Learning about Energy Savings and The Lorax

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Energy usage and the environment as a whole are issues we can all be mindful of. Here’s how our family is learning more about them.

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A few weeks ago I signed up for an energy saving program with San Diego Gas and Electric. The deal is that every so often, they’ll send me an alert a day in advance of a special energy-saving day. If we use less than a set amount of energy in the time frame they set, we get a discount on our energy bill.

It was an eye-opening experience. We unplugged everything in the house (except for the fridge, freezer, TV/media center, and the internet router). We used no appliances except for letting the dishwasher finish its cycle. In retrospect, we could have unplugged the media items and the router, but they are finicky machines and I didn’t want to take the risk of losing our internet.

Energy Savings

The results were a little surprising. While we did use less than they asked us to (RYU), our overall energy use for that day was higher than average for this billing cycle. Further more, on looking at the entire month, I’m stunned that June 30, a day in which we were completely gone from our home on a vacation, registered so much energy use.

It was also a little disappointing to see that we only got $2.25 in discounts for basically powering out for a day.

The experience has made us wonder what is causing high energy use and why. We’ve since purchased a Kill-a-Watt Electricity Usage Monitor. It just arrived, so I don’t have results to report, but we’re going to check different appliances that we use and see if there’s something that’s sucking the energy more than it should. My guess is that it might be the freezer.

Regardless, it’s made us all more mindful about turning off lights and using less energy.

The Lorax had some good lessons, too.

The Lorax comes out on Blu-Ray and DVD today. My kids loved watching the review copy we received last week. Here’s the synopsis of the film that gets you thinking about environmental issues, according to my favorite ten-year old:

The Lorax is a movie about a guy named Ted. He wants to impress this girl that he likes so he finds the thing she wants to see most, a real tree. The place they live in is called Thneedville where everything is fake. There are no real plants or anything that grows. Everything is made of plastic or filled with air. There are no trees.

The air is really bad without any trees. This guy, O’Hare, makes money selling air to people.

Ted asks his gramma for help. She advises him to talk to the Once-ler.

Seeing as the air is controlled by Mr. O’Hare, the most powerful man in the city, Mr. O’Hare built a wall around the city to keep the truth about trees from the people. He doesn’t want the people to know how good trees are. The Once-ler will tell him about the trees.

Ted goes outside, past the wall, and goes to where he sees a big, dark house. He asks the Once-ler about the trees…. his tale is the tale of the Lorax.

Here’s what FishBoy10 had to say about the film as a whole:

The Lorax is a good movie for young children to learn about the importance of the environment and the funniness will make older people like it as much.

I would have to agree! I really enjoyed it. The “funniness” made me laugh. More importantly, the story of the Once-ler and his mistakes and how he finds redemption drew a few tears. Like Wall-E I found it to be a light-hearted, yet important reminder to care for this Earth that God has given us — and to appreciate the nature that He has filled it with.

If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend a family viewing. We thought it was really cute.

You can click on the image before to print out activity sheets to do with your kids after the movie. The sheets give kids ideas on how they can save energy.

Does your family do anything special to be mindful of the environment?

Disclosure: This post does include Amazon affiliate links. If you make a purchase through those links, I am paid a small amount in way of advertising fees. I received a review copy of the film from Universal Studios.

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  1. This whole you need to unplug it thing irks me. If i turned it off it should not suck power. Please definitely get back to us about how your new gadget works. I’ve been meaning to contact my company about how to reduce my energy use.

  2. Great tips on reducing energy. I heard that a while ago, too, that it’s not enough to turn something off, you need to unplug it as well. I’m trying to be more mindful when it comes to this, but it’s easy to forget. I wish my electric company did something like this – it sounds like such a great program.

  3. It’s probably the freezer or fridge. We left town for a month back in 2008 and unplugged everything and turned off A/C… except for the fridge…and the bill was still $70. I knew then it was time for looking into more energy efficient fridge.

  4. Vampire energy use does add up. On the market there are a number of special power strips that our family use for the entertainment equipment and computers. The primary item, tv or computer, is the trigger to turn the rest of the items off. There are a couple slots for itms that need to stay on, cable box and router. Everything but the “keep on” items shut off when the tv goes off. Also only running appliances in the evening during lower cost times help.

      1. I looked online and here’s a link to one on Amazon

        It’s called Smart Strip LCG3 Energy Saving Surge Protector with Autoswitching Technology, 10-Outlet. They also have one with less plugs. It’s pricier than a regular surge protector, but you get energy savings and surge protection. We even hooked up any video gaming technology in case the kid forget to turn it off. We have a Wii.

  5. I’ve started to pay much more attention to this lately. I’m trying to be better about unplugging things, turning the computer off, and this summer I’ve started hanging most of our laundry on a clothesline outside. Unfortunately, it’s been so hot it’s hard to tell by comparing our utility bills to last year if we’re using less. I know we’ve had our air conditioning on more this year.

    A few weeks ago we got new windows (which makes me unbelievably happy – I can open them!!!) so we’re hoping this makes our house more energy efficient.

    I’ve also become much more intentional about how much I drive. If I’m able to run errands without the kids I can do many on foot. When school starts I’ve got a few ideas for how I can conserve without having to walk 1.2 miles with my 6 y/o and 3 y/o.

    I’m jealous of your energy company’s program. Ours has a plan where they come an install something on your air conditioner which gives them the power to turn it off during peak usage times. Not only does it bug me to give them that kind of control but we’re home during the day. I’m boggled anyone would sign up for this service. Especially since their “Peak Usage” time extends to 10 p.m.!

  6. We keep our microwave unplugged and our computer stuff on a power strip that goes off at night. What’s really killing us is we’re Northerners in this Southern climate who can’t handle the summer heat very well. Air conditioning expenses are much higher than I’d like. But we were sleeping poorly because we were trying to save money so I turned the air down and now we’re sleeping better but I’m not looking forward to getting the electric bill this month.

  7. Now that you mention it, we used to unplug everything except clocks before going to bed, event the washing machine and dryer. I don’t rememeber where I heard this, but things use power just being plugged in even if they’re not ON. We took these measures because our energy bill became uncomfortably high and we did see a huge drop in our bill. I guess it became too much of a pain to continue, but I think we’re going to inconvienence ourselves again and get back to it.