cooler in the winter- can decrease energy use by 3-4%. However, I shouldn’t be constantly changing my thermostat as that causes it to work even harder. Lastly, if I invest in low-flow showerheads like those Georgia Power gave out last month, I could cut my water consumption in half. Making these small changes in my life
    could save me money over time while also helping the environment around me.
    2. First, we should definitely re-caulk our windows in our home. My bed is centered by a large window and in the winter it feels as if the A/C is blasting, but it’s just a nasty draft from a poorly caulked window frame. We could also stand some thermal stripping under our doors. There is a visible space between the floor and the base of our porch door which allows air in and out of our home. We do use CFL bulbs on our porch, but a light or motion sensor feature would definitely be beneficial since it is often left on during the day. We also have double-panes on a few windows, but I’m sure they weren’t added for further insulation- it’s just a very old home and scattered repairs/additions have been put in place when necessary throughout the years. Rim joists would likely help our home a LOT. We are always freezing in the winter! Our heating/cooling costs are through the roof though we never seem to be comfortable, either too cold or too hot. With a heat pump I’m sure many of our temperature control issues would be solved. We are most definitely not an energy star home 
    3. 4 billion dollars a year are wasted on these vampire energy suckers- crazy! I had no idea laptops ate so much energy even while sleeping. I will definitely unplug it when not in use. My phone charger will also be coming out of the wall when my cell is fully charged. I would love to unplug our microwave, but it is installed into our cabinets and I’m not sure where the cord and outlet are. Also, my printer, DVD player, TV using a switch instead of remote, and vacuum- I had no idea! will be unplugged. I wish I could also unplug my DVR, but it won’t record otherwise and takes a very long time to reboot.

  15. Laney Haag says:

    2. I was interested to know you can opt for paperless billing. I am in charge of paying the gas bill each month in my house. I get a letter from Georgia Natural Gas every month with the bill along with at least 4 or 5 other pieces of paper about the gas company. I always end up throwing the letter away because I pay my bill online every month so it would be helpful if I could opt to just receive my bill online instead of through the mail. I was also interested to learn that the recommended thermostat setting for the summer is 78 degrees. I remember my dad always telling me this when I would whine about how hot the house was but I always assumed he was just bluffing. I was surprised that you are not supposed to keep refrigerators in unconditioned garages since at least half of the houses I have even been to have an extra fridge in their garage.
    4. As for saving energy in the kitchen, I am definitely guilty of not using the correct size stove burner when I cook. I always end up using the one closest to me even if it is too big for the pot or pan I am using. I didn’t realize this could waste up to $36 annually. Since my house has all regular light switches, we could benefit from switching to dimmer lighting. My house could also benefit from changing all of our light bulbs to Compact Florescent Light bulbs. Along with most of the other appliances in my house here in Athens, our washing machine is definitely over 10 years old. Replacing it with an energy efficient one would most likely save us a lot of power.
    5. I use a power strip for my laptop, printer, and Ipod player but I need to work on remembering to turn it off when I am not using it. I am also terrible about unplugging my phone charger so I know I can try to do this more often. Lastly, I rarely unplug the TV I have in my room so I am going to try to improve on this as well. I never realized how much energy these items were wasting when I wasn’t even using them.

  16. Adam Nowaczyk says:

    2. Please find a minimum of 3 useful pieces of information you’ve learned from this website. Discuss what you learned and why it is useful to you personally or your future career.

    I was reading about heat pumps. I wasn’t too familiar with them before. It was useful to learn how they work, by taking air from the outside and transforming it into transformed conditioned (either hot or cold) air. I’ve been wanting to learn about a lot of household technologies, but haven’t found the right outlet.

    Thermostats are encouraged to be set at 68 in the winter and 78 in the summer. I wasn’t previously aware of these specific settings. I certainly don’t adhere to these settings currently. Our home usually is set to 72 continuously. If I’m too warm I get nauseous. This year we had a couple of cold days and we learned we have very poor insulation. It got down to around 20 degrees or so outside and even though we had our thermostat set to 72 our house wouldn’t get past 63… so it wasn’t the best energy conservation situation to be in.

    Credits for energy audits are currently unavailable at this time. You can get rebates for having energy audits done though, which is reassuring.

    4. After you’ve done the virtual tour please consider your current house, or your permanent residence, while you are doing the virtual. Discuss all the ways your home could benefit from the tips given from the virtual tour.

