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It’s that time of the year again when we all start thinking of goals to improve ourselves for the next 365 days. While most New Year’s resolutions deal with personal growth, there are some ambitions that can improve our energy use as well. To try to motivate and show others how easy it is to reduce energy, I’m going to adopt a new energy saving technique each week for the next month.

I’ll let you know Monday’s which strategy I’m going to try and give you updates about how it goes during the week. By the end of the month I’ll be able to implement all the techniques and be an energy saving machine! Any tips, suggestions, or questions are welcomed during this attempt, and I will tell you all about my personal experiences.

WEEK TWO

CHALLENGE:

After the success of last week, I’m excited to add more energy saving strategies to my office routine! In addition to limiting my car and elevator trips, this week I’m going to cut my electrical use by unplugging and turning off anything left unused.

GOAL:

Every day when I’m done with work, I log off my computer and leave it not only on, but plugged in. Our office sets our computers to shut down, but only on weekends, so they stay “asleep” all week long after everyone goes home. Starting today I will shut down my computer and unplug it when I leave and encourage my office neighbors to do the same. This can vastly save energy if multiple people partake and there is no reason not to, since we won’t even be using our computers after work.

Our office also uses sensors to turn off lights. While this technology has proved to save energy, we all can be a little more proactive in turning lights off when no one is using a space. Oftentimes it takes about 20 minutes since last detecting movement to shut off, so my coworkers and I are going to be one step ahead and turn off lights as we leave or when we see them on unnecessarily. Our office has many large windows that can provide sufficient light too, and if we get a sunny day (rare, but not impossible in a Buffalo, NY winter) we can turn off the overhead lights and go au natural!

So the goals have been set for this week, I’ll let you know how it goes!

EMILY'S UPDATE

UPDATE:

This week I’ve been pretty successful in keeping up the goals I set. Unplugging my computer and phone when I leave is obviously easy, as is turning off lights and opening shades. Both are simple steps that can painlessly be implemented along with last week’s goals.

However, there are some downfalls with unplugging and using natural light. Since it is winter in Buffalo, NY, it’s basically cloudy and snowy all the time with little sunlight. When there is a sunny day, the sun is only out for about four hours, so natural light isn’t as reliable as I thought. As we continue to trudge forward into spring though, I can turn off lights and open shades whenever there is sun, and hopefully by summer we can use natural light as our main source.

Unplugging my electronics when I’m gone is really effortless, but it does take me a tiny bit longer to log in my computer in the morning. I timed how long it took last week to just sign and clock in, and it was about 45 seconds. Now I have to plug in my computer, turn it on, and then sign in, which takes about 2 minutes. Maybe work should get me a faster a computer (hint, hint).

As I mentioned in last week’s boot camp I’ve been saving time using the stairs and bringing my lunch, so while it takes an extra minute to set up in the morning, I’m still saving time in other areas of my day. More importantly, I’m saving energy and my actions have motivated my coworkers to take steps to save. They might be small steps, but when everyone pitches in, it makes big difference!

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