Colgate, Unplugged: 13 Steps for Sustainable Success

It’s that time of year again! November 3 through November 17 is the Office of Sustainability’s annual Colgate Unplugged event, an initiative to reduce electricity use in first-year residence halls. In honor of Colgate Unplugged, I’ve come up with a list of tips on reducing electricity and paying attention to your personal environmental impact, just by applying some of this advice into your daily life – for this week’s Colgate Unplugged, and every week after that.

If you’re wondering how you can help reduce 

electricity in your residence hall, apartment or wherever you’re living, we’ve got some tips to help. Try and keep some of these tips in mind when you’ve going about your day, and your carbon footprint can get much, much smaller.

1. Make sure you turn off all the lights when you leave a room. Remember to check for lights that might be hidden, like in the shower of a suite. Write yourself a note on the lightswitch so you remember to flip it before leaving.

2. Unplug electronics when you’re not using them. Microwaves, desk lamps, water heaters, etc. all draw electricity even when they’re off and not in use.

3. Unplug your laptop when it’s done charging. Not only does this save electricity, but it’s better for your battery!

4. Wash your clothes on cold. Not only does this save electricity that would go towards heating the water, but it’s also gentler on your clothes and prevents colors from running. This way, you can cut down on how many loads of laundry you have to do, saving money, time and the environment! 

5. Air dry your clothes. This is also good for helping your clothes last longer, especially sweaters and knits.

6. Put as much laundry as you can in one load. You’d be surprised how much you can actually fit. Plus, if you’re paying for your laundry, this could save you a significant amount of money over time.

7. Unplug any light strings before you leave.

8. Replace any incandescent or CFL light bulbs with LED ones. They use significantly less electricity, last up to a decade and don’t heat up.

9. Use natural light. Even though Hamilton skies are often gray, opening the curtains can usually let in enough light during the day that you don’t need to turn on all your artificial lights. It’ll help both your eyes and your power bill!

10. Make sure that your extension cords and power strips are energy-efficient, and plug your electronic devices into the power strip instead of directly into the wall.

11. If you have a TV, make sure it’s all the way off when you’re not using it. When a TV or computer is plugged in on sleep mode, it’s still burning up energy, even if you aren’t actively using it!

12. Don’t overstuff your fridge. The more food and drinks you have in there, the more energy it takes to maintain its temperature.

13. Unplug and disconnect! If you’re bored, try going for a walk up the hill or cracking open that book you’ve been swearing you’re going to read. Any time spent not on electronic devices is time spent saving electricity. It’s that simple.

Even though Colgate sources the majority of its electricity from clean hydropower sources, it’s always good to conserve it, and getting into these energy-saving habits will serve everyone well in the long run. Make sure you do your part and spread the news for this year’s Colgate Unplugged, and all the time!