4 Ways I Stopped the Energy Vampires in My Home

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As a Lowe’s Creative Ideas Ambassador, I received a gift card in order to complete this project. As always my comments and opinions are my own. Enjoy!


If there is one thing certain these days, it’s that technology is changing every facet of our lives…and very quickly at that. Just consider the humble light bulb. For decades we’ve used incandescent bulbs which look pretty close to the same bulb that made Mr. Edison so famous. Then suddenly, in just a matter of years, compact fluorescents came along, and now LED lights are fighting for prominence.

This month’s challenge from the great folks over at Lowe’s was to make the house more energy efficient, and it’s a good thing, too. We already have the attic well insulated, so that took away one of the obvious options. But we did a quick audit of the house and found a couple of significant ways we could conserve energy and decrease our carbon footprint by making it more energy efficient.

The first area we identified and targeted for improvement was the lighting in our rooms. Check out the collage below:

Energy Collage 6

This collage represents a test we did with some different light bulbs on a lamp in our house. From left to right, the first photo shows an old-fashioned incandescent 75 watt light bulb; the second, an 18 watt compact fluorescent, labelled as a 75 watt incandescent equivalent in brightness; and the third, a 16 watt LED, also identified as a 75 watt incandescent equivalent. Well, you can see for yourself, the energy sipping LED is clearly the brightest of the three.

The next thing we looked at was our use of stand-by power in the house.  Some use the phrase “vampire power,” which I think is a better description, because it refers to the energy electronic devices suck through our meters when they are not in use. We found two spots in our house where this was particularly a problem. The first is where our TV and stereo live, and the second is in the computer area.

We found the coolest little solution for this problem. Check out the picture:


I love intelligent ideas and this surge protector is a great one. It has three different types of outlets: 2 always on, 1 master, and three energy saving outlets as you can see. So, in the two Always On outlets go the DVR and Satellite cords which need to stay on. The TV gets plugged into the Master outlet, and the amplifier and DVD player get plugged into the Energy Saving Outlets. Now, here’s the cool part. When the Energy Saving outlets sense that the device plugged into the Master outlet is turned off, they turn off, too, which stabs that power sucking energy vampire right in the heart! When our TV goes off, the power to the amplifier and DVD goes off, too, there is no standby mode sucking energy while they are off.

The next thing we did to make our home more energy efficient was installing some special curtains. They are thick and heavy and help prevent heat loss by making it harder for heat to penetrate them and leave the house through the window.

After taking a long look at where we spend most of our time, it was no surprise that we spend a lot of time in the kitchen with the lights on. So we installed an energy sipping light strip in the kitchen to replace the old fluorescent lighting. What’s great about the LED is the room is much brighter and the energy usage is about 75% lower now. Just nine 1 watt bulbs, amazing!

light strip

Well, that’s what we did. We made our house more energy efficient by changing old-fashioned light bulbs to LEDs, where it made sense and we wanted brighter light. We installed a special surge protector to prevent the energy vampire from sucking electricity through the entertainment center. We installed insulating curtains. And I just love my new lighting in the kitchen. It’s fantastically bright and cheery, and I love that it is using so much less energy.
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Great ideas can save you money and help lower your carbon footprint. Would you like some free inspiration for your own great ideas? I invite you to sign up for the Lowe’s Creative Ideas Magazine. They have great idea for all kinds of projects in and around the home.

Also, get even more creative ideas with