I’ve always suspected that turning off lights and unplugging cell phone chargers was just a case of the “warm fuzzies” (things that make you feel good but don’t really make a huge impact).
The gap between curtailing inefficient appliances and using efficient ones can be large, so it shocked the researchers how many people underestimated it. An example: a 100-watt bulb that is on for six hours uses 600 watt-hours. By leaving it on for one hour less, you save 100 watt-hours. On the other hand, a 15-watt fluorescent bulb could be left on for all six hours and only use 90 watt-hours, saving 510 watt-hours over the incandescent bulb.
The really good news here is this proves that the key to conserving energy doesn’t lie in cutting conveniences out of your everyday life; it’s just a matter of upgrading your house to more efficient appliances. On a side note CFLs take a few seconds to come to full brightness, pay the extra bucks for the “instant on” CFLs, it’s well worth it.
Still if you don’t have the money to upgrade all our household appliances now it’s still a good idea to cut back on waste.
-Closing the blinds on a window because it’s too bright then turning on the light in a room doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
-If you can remember to make all your trips around town in one big loop rather than 5 individual trips out and back saves a lot of gas (and time in my experience).
-If you have to wrap in a blanket in the summer because the AC is too cold, maybe dial forward the thermostat a few degrees.
-Conversely if you’re in a t-shirt and shorts in winter and complaining of the cold, maybe try putting on pants and a sweatshirt before cranking the heat to 78 degrees.