Did you know that even when your electronics are turned off, fully charged, but plugged still plugged in, energy is being carried out from an outlet? Every day, many people leave their electronic devices plugged in even when they are not in use for long periods of time. I myself am more than guilty of this practice–whether it’s a hairdryer that’s plugged into the outlet in my dorm’s closet, or a phone charger that’s left plugged into the power strip next to my desk, (which, mind you, is also almost always kept turned on) I seem to forget that the energy being drawn from these power sources is going to waste. Rather than perpetuate this bad habit, I’d like to start keeping track of which devices don’t need to be plugged in 24/7.
Not only will cutting back on what i keep plugged in make me feel like I’ve reduced a bit of my carbon footprint, but it might also save me money in the future. According to the United States Department of Energy, most households spent around $1900 annually on energy fees and related costs. Yet anywhere from 5 to 10 percent of this cost is strictly a result of lost energy that results from keeping lights and other highly energy-dependent electronic devices plugged in. Although I may not be paying the power bill for my personal energy use at Lafayette, I do believe that changing my habits in this realm of energy consumption might benefit me economically later in life.
I do anticipate that this behavior change might be a bit challenging. It will require a lot of work and constant reminders to keep up on this adaptation, since this behavior is one that has been fostered from an extremely young age. I think it will be easiest to begin my goal of permanently “unplugging” by starting off with the electronics that I use the least, or by simply remembering to turn off power strip when I’m not at my desk. Additionally, there are a few lights in my room that are rarely turned on, as well as an electric pencil sharpener and desk clock that go heavily unused. I am hoping that by starting off by keeping the items I use the least unplugged, I will gradually be able to improve my carbon footprint and foster a more sustainable behavior.