Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Reducing My Carbon Footprint

What a pleasant surprise! My electric bill for the month of February suddenly took a dip. It seems that just unplugging my air conditioner because it’s not being used during the winter, along with the paper shredder when not in use, plus replacing the old huge TV in the bedroom with a smaller LCD one is already paying dividends. It’s all due to phantom electricity and by unplugging those devices I am able to reduce my electric consumption (phantom electricity refers to the electric power consumed by electronic appliances while they are switched off or in a standby mode). When I’m not charging my netbook and laptop computers, I also turn off the power strip/surge protector. By far, the most power hungry device I have at home is probably the treadmill which I don’t use frequently, thanks to the fair weather we have most of the year in Southern California. I should probably unplug that too when not in use.
I’m not exactly an environmental fanatic but I do make an effort to conserve. All my light bulbs are now the compact fluorescent kind. Since I don’t have an automatic thermostat, I try to remember to turn off the heater before I leave home for my night shift job. And of course, as mentioned above, I unplug unused appliances. For several years now in drought stricken California, I’ve also reduced my water use. Oh, I almost forgot! I finally signed up for paperless statements from my bank, credit card company, and electric company. I get all those statements and bills online now.
My electric bill has been rising the past few years and I know because the electric company has a year by year comparison which shows how much I consumed from month to month going back three years. Just making minor adjustments in the way I live has made a difference. My pocketbook thanks me, and by trying to reduce my carbon footprint, hopefully the environment does too.
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