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Energy Educator Column

Energy Educator lightbulbAnswers to Frequently Asked Questions

WHY DO I HAVE TO TURN OFF MY PRINTER WHEN I AM NOT USING IT AND MY MONITOR AFTER I SHUT DOWN THE COMPUTER? SURELY THOSE LITTLE GREEN LIGHTS DON’T USE MUCH ENERGY.

You’re right. A single monitor and printer light do not use much electricity. However, we have over 1,200 computers in the district and by turning off these little lights, we can avoid over $3000 in unnecessary expenses district wide.

WHY ARE THE LIGHTS OFF IN THE DRINK MACHINES?

The soft drink company saves millions of dollars a year by having their customers pay for their advertising lights. The lights in the machines do not keep the drinks cold; they draw you to the machine to spend money. We want the product, but by not helping the soft drink company advertise, we are saving several thousand dollars a year — as much as $8,000.

WHY DO I HAVE TO UNPLUG EQUIPMENT IN MY ROOM OVER HOLIDAY BREAKS? IT DOESN’T COST ANYTHING WHEN THE EQUIPMENT ISN’T RUNNING, DOES IT?

There are two reasons for unplugging the equipment. First, although the equipment is turned off, there is still a small amount of electricity being pulled through the wiring. This is know as “trickle down” energy waste. In the average home, if homeowners choose to do so, about $150-$200 a year could be saved in energy costs by plugging in appliances on an as need basis, rather than leaving everything plugged in for “convenience’s sake.” Now imagine the number of “appliances” found in each of our facilities and imagine the savings generated by unplugging items that will not be used over school breaks. Remember that some of our buildings have average electric bills of over $10,000 per month! A second reason to unplug equipment is for the added protection it gives to power sensitive equipment. A power surge or traditional summer thunderstorm can wreak havoc on electrical equipment, so unplugging is cheap insurance.