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The Racing Extinction Challenge: Energy

posted: 11/18/15
by: Danny Clemens
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Editor's note: This week, I'm taking the Racing Extinction Challenge. Join me as I make small lifestyle changes related to my diet, energy consumption and transportation habits. Click here to learn more.

I'm the first to admit it: I need to work on my energy consumption. Growing up in the 90s, I was constantly surrounded by electricity-sucking gadgets and gizmos. Always being plugged in was my normal, and it wasn't until recently that I considered how much energy I was needlessly wasting.

The first tip from the Racing Extinction Energy Challenge really stuck a chord with me: "Power vampires are electronics that use energy even when they are 'asleep.' That includes your laptop, desktop, stereo, powered speakers and especially that great big flat screen TV in your family room."

Unsurprisingly, some investigating reveled that my house is full of electronics that suck power, even when they masquerade as being asleep. Luckily, I found an even easier way to deal with the vampires than buying power strips -- I checked out the power outlets in each room that were wired to on/off switches. For the most part, these outlets only had a lamp plugged in to them. After some strategic thinking, I was able to redistribute my vampire electronics to outlets that can easily be shut off completely.

Of course, you'll want to be sure not to overload a single outlet with too much electricity, but it was otherwise a super simple change that will make a huge difference in the long run.

Related: The Racing Extinction Challenge: Diet

Speaking of lights, I've also made the switch to LED bulbs. Far more energy-efficient than incandescent bulbs, LED lighting also lasts longer, is more durable and is less expensive to use than traditional bulbs.

I did a bit of early holiday decorating at my desk this week, and I made sure to purchase LED holiday lights. Each year, people around the world will deck the halls with millions -- if not billions -- of tiny lights. All of those festive luminaries add up, and swapping out traditional holiday lights for LED fixtures can also make a big impact.

Although the skyrocketing cost of LED lighting was a deterrent for many people when the technology was first introduced, the price has fallen significantly. When you consider the energy savings associated with LED lighting, the overall cost is likely the same (or less) than the cost associated with traditional bulbs.

Related: Millions of 'Shade Balls' to Prevent Evaporation in California Reservoirs

Of course, saving energy isn't just good for your wallet, it's also great for the planet. According to the EPA, electricity production accounted for 31% of greenhouse gas emissions across the United States, the largest single source of emissions.

Want to join me? Don't forget to sign up for the challenge at RacingExtinction.com. Check back with me tomorrow here on discovery.com, and I'll let you know how I'm doing.

I want to hear how it's going for you! Tweet @Discovery with the hashtag #StartWith1Thing and let us know how you're making making a difference.

We need to take a stand for our planet before it's too late.
Click here to find out how you can #StartWith1Thing and make a difference.

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On Wednesday, December 2nd, Discovery will present a global broadcast of Racing Extinction, a powerful eco-thriller that exposes issues of endangered species and mass extinction. Visit RacingExtinction.com for more information.

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