A bright idea: The creation of an Energy Savings & Awareness Week

The Energy Savings & Awareness Week activity wheel.

The issues of energy wastage and the lack of energy saving awareness have been talked about and discussed many times. Every year we read about these issues, celebrate Earth Day, organize Earth Hour — and then forget about the impact of these events.

We are part of a community and a much bigger nation that is responsible for this energy crisis, but we have done very little to change our individual behaviors or make others aware about the improvements we can make to save energy.

My plan to combat this habit is to host an Energy Savings & Awareness Week, starting in 2020. The goal will be to promote reusable energy resources, implement smart technology to measure and monitor energy usage and raise awareness about energy waste and potential savings. The event, nicknamed E-SAW, will begin March 21, leading up to Earth Hour on Saturday, March 28. The message of environmental protection and energy savings will be given through various activities, themes, and campaigns.

Week Activity Plan

Sunday: Selfie Sunday

Take a selfie while doing something that will help save the environment. It can be of you cleaning up garbage on the sides of roads, changing your incandescent light bulbs or air drying your clothes. Participants should upload the picture onto social media using the #ESAWselfie. My hope is that they do it for the picture initially, but continue doing the action to help the environment.

Monday: Monitor Monday

Take a picture of your energy meter readings located outside your house. At the end of the week go back and compare the numbers. That will be the amount of energy your household used in a week. Also, take some time to glance at your energy, water and gas bills. Many people will be shocked to see how much they pay for utilities. Smartphone applications like Meter Readings and Watt’s Plus can be leveraged to make people aware of energy saving applications and usages. This empowers consumers to measure, monitor, and save energy anytime, anywhere.

Tuesday: Tech Tuesday

Invest in a piece of smart technology for your home. My top recommendations are:

  • A smart thermostat
  • Energy-efficient appliances
  • Smart power strips
  • Wi-Fi controlled light bulbs
  • Smart utilities

Upgrading to newer technology can help consumers save a lot of energy. The initial investment will pay itself back in the form of reduced energy bills thanks to energy savings.

Wednesday: Work Wednesday

Look at all the ways you can save energy at your workplace or school. Start with walking, running, bicycling or sharing a ride to get to your destination. If possible, take public transportation like the bus or train. Participants should take part in easy actions like turning off their lights and powering down their computers while leaving work at the end of the day.

Thursday: Turn Off Thursday

In preparation for the big event on Saturday go through your house and unplug everything that you will not need to use for the remainder of the week. It can be an iron, laptop charger, etc. Make sure to fully unplug them from their outlets for maximum energy saving potential. Many people do not know this but even if you are not using the item, if it is still plugged in it is still using energy.

Friday: Fix It Friday

Go through your house and fix anything that can be wasting energy. Check the sinks and showers for any leaks. Also check around the doors and windows for any spots that are leaking air. These small cracks can have a huge effect on your energy bills. Consider participating in an energy audit for your home. They will replace your light bulbs and fix all small leaks for a small charge.

Saturday: Showdown at Sundown Saturday

This is the final event of this extravaganza. In correlation with Earth Hour’s initiative to turn off your lights for an hour, the community will switch off all major landmarks' lights off. All residents are encouraged to participate as well. It will wake people up to the realities of energy consumption and show them how dependent they are on electricity. Residents need to go through their house and turn off all lights and unplug all non essential items like TVs, microwaves, phone chargers, etc.

As government and private sectors continue to work on alternate energy resources, electric cars, newer technologies to extract fuels, smart appliances, and other technologies, it’s important that we, as citizens, continue to adapt to newer energy resources and do our part by saving energy as much as we can. Our Energy Savings & Awareness Week will instill some necessary environmental habits, create awareness that will help make the planet a cleaner and greener home.

How do you move the Planet Forward? Tweet us @planet_forward or contribute to the conversation with your own story.