Having lived in the 5th wheel for the past 5 years, J.O and I are very accustomed to low energy bills. In fact, most of the places that we camped at included electric in our monthly rent. The few places that we did in fact have to pay for our own electric, it was never a huge deal, because well, we were in a 5th wheel and we didn’t use a ton of energy.
We knew that electricity in Hawaii was expensive (roughly $0.35/kwh) but we did not know how much energy we were really using now in new space! You can imagine our gasp when we received our first monthly electric statement here. To give you an idea, it was pretty close to what we were paying for our 3000 square foot house in Wisconsin 5 years ago where we had air conditioning and a lot more electronics. Here we have 2 tvs, an electric coffee maker, a printer, our phone chargers, floor lamps, fans, dvd players, electric stove, a huge fridge and a dishwasher and no air conditioning: less things to plug in than when living in our home in Wisconsin, but way more than in our 5th wheel.
So, we decided that for month #2, we would test the waters on how much we could save by simply unplugging things when not in use. You see, when you have an electronic plugged into the wall, even if it’s not on it is still drawing energy: just enough to make it ready to go. We unplugged our tvs when not in use, our printer, our coffee pot, our floor lamps and turned over head lights off when not in use. Anything that was plugged in would be holding a draw of energy, so we simply unplugged it to cut that constant draw. At first, I’ll admit, it was tough to get used to, but soon it became second nature: like putting the toaster away when you’re done using it (which by the way draws the most electricity other than your fridge in your kitchen…unplug it).
We just received our bill today and my jaw dropped when I say the results…30% saved! 30% just from unplugging! Not only did we save money, but we lived a little more green too!
I’ve also heard of various adapters you plug into your wall that block the “ghost energy” when things are not turned on and I’m curious on how well they actually work. You could also look into buying an energy monitor to see how much energy you are using with various things or change out your light bulbs to the new LED bulbs (they last 20 years!). I think it so great how there are many small ways to go a little more green and save money these days. Obviously looking into solar panels out here would be great, hopefully our landlord will make the investment some day