Hone this Habit

Every New Year’s Eve, Americans await a brand new year — a clean slate — for them to accomplish the resolutions they have set. However, while 75% of resolutions will last through the first week of January, only 46% will make it through 6 months, the University of Scranton reports. What’s unique is that 39% of people in their twenties will achieve that year’s resolution, while only 14% of people over 50 will achieve theirs. Thus, our generation of “millennials” — people born between the early 1980s and early 2000s — are more capable of achieving their goals, if they put their mind to it.

This is the first of a weekly feature called Hone this Habit. Like New Year’s Resolutions, this segment will introduce simple steps you can add to your daily routine to reduce your carbon footprint. For example, start to unplug. Unplugging your chargers and appliances from outlets when you aren’t using them, are out of the room, or are traveling, is one of the easiest habits you can adopt.

According to the Energy Department, the average American household owns 25 consumer electronic devices, and the average charger consumes 0.26 watts of energy when not in use. This amount may seem trivial, but it’s more than 10% of the electricity used when a device is connected to the charger. If that isn’t incentive enough, the average residential cost of a kilowatt hour is about 8 to 10 cents. This is deceiving, because a kilowatt hour is the power of 1,000 watts expended over one hour. While it’s doubtful that your electricity bill will significantly decrease, unplugging electronics is great practice for adding steps to be more environmentally conscious in your daily routine. Here’s how to unplug:

  • Purchase a power strip. Some can fit up to 8 or 10 outlets, and with the flick of a switch, all of the plugs will stop consuming energy. It’s easy to do on a daily basis, and guarantees safety if you’re traveling and are worried about old wires or electrics being on.
  • Decide which electronics you use and don’t use. A lamp on your night table or desk you may use on a daily basis, but a stereo or DVD player cord can probably be unplugged.
  • Practice powering down. Instead of leaving electronics on sleep mode, or keeping them plugged in when they’re fully charged, be mindful of how long something has been charging, or think of when you will be using something next. If your cell phone is at 70% charge, keeping it plugged in overnight is not practical: it will only take a few hours to reach 100%, not an entire night, plus overcharging can exhaust the battery and shorten the lifespan of any electronic.

Start today and try to hone this habit in a week: Unplug!

© Rissponsible Living, 2015

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