Energy Diet

Chargers Galore

The infrastructure piece of this challenge is probably the easiest part of this diet for us. Our house is fairly new, so our appliances are green-certified, windows and doors are well sealed, and our water heater is insulated. The trickier part for all of us, as with every other challenge, is the behavior change. The girls are actually quite good when it comes to conserving around the house. They understand that lights need to be turned off and we don’t leave the TV on. These are things we have taught them from an early age.

Our house has no shortage of things plugged into the walls to charge, play or stream. Remembering to walk around and unplug them could be a full-time job. What I have done is disconnected appliances that are not used on a daily basis, and make sure to not leave my cell phone charger plugged in when not in use. I do have a solution for other outlets where electronics that are used daily are plugged in, but will save this story for my next post.

We probably have 20 can lights in our ceiling. I have slowly been replacing these with CFLs as they burn out. Over the last year we have converted all of our bulbs. They claim to have this everlasting life, but i have not found that to always be the case. They do last longer than the traditional bulb but we have not had any last as long as packaging claims.

An area that does not seem feasible for us is to hang dry our clothes. One reason is that we are in the middle of winter and the second is that we have nowhere to actually do it.

Overall our house is not an area that over-consumes and with a few slight adjustments, we can optimize it even more.


  1. clipton
    February 14, 2011, 6:19 pm

    Dirk–turning off lights is always a challenge. An interesting energy saving effort coined the “one person, one light” rule for the house. If only one person is home, only one light should be turned on and so forth. According to this practice, people turn off a light for each light turned on.

    Most CFLs are commonly advertised to last for 8,000 to 10,000 hours compared to a maximum 1,000 for incandescent lights. The data for CFLs was based on the practice of keeping a light on for several hours at a time. If your family turns CFLs on and off more frequently, it will shorten the life span.

    Other issues to pay attention to are whether the lights have a dimmer or a 3-way switch (ie 50-100-150W brightness). Make sure to purchase dimmable CLFs for light switches with dimmers. A standard CFL will not last long in a dimmable light switch.

    To a lesser extent, the same is true with a 3-way switch. A standard CFL can be used in a 3-way switch, but with a reduced life span. Three-way CFLs are available for purchase and recommended for 3-way light switches.

    You may already be doing this, but for can lights, I recommend CFL floodlights. CFL floodlights also come with a dimmable function if need be.

  2. ACEEE
    Washington, DC
    February 25, 2011, 2:02 pm

    Those are great suggestions from Clipton. I’d also recommend looking for ENERGY STAR certified CFLs the next time you’re shopping for lights. ENERGY STAR certified bulbs must adhere to specific performance and reliability requirements, including offering a minimum rated lifetime of 6,000 hours or more. More information about ENERGY STAR CFLs is available on their website: