When we turn on the lights, use our computers, or leave a cell phone charger plugged in, we use electricity, which emits carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases (GHGs). At the County of Ventura, we have taken a system-wide approach to reducing our GHG emissions in order to reach our goal of cutting our carbon footprint by 15 percent by 2020. From installing solar photovoltaic systems to implementing lighting upgrades, we've launched a series of energy-saving projects. But we also need your help. Offices and homes can save anywhere from 5 to 20 percent on utility bills by making a few small changes. Below are some ideas for getting started.
Just Unplug It!
Want to save up to 5 to 10 percent on your energy bill? Just by turning off small devices and appliances, you can save money and electricity.
When left plugged in, our electronic gadgets and basic appliances still use what's called phantom or vampire energy, even when they are turned off or in
sleep mode. A plugged-in cell phone charger sucks energy even when it's not charging your phone.
Turn off your computer monitor; unplug your cell phone charger; switch off the printer. Together, these small actions can add up to meaningful energy savings.
Buy ENERGY STAR and EPEAT
When it comes time to buy new appliances or computers for the home, buy a device with the ENERGY STAR® or EPEAT® label. ENERGY STAR is a voluntary labeling program designed to identify and promote energy-efficient products. Appliances, computers, and lighting with the ENERGY STAR label generally use 20 to 30 percent less energy than required by federal standards. EPEAT is a comprehensive environmental rating that helps identify greener computers and other electronic equipment. Buying these green labels is an easy way to reduce energy use.
Explore Energy Upgrade
Energy Upgrade California is a new incentive program for Southern California Edison (SCE) customers, including all-electric homes. Incentives of up to $1,000 are available to SCE customers who participate in the Basic Package of energy-saving home improvements. With a variety of participation options, you can correct home energy inefficiencies, increase comfort, and possibly save money on your utility bills.
Use an LED Task Light
Shine a little light—an LED task light, that is. When it comes time to replace your conventional task light, consider replacing it with a high-performance LED light. Why LED? Simple—it uses less electrical energy, which means less greenhouse gas emissions. LED technology produces light in a whole new way, surpassing the quality and efficiency of existing lighting technologies, such as fluorescent and incandescent.
Turn Off Your Screensaver
Screensavers were originally designed to protect older monochromatic monitors, a type of monitor that's rarely seen anymore. Newer monitors, such as those that use LCD or LED technology, don't need screensavers at all. Animated screensavers are fun, but are a needless drain of energy. Save energy and reduce energy costs by turning off your screensaver.
Put Your Monitor to Sleep
Configure your monitor's sleep feature to automatically power down when you're away from the computer (look for "Power Options" in the Control Panel). This sleep mode still uses some energy, so at the end of the day, or if you'll be away from your computer for more than 20 minutes, turn off the monitor.
Install Solar Panels
Install solar panels on your home and make a serious dent in your carbon footprint. With falling prices and enticing incentives, clean, green power from the sun is an increasingly attractive option.