    Most of the exterior items are already in place in our house. I’m pretty paranoid and outside lighting is extremely important. I placed compact fluorescent bulbs in those sockets (?) after we first moved in. Since our house is new construction we don’t need weatherstripping redone just yet. I would have liked for the insulation to have been better and for a lighter colored shingle on our roof that would reduce heat absorbtion into our home.

    As far as the kitchen goes I always encourage my wife to use the correct size pans on the stove. But, since this isn’t a perfect world we usually have problems with that. We also try to keep the amount of Dishwasher loads to a minimum and try to pack it as full as possible.

    In the living room I keep the fireplace damper closed all the time, so no hot air or cool air escapes the home. I also have a dimmer switch installed as well as several compact fluorescents in the lamps. We have plantation shutters that allow us to open the top portion which gives us privacy and natural daylight at the same time (throughout our home actually).

    We don’t have a TV in our bedroom.

    In the office we have the computer set up to go into power saving mode frequently. In the spare bedroom we close the vent as not to waste heating/ac needs when it isn’t being used.

    5. Energy Vampires –
    Take a glance at this media article and video PSA regarding the fact and fictions of energy consumption in terms of everyday energy vampires. Combined, our daily use of “energy vampires” make-up 1% of the carbon dioxide emission (greenhouse gas).
    The author, Lori Bongiorno, does a good job breaking down “Energy Vampires: Fact versus Fiction.” I found the information really helpful because I often hear things about what I should be doing, but I don’t really know why I should be doing it, or what is the real benefit, if any. Articles like this make it easier for me to tackle the fact vs. fiction aspect of energy consumption issues.
    After reading the article and watching the video, please ponder and share your thoughts with us regarding the following questions:

    5a.. What types of standby power products from the list made by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) did you see that when compared in the ON/OFF status made you want to consider turning them off when not in use

    Well, the biggest surprise for me was my audio receiver. Sometimes after a CD is done playing it will be on and not in use, sometimes I forget to turn it off completely. The TV, when in use drains power too. Luckily we don’t watch TV that much.

    That thing drains power when it’s on and not being used. Pretty cool information on that website. I wish household technology was more integrated to the point where as you leave for the day you could hit a hardwired switch that turns off everything that won’t lose memory or make food spoil etc.

    I will say that a lot of the reason I don’t unplug individual items in the house daily is laziness, convenience factor and it’s a bit time consuming. I keep as many products as possible unplugged when I can.

  17. Danielle McDaniel says:

    1. N/A
    2. It was interesting to find out how much hot water affects your energy bill. I didn’t realize that there was another option to the traditional way to heat water. By switching to an electric water heater it can lower your energy bill without sacrificing the necessary hot shower. Also the Top 10 Hints House was a nice interactive tool. Some things I already knew but I liked how they broke it down into categories and showed percentages on how and where energy is used. In past classes I have learned about ways that someone can cut energy costs and consumption, but I really like the way Georgia Power has put their website together. It is easy to understand and really accessible.
    3. N/A
    4. Some of the things that were listed are things that we have done to my house at home. We have a programmable thermostat and all of our appliances are EnergyStar rated. We have also begun to use energy efficient light bulbs throughout rooms in our house. I think I really need to bring electrical water heating to my parents’ attention, I think it would help with our energy cost even more.
    5. I always try to be good and remember to unplug my phone charger from the wall, but I was surprised at the amount of energy a microwave uses. It made me begin to think also how much I actually use my microwave and how that relates to the energy used when it isn’t in use.

  18. cam gordon says:

    2. I was surprised to see how much energy switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs actually saves. Also, double-paned windows are much more efficient than regulars, and on a somewhat unrelated note I was unaware that storm windows reduce outside noise. Replacing to an energy efficient bathroom and/or ceiling fan saves big bucks over the course of year.
    4. Our permanent residence could definitely benefit from more CFLs as we only have some in the house. We have EnergyStar product for nearly all our major appliances in the house. I’m not quite sure if we have energy efficient duct work and insulation, but I feel that would greatly benefit our electric bill. Also we have a refrigerator in the garage that, after learning that it is less efficient when it is hotter, I may suggest moving it someplace else.
    5. The cable-box used more energy than I thought it would, whereas the popcorn analogy in the video really brought to light the amount of energy appliances consume when not in use, generally speaking. I have few outlets, and most of my major energy consuming appliances are plugged into a power-strip which I turn off when not at home. This made me feel less bad about some of the vampiric energy suckers in my apartment. However I was surprised to see that even the power-strip consumed a decent amount of energy when turned on.

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