Week 4 & Ending Strong!

Posted: August 17, 2012 by Hannah Chow in Week 4: Final Reflections
Tags: , , , , ,

Can’t believe it’s already the last blog post of our PSP!  This project has been a wonderful experience and I hope to continue living out this action after this project is over! Who knew that unplugging could have so many benefits environmentally, socially, as well as economically! I think that I have been successful in helping contribute to save energy and power on our earth. Although I am unable to know how much of a difference it makes on my power bill because I don’t have access to that in my co-op, I know that my actions have still made an impact in some way or other.

Before & After!
**my photo

My experience started out more difficult than I had imagined when I was unable to fit time in my morning schedule to pull out all the plugs around my room. It wasn’t until I bought a few power strips and multi-outlet plug-ins that I was able to accomplish my task. Using power strips is just one way to improve your home’s efficiency. There are so many ways we can increase efficiency in our homes. There are many websites including this one on the Energy Star website that can help you assess your home and how well you are using energy in your home compared to others. And by analyzing the results, we can figure out which ways are best to save energy!


You may ask, how does unplugging relate to environmental, social, or economical issues? In terms of the environmental aspect, unplugging can save energy and electricity consumption, which makes up for a huge portion of the consumer’s environmental footprint. Most electricity generated in the US is from fossil fuels like oil, coal, and natural gas. And as we learned from our textbook and in class, in order to get all these resources, it all involves some form of environmental damage. For example, in order to get coal, it involves strip mining, which causes disturbance to the land as well as pollution. So, unplugging is a way to use energy more efficiently, and in doing so, it reduces the amount of fuel needed to produce a unit of energy output. Unplugging can also reduce emissions of pollutants, greenhouse gases, and prevent climate change because electricity is generated from the burning of fossil fuels. So if we cut down the amount of power we use, it can also lower the amount of pollution given off into the atmosphere and environment we live in.


The social aspect is that everyone can work together to unplug and save energy and power in order to better help our world and the environment around us, as well as to benefit our future generations. In a study about electricity saving in households using the social cognitive approach, they came up with two ways to promote saving electricity in households. The first point was, “to change the socio-structural environment to be more facilitating for energy saving and empower householders to be more effective in their striving towards this goal through improved feedback about their household’s electricity consumption.” Secondly was  “social norms marketing, communicating social expectations and others’ successful electricity saving achievements.” (Thøgersen & Grønhøj, 2010) So as a household, whether you live by yourself, with friends or family, it is good to work together in providing an energy saving atmosphere and to be encouraged to keep striving towards your goal when you can see how much energy and money you saved through unplugging.


Lastly, the economic aspect is that unplugging will help save money for everyone, as well as our economy. “Studies by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory show that standby power accounts for 5 to 10 percent of home energy use, so unplugging can cut that amount from your bill. “ (Welch,  2009) Like I mentioned in a previous blog, that can add up to approximately $10 a month on your utility bill. “The average U.S. household spends $100 annually to power devices while they are “off” or in standby mode. Nationally, standby power accounts for more than 100 billion kilowatt hours of U.S. electricity consumption every year and more than $10 billion in annual energy costs.” (West) That is a ton of money we can save every year to put into other causes. Another economic aspect is that the need to save energy will provide innovators with jobs to keep striving to produce energy efficient products, and these products will help with the demand in our markets because people will always be looking for products that will help save money as well as help protect the environment. Speaking of jobs, Oregon has also been recognized for their program Clean Energy Works. “Clean Energy Works is shooting to retrofit 6,000 homes, creating or retaining 1,300 jobs, retrofitting 2.5 million square feet of commercial space, and reduce CO2 emissions by 200,000 metric tons, all by 2013.” (Hendricks & James, 2012) Not only is this program implementing energy efficiency into homes, they are also providing more jobs for people and saving the environment at the same time! We need more programs like these!

Global impact

Unplugging can cut down that electric bill!!

The global impact of my individual action of unplugging will help our world and our current issue with climate change and global warming. Like I mentioned earlier, power and electricity come from fossil fuels. Their emissions cause harm to our environment, contributing to the impact on global warming. So what each individual does towards saving energy will also impact the world in helping stop global warming. If others started to do the same action of unplugging, then we would really make a huge impact on our economy as well as on our environment. The billions of dollars we would save could be put into more energy saving programs to help better our world.


I want to continue unplugging after this class is over!  It has already become a routine for me every morning, so I really hope I can maintain this habit for a long time! When I move out of this co-op and into my own home in the future I want to see how unplugging can really make an impact on my utility bill. It will be very interesting to see the results for myself! Some other PSP actions that could also fit in my lifestyle are to recycle more as well as to use cars less and walk or bike more! Even though I don’t have a car in Corvallis, when my friends and I go to places around town we always drive. It would be a good change to walk or bike instead. Not only will that decrease pollution, it will also better our health due to an increase in exercising.

Overall, this project has more of a learning experience for me rather than a task I have to do everyday. It has taught me how to really be energy efficient, especially within the home. Through this blog, it has really reminded me of how I’ve progressed in this project and how it has changed me as a person. I hope that you all will pick up the action of unplugging as well!

Happy Unplugging!


Welch, L. (2009). Easy energy savers. Real Simple, 10(9), 127. Retrieved from http://mw8xt6bj7r.search.serialssolutions.com/?ctx_ver=Z39.88-2004&ctx_enc=info:ofi/enc:UTF-8&rfr_id=info:sid/summon.serialssolutions.com&rft_val_fmt=info:ofi/fmt:kev:mtx:journal&rft.genre=article&rft.atitle=easy energy savers&rft.jtitle=Real Simple&rft.au=LIZ WELCH&rft.date=2009-09-01&rft.issn=1528-1701&rft.volume=10&rft.issue=9&rft.spage=127&rft.externalDBID=RLSM&rft.externalDocID=1831105551

Thøgersen, J., & Grønhøj, A. (2010). Electricity saving in households—a social cognitive approach. Energy Policy, 28(12), 7732–7743. Retrieved

West, L. (n.d.). Slaying energy vampires can save you money and help the environment. Retrieved from http://environment.about.com/od/greenlivingdesign/a/energy_vampires.htm

Hendricks, B., & James, A. (15, August 2012). Building better neighborhoods: A success story on innovation, jobs and consumer savings from energy efficiency. Retrieved from http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/08/15/696101/building-better-neighborhoods-a-success-story-on-innovation-jobs-and-consumer-savings-from-energy-efficiency/?mobile=nc

  1. julie says:

    In Australia, the on-off switches are build right into the wall outlets… I think that would be a great feature to have if I ever buy/renovate a house. Until then, using power strips is a great solution! It turns out, they even sell “smart” versions that automatically cut off power to electronics in ‘stand by’ mode: http://www.amazon.com/Smart-Energy-Saving-Autoswitching-Technology/dp/B000P1QJXQ/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1345362489&sr=8-4&keywords=energy+saving+power+strip

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