ProjectGreenLancaster

Reducing Electricity Use

By: Justin Stitz

Power Strips and other cables and chargers use a lot of energy when they are not in use but plugged in.

Energy Use

            While it is no secret that things that are plugged in using electricity also use a lot of energy to power them while they are in use. But what most people don’t understand is even when they are not in use and are plugged in that they still use some energy. Even though that most appliances that are plugged in may be turned off or in standby mode they still use a little amount of energy. It may not seem like a good amount for singular items but if you add up all of the devices within your home or building then that can start to add up.

Common Appliances

There are many traditional appliances that have to be left plugged in such as a clock, telephone, even a TV because it takes so long to reboot. However others that won’t be put to use for hours at a time and can easily plugged back in, those are the appliances that could be taken out. Why not just pull the plug and save some money for yourself as well as saving the environment when you can plug them back in when you use them next.

Appliances that can be unplugged:

  • Phone Charger
  • Lamps
  • Stereo System
  • Computers
  • TV’s (If no reconfiguration is needed)
  • Unused Lights
  • Printers

Statistics:

As a count there are probably around 10-20 things plugged in around your house not including the “major appliances.” It has been said that you can save about $100-$200 a year by simply unplugging cords or power strips. As well as you can protect your university by unplugging these cords to prevent power surges or a breaker going out from having to many things plugged in a certain outlet.

Help Around Millersville

            Around Millersville there are multiple ways this mission could help save a lot of energy by simply unplugging things every night. There are many buildings around campus the campus of Millersville that uses a large amount of energy simply from the computer labs they have let alone everything else. The only building that does not use any would be the new Lombardo Center which does not use any. However all of this wide energy use on the campus could simply be prevented by unplugging any cords that are not in use or simply turn off the power cords that are not in use. The students and teachers can easily turn them on and off whenever they are using them, then are done with them after the fact.

How does this Help?

            This topic is important for many reasons, but the energy that these appliances and others use by simply being plugged in is powered by fossil fuels because that’s where energy comes from. When fossil fuels are burned they release carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the air which is a key contributor to global warming. So even though we use a lot of energy and electricity every day because of the machines being put to use and all of the electricity we use for daily needs. That still doesn’t mean we can’t cut out unneeded energy being put to use due to carelessness.

Goal:

            The goal is to raise enough awareness of what unplugging appliances or things that are not being used so we can save energy. This plan is designed for Millersville and people around Lancaster then maybe as time goes on and as it grows people will start being more aware to how leaving things plugged in costs them money and hurts the environment.

Lancaster city residents who have PPL as their electrical service will have to pay 7.8% more for electricity this year. This is a result of the company having to pay more for the transmission of power and electricity. We as a society are using a vast amount of power and energy in order to power our homes and waste some. As a result the price will increase at a very high price. The company adjusts their price every 6 months and it is becoming harder and costing more to generate this much energy at a high voltage. This is the largest increase the company has had while they have been operating.

Millersville built a zero energy building recently which is called the Lombardo Welcome center. The building has a zero energy certification which means it generates its own renewable energy to run everything that goes on within that building. The building has 528 solar panels on top of the building and 20 on the ground behind which help generate the electricity for powering the building. As well as the 20 geothermal wells drilled into the ground below the building to warm and cool the building. The building holds a lot of major university offices and programs within the building which will surely be put to use.

This photo was taken by Justin Stitz and it shows how lights are left on even when there is no one there which is wasteful.
This photo was taken by Justin Stitz and shows the machines that can be unplugged when not in use to save energy.
This photo was taken by Justin Stitz and shows what a typical Millersville computer lab electrical situation is at each set of computers.

Profiles:

Walter Kreider

Walter Kreider is a former Millersville university professor who has recently been struck by the electricity plan which is the power switch program. Well he was a member of of IDT energy which has a variable monthly billing plan. He was billed $375 one month for his electricity but was then billed $1,183 the next month. He though that it was a flat rate and clearly used more energy the one month rather than the other. But he then switched to a company that was better for him as a result of this. But it shows the price to pay for using that much energy or being wasteful with electricity.

Sam Zook

Sam Zook is a man who works at Belmont solar who investigated the Amish who don’t use electricity but instead use solar energy by the use of solar panels within their homes. He talks about how easy it is for people to access solar power energy by simply just buying the solar panels and a battery and you can easily help the environment. So it is that simple for people to access solar panels he even kind of brings up that it is easy enough for the Amish to do it and access it. He states they are able to run stores and power certain projects by solar power.

This is a chart I created that shows the energy consumption in PA.

References:

3 Easy Tips to Reduce Your Standby Power Loads. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/articles/3-easy-tips-reduce-your-standby-power-loads.

Crank, J., Crank, J. C. J., & Crank, J. (2018, October 12). Should You Unplug Appliances to Save Electricity?: Direct Energy Blog. Retrieved from https://www.directenergy.com/blog/should-you-unplug-appliances-when-not-in-use/.

Khalfani-Cox, L. (2016, July 15). 12 Household Appliances You Should Unplug to Save Money. Retrieved from https://www.aol.com/2011/06/20/12-household-appliances-you-should-unplug-to-save-money/.

Tbloom. (n.d.). 5 Ways Unplugging Helps the Earth and its Inhabitants. Retrieved from https://nfty.org/take-action/5-ways-unplugging-helps-the-earth-and-its-inhabitants/.