Energy Efficiency / Giveaways

Green Your Decor Energy Gauntlet, Week 3 (+Giveaway!)


A few weeks ago, 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! If all of us work together, we can put a big dent in our monthly energy usage. It’s really eye-opening how small, simple changes can have such a tremendous impact!

The Energy Gauntlet

I have 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. Last week, several people participated in the Energy Gauntlet, but I’d love to hear from more of you! 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. We moved last week, but thanks to a weekend of frenetic unpacking, we literally have only a few left to unpack. BUT, because I still don’t have internet or cable at home, that means a few more things may be plugged in once it is installed, like the modem and cable boxes, as well as a second computer. But for the most part, things are back to normal already, and I’m really thankful for that. So here’s the list:

Living Room

  • Lamp (main light source)
  • NOTE: Our TV, Wii, and 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


Laundry Room

  • Washer & Dryer


  • Stove
  • Fridge
  • Microwave (built-in)

Home Office/Studio

  • Mac desktop
  • External hard drive

NOTE: They are both plugged in to a surge protector, which we have begun turning off at night. Now we just have to keep that up…

Daughter’s Bedroom

  • TV
  • Lamp (main light source)
  • LED Nightlight

Master Bedroom

  • TV & DVD player
  • 2 lamps (main light source)

We’re getting there! I still want to get smart strips for the bedrooms, since the TVs are plugged directly into the wall outlets. That will essentially cut us back to having only light sources plugged in. 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!


Ready to find out what you can win if you participate in the Green Your Decor Energy Gauntlet? An awesome green home prize package! The winner will receive:


  • 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 during the first 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.

About Author

I am a graphic designer by trade who has a strong passion for interior design and doing what we can to protect the environment. This blog and my other site, Green & Gorgeous, are my ways of giving back to the Earth.


  • Joanna R
    March 31, 2010 at 4:27 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: 1 computer, refrigerator, microwave. we unplugged one computer.

  • Marci
    March 31, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    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.

    I have now unplugged the pencil sharpener, 2 tvs, and the pond heater.

  • Elphie
    March 31, 2010 at 7:21 pm

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

    Since last week I unplugged the second tv b/c we almost never use it.

  • kristen
    March 31, 2010 at 7:23 pm

    I must confess that I forgot to include my washer/dryer last week so dadly mine might go up this week.

    living room: tv. entertainment center, 2 lamps
    kids room: wii, one lamp, alarm clock
    teen room: tv, lamp, computer, video game
    bedroom: tv, lamp
    family room, disk player, tv, lamps
    kitchen: fridge, microwave

  • Condo Blues
    March 31, 2010 at 9:59 pm

    I forgot to add a plugged in item last week! Here’s the revised list: Microwave, stove, refrigerator, washer, dryer, 2 computers (they are on a battery backup), printer, sewing machine, 5 lamps.

    My TVs are on power strips (not smart strips. I used what I had) and almost every room in the house has at least one outlet that’s turned on by a wall light switch, which helps out for the challenge.

  • Samantha Van Vleet
    April 2, 2010 at 1:07 am

    Thanks so much for this blog! I found you through the thesis teme demo community, but I love your message!

    Our previous generations were unaware and ignorant of the impact we could have on our planet, and didn’t do what they could to protect it. It’s up to us to make sure we do what we can to prevent any further damage! I’ll admit, before I had kids, I never really thought of these kinds of things, because I didn’t really feel like it mattered. I wasn’t going to be around, so why should I care? But now that I have children, I can’t help but wonder what kind of world I’ve made for them, and what do I want their lives to be like? What do I want their children, my grandchildren to experience?

    It’s so important. Even just doing little things, like reusing your ziplock bags, aluminum foil peices, opting for reusable products, like cloth napkins, versus disposables, makes a huge difference. It’s not always easy! But it’s very important!

    I have been partially cloth diapering for the last six months (I don’t have enough diapers to fully cloth diaper) and even just partially cloth diapering, 50% of the time, saves a massive amount of money, space, and resources!

    Anyways, I’ll stop babbling. Like I said, I’m proud of you! Keep up the good work!

    Samantha Van Vleet LSP

    Oh! And my friend did a review on these reusable snack bags, they were really cool and eco-friendly! Something you might be interested in! Check it out


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