Go Cold Turkey

This year, as the Thanksgiving break approaches, the students of the Thursday Night Grassroots, (formerly the Thursday Night Group), are planning a campaign to encourage their fellow classmates to go cold turkey.

Before the students leave to visit family and friends they will be making sure that their dorm rooms are prepared for the break. They are cleaning out their fridges so they can unplug them, they are unplugging stereos, computer chargers, cell phones chargers, and other devices to cut down on ‘vampire’ loads. Vampire loads reportedly use up to 5% or more of electricity consumed in the United States every year.

Based on study by the Cailfornia Energy Commission residential low power mode (LPM) consumption is estimated to be about 108 W per house average. This totals nearly 1,000 kWh/year, or over 15 % of statewide residential electricity consumption. Over two-thirds of low power mode consumption is from electronic devices (audiovisual, information technology, and telephony).

We would like to encourage you to join the students in going cold turkey. If you are planning to leave your home during the holiday period, try to reduce your energy consumption as much as you can.

  • Unplug microwave ovens, stereos, radios, chargers.
  • Plug electronic devices into a power strip and turn it off.
  • Make sure you turn off all lights.
  • If you haven’t yet done so, this would be a good time to switch to compact flourescent lights.
  • Set your temperatures to a lower setting.
  • The experts at the US Department of Energy advise turning temperatures down to 55 degrees at night and when you are going to be away. Any lower and you might freeze your water pipes. If you have a programmable thermostat, you can set it to warm up your house, prior to your return. (If you don’t have one, I recommend getting one. You can purchase them at your local hardware store for $30 – $100. Or ask your heating specialist to install one for you.) Depending on where you live and the efficiency of your heating system and insulating factor of your home, you can save about 1% of heating bill for each degree lowered.Many people have asked me whether the energy to heat up their house after the temperature has been turned down cancels out the benefit. No! The energy saved as the temperature drops, is about equal to energy used to warm up your home. So all the hours at the lower temperature are energy saving hours. You are helping the environment by reducing greenhouse gases and saving money on your fuel bill as well.

    Have a happy Thanksgiving and ‘go cold turkey’!