Green Your Decor Energy Gauntlet, Week 2 (+Giveaway Revealed!)

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energygauntlet-week2

Last week, I introduced you to the Sylvania Earth Day Challenge, 40 for the Future. If you haven’t yet, head over to the challenge website and take a look at the small changes we can all make that will save up to 40 million Kwh of energy between now and Earth Day. Then make your pledge! And if you can believe it, so many people have pledged to make changes that we’ve already hit more than 400,000,000 Kwh saved, blowing the original goal out of the water! In other words, even if only 10% of those people who pledged actually make the changes, we’ll still reach the goal. It’s really eye-opening how small, simple changes can have such a tremendous impact!

The Energy Gauntlet

Last week, I challenged myself and all of you to go around your home and do a room by room assessment. How many items do you leave plugged in all the time? What do you leave turned on that you could easily turn off or unplug? This week, I’ll let you know where I’ve improved from last week, and show you were I still have room to improve. I’d love for you to do the same in the comments section! Then every week, we’ll check in again to see if and how we have improved. Since noone participated in the Energy Gauntlet last week, I’m sweetening the pot. Scroll down to find out what you could win in this giveaway! Every reader who participates will get an entry to win for each week that you comment.

Here’s the current state of things at my house. Keep in mind that we’re moving this week, so technically, everything is unplugged right now, but this is where I was this past weekend before we packed up the last of everything:

Living Room

  • Lamp (main light source)
  • Cordless phone (needs to go, since we never use it)
    NOTE: Our TV, Wii, DVD player are all plugged into a smart strip. What this means is that whenever we turn the TV off, that automatically cuts power to all the peripherals and shuts off the power strip. I unplugged the laptop charger and only plug it in when in use.

Dining Room

  • Cordless vacuum charger (what can I say? We have to clean up as we move)
  • LED night light

Laundry Room

  • Washer & Dryer

Kitchen

  • Stove
  • Fridge
  • iPod speakers & dock

Home Office/Studio

  • PC desktop tower & monitor
  • Mac desktop
  • External hard drive
  • Cordless phone
  • Printer

We unplugged all the items we weren’t using regularly, but we’ll also plug the computers in to smart strips once we’re in our new place. We also need to be more consistent about turning the computers off at night. After all, the smart strip will only be useful if we actually turn the control machines off.

Daughter’s Bedroom

  • TV
  • Playstation (used as a DVD player)
  • Lamp (used regularly)
  • Nightlight

Master Bedroom

  • TV
  • 1 lamps
  • Alarm clock
  • Husband’s cell phone charger

Sooo…we’ve made some changes, but still have a ways to go. We’ll be better able to control a lot of this after we move and reassess all our electronics. Next Wednesday, I’ll check in with you and let you know how we’re doing, and I can’t wait to see what improvements you’ve made! The final check-in will be on Wednesday, April 21. I hope a lot of you will choose to join me on this journey!

Giveaway

Since not a single reader participated last week (boo hoo!), I have sweetened the giveaway pot! Ready to find out what you can win? An awesome green home prize package! The winner will receive:

gauntletgiveaway

  • ActiveIon Pro: This is an awesome little machine that allows you to clean and sanitize your home with nothing but cold tap water. I’m not kidding. I was skeptical of this description at first too, but I have been using my own ActiveIon Pro for months, and I love it! It’s a funny-looking piece of machinery, but I use it to clean my kitchen counters and stove, and even splatter from the walls. It’s great for hard surfaces in the bathroom as well. So how exactly does it work? It’s a tough process to explain, but basically, the ActiveIon ionizes the water, which allows you to clean and sanitize without any cleaning products. Bill Nye the Science guy can explain it better than I can. It doesn’t get much greener than cleaning with just water! You can read more about it here. Value: $299!
  • A smart strip: These power strips come with a control jack. You can plug your TV, computer, or any other major appliance into this port. Then when you turn off said appliance, it will cut power to the entire strip, simultaneously turning off anything else that’s plugged into it and reducing your use of ghost power. This is particularly useful when you have lots of peripherals like DVD players, video game consoles, printers, etc. Note: The image above is an example of the type of strip you will receive. The one you actually get may differ, but will serve exactly the same purpose. Value: $30
  • Energy efficient light bulbs: You’ll receive two 2-packs of Sylvania’s brand new SUPERSAVER Halogen bulbs and two 2-packs of their Living Spaces CFLs

If that doesn’t give you a boost in making your home greener, I don’t know what will! And I may still add more to the prize package, so be sure to enter every week! The more people who participate, the more likely I’ll be to make the giveaway even bigger and better, and I’m even considering some stylish green decor items! For each week that you check in, you will receive an entry, for a maximum of 5 entries (since noone entered last week). For your entries to count, you must:

  • Tell me what you did to participate in the Sylvania 40 for the Future Challenge (You only have to do this once. Subsequent entries can include just your list of the following:)
  • List all the items in your home that are plugged in all the time, and show an effort to reduce your energy usage each week. In other words, the point is that you have fewer items plugged in during the last week than you did during the first week.

The giveaway entry period starts today and will continue through Wednesday, April 21 at 11:59 p.m. The winner, who will be randomly selected from all entries, will be announced on Earth Day, April 22. U.S. mailing addresses only!

I hope all of you are as excited about this as I am, because it really has the potential to improve the energy efficiency of all our homes. I can’t wait to read all your entries!

(sponsored opportunity): Full disclosure: I am being compensated by Sylvania for my time in participating in and promoting the 40 for the Future Challenge. And anyone who knows me knows that I wouldn’t participate if I didn’t believe it was truly an opportunity to make a difference, however small.

