Introduction: Getting Rid of "Vampire Power" and Becoming More Efficient-Earthjustice United States of Efficiency Contest Entry

You may not know this, but all of your plugged in devices, turned off or not, are using up power as we speak. This is what we refer to as "vampire power". Think of it as your never used VCR plugged into the wall, or that coffee maker you got as a gift even though you don't drink coffee. Even a small turned off cel phone uses up small amounts of power. "Vampire power" accounts for about 5% of your electric bill every month. In other words, 4 billion dollars of wasted electricity per year in the USA alone. You might not think that your small electric toothbrush uses up much power at all, but it adds up. Now of course it would be hard to unplug every single item in your house when not in use for a little while, but the goal is to get rid of the unused electric devices that are polluting our atmosphere bit by bit.

Step 1: What Uses the Most Power?

As I said, everything plugged in uses power turned on or off, but some use much more than others. Mainly the bigger devices will use the most, but it depends sometimes. Here is a list of some things to watch out for.
-That old TV that you never use hooked up to all those game systems
-The dusty VCR/DVD player
-The loud dryer that keeps you up at night with it's rattling
-The big coffee maker that smells strange
-Chargers of cell phones, ipods, gameboys, or whatever else you charge
-The fridge in your garage
-ANYTHING that you don't use often or that is very big that you could afford to unplug

Step 2: What More?

Just unplugging some devices is going to save the earth, and save you money, but here are some extra tips on other ways to be more efficient and green.
-If you like something that you would normally throw out, keep it. For instance, I have a really cool 16 oz. energy drink bottle/can, so their is no need for me to go buy a new water bottle.
-If you like a certain type of fruits or vegetables (for me it's pineapple), try growing it. You won't become self sufficient with no need for a grocery store, but it is a fun activity and just think of all the fuel and energy saved if everyone in the USA decided to just grow 5 tomato plants meant to consume. That's a lot! It's really not that hard, and there is nothing better than eating food you've planted.
-Think of what can be substituted with a manual device, such as a coffee maker. I actually prefer french press coffee, and no energy except that which is used to heat the water is wasted.
-Learn a couple of things from people in the early days of america. They seemed to do just fine without energy, why can't we? Now that doesn't mean go driving a horse around town and only use candles, but just look at some of the things that they did manually.
-Challenge yourself to think of new ways of doing things in a greener way. Anything at all you could probably think of a better way of doing if you have some time to think. Just small things like when its cold out, store perishables in the garage or shed and unplug the fridge.
Earthjustice United States of Efficiency Contest

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