Mar/10

5

Green Family Challenge #4 Results

Families participating in our Green Family Challenge were asked to monitor their home’s electricity use and share their attempts to “hibernate” for Challenge #4: In the Dark? Each family received a watt meter, home electrical monitor, and low watt bulbs. When they actually took stock of how much electricity their homes used, they were amazed!

For the Ballentine Family in Maryland, their mantra became “Turn it off when you leave it behind. Whatever IT is— whether light, radio, computer, television—IT needs to go off.” Nine-year-old son Henry even offered his perspective and vowed to cut back on his lighting use in his bedroom.

The Carmignani-Goodman Family in San Diego blanched at the thought of using low watt bulbs, thinking about the “swampy hue” the bulbs would produce. Thus, they were delighted to “see” that low-impact bulbs now provide the typical warm glow they craved. However, the family wondered at the logic of using meters and monitors that require electricity to tell consumers how much electricity is being used in their home!

Seeing “blue” is the new “green” for the Abramson Family at Yale University in Connecticut. The CFL bulbs give off a bluish hue, but if the family can get the rest of the dorm rooms on campus to use them, the university will be using 75 percent less energy! They also discovered the phenomenon known as “vampire power”: even though an appliance/computer/recharger is turned off, if it’s not unplugged it still “sucks up” electricity.

The Dewar-Yates Family in Chicago admitted that their home was the “hands-down winner in energy consumption” and immediately made a huge effort to improve. Turning out the lights (or at least using less) can have an unexpected effect: it gave the illusion that the family was not at home! Could that be why they haven’t yet received their order of Girl Scout cookies?

The Kranz Family received their Green Family Challenge Kit late, but had fun trying out all of the fun gadgets and gizmos used to test energy use in the home. They included a short video showing the nifty thermal leak detector at work!

Having the home electrical monitor displayed in a prominent location (the kitchen!) was great motivation for the Turkle Family in San Diego to cut back on energy use, as the thing really jumped when they used appliances like the clothes dryer, hair dryer, and toaster. Solar panels, anyone?

Blog post readers voted for their favorite attempts at electricity-use reduction effots. Congratulations to the Ballentine and Abramson families! Each will receive San Diego Zoo sweatshirts for their “hibernation” efforts to help them keep warm.

Challenge #5: It’s All Fun and Games
Our families will take a look at their recreational and entertainment choices. See what ideas they come up with to make going green fun! Your favorite family will receive a Caravan Tour at the San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park. For added fun, we’ve asked some celebrities to write about efforts to reduce their carbon footprint. See who has taken the challenge in our Famously Green category!

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