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9 comments… add one

  • Stephanie V. March 24, 2010, 4:14 pm

    I dried dishes on the air setting.

    Plugged in all the time: toaster oven, microwave, computers, tele, refrigerator, night lights – all I can think of for now
    tvollowitz at aol dot com

  • Marci March 24, 2010, 4:24 pm

    I meant to participate last week, but got busy. So here I am this week.

    Tell me what you did to participate in the Sylvania 40 for the Future Challenge: I changed light bulbs today!, dried dishes on air dry with dishwasher, unplugged non used electric plugs, use warm and cold water in washing machine, use low flow showerhead.

    List all the items in your home that are plugged in all the time, and show an effort to reduce your energy usage each week: 4 TVs, 3 computers, 6 lamps, toaster, coffee pot, coffee grinder, pencil shaperner, Washer and Dryer, Fridge, Freezer, Baby Monitor, 1 pod charger, 2 phone chargers, pond heater, curling iron, and shaver.

  • Kristen March 24, 2010, 4:46 pm

    Great giveaway!
    To be more green: I actually just bought the power strips but have not yet set them up. I’m excited to compare the differences in our power bill.

    things plugged in all the time: tv/entertainment center, computer and printer, floor & table lights in 4 bedrooms and the family room (oh and the living room). The refrigerator. Bathroom radio . I’m pretty sure that’s it.

  • Martha Murray March 24, 2010, 7:58 pm

    Use cold water for laundry, unplug chargers overnight, turn off lamps not in use.
    Bedroom:
    lamps 2 (can make do with one)
    alarm clock (gotta have this)

    Bathroom:
    electric toothbrush (only charge as needed)
    hairdryer ( i can plug in only when in use)

  • Kate March 24, 2010, 9:02 pm

    I pledged to wrap my water heater and pipes. It was actually one of the only things on the list I haven’t done already and I’ve been meaning to do it for a while it’s just extremely inconvenient/difficult to get the the water heater.

    Plugged in items

    Living/Dining Room –
    DVR (stays plugged in to record shows in the middle of the night but the TV/Bluray/Playstation/Wii and cordless phone are all on a power strip that gets turned off ideally between uses but at least at night)
    Verizon box (I think it changes the stuff coming in the cable line to Fios, but it needs to be plugged in all the time)
    3 lamps with CFls (used every day and all hooked into a switch)

    Kitchen –
    Microwave
    Stove
    Toaster oven
    Stereo
    Fridge

    Pantry –
    Washer and Dryer

    Bedroom –
    1 lamp with CFL on the switch (used every day)
    2 lamps with CFLs (used infrequently)

    Bathroom –
    nothing

    Study –
    1 lamp with CFL on the switch (used infrequently)
    Wireless router and Cable (well, Fios) modem (we have Vonage so these need to be on all the time for our phone to work)
    Cordless phone base

    Nursery –
    Baby monitor
    Space heater (used everyday when it’s cold to keep the nursery warm at night when we turn the heat down in the rest of the house)
    1 lamp with CFL on the switch (used frequently)
    1 lamp with CFL (used every day)

    I guess what I can do is unplug the space heater, baby monitor, stereo, and toaster oven when not in use. The microwave is big and heavy and I’m not willing to move it the roughly 10 times a day I would need to in order to unplug it between uses. There are also a few lamps that I could unplug but do they actually even use ghost power when off?

  • Elphie March 24, 2010, 11:19 pm

    To participate in the Sylvania 40 for the Future Challenge, I am turning off lights when not in use, using warm water to wash clothes, unplugging things we don\’t use often and not charging my computer or phone overnight. Unfortunately I can\’t use CFLs in my apartment b/c they make a buzzing sound.

    Things always plugged in include the following: fridge and freezer, microwave, toaster, two televisions, washer and dryer, printer, two desktop computers and one monitor, one laptop.

    I\’ll try to unplug one television for next week, but I don\’t know what to do after that!

    Thanks for the giveaway :)

  • Donna Holmberg March 25, 2010, 11:13 pm

    I have started replacing my light bulbs in my house and in my rental property with energy efficient bulbs like those in the prize package.

    I am taking stock of all the items plugged into my walls now and will provide an update later.

    For now, I’ve made sure each outlet that had a multi-plug extension cord on it without an on/off switch on it has now been replaced with one that has an on/off switch that can be used for all items that don’t have to stay plugged in all the time. I use the old multi-plug cords for those item that MUST stay plugged in (like the TV receiver boxes and the freezer.

  • Joanna R March 27, 2010, 4:03 pm

    we changed our 20-yer old appliances with new energy efficient ones. we also bot CFLs for all the rooms and unplugged everything that we don’t use: TV, DVD player, chargers.
    things plugged in all the time: 2 computers, refrigerator, microwave.
    thanks
    ps i must have made a mistake since my 3-days ago entry is not here. anyway, there was also a problem with my subscription, so now i changed the email address.

  • Condo Blues March 29, 2010, 8:35 pm

    I tried entering my information on the Slyvania site last week and got an error. It allowed me to enter my information this week.

    What I’m doing to be greener: I reduced my electric and natural gas use by 32% two years ago. I’m trying to keep the new habits, like turing off lights when not in use. This year I’m trying to revamp and green the rest of my makeup and health and beauty aids.

    Things plugged in all the time: Stove, refrigerator, washer, dryer, 2 computers (they are on a battery backup), printer, sewing machine, 5 lamps.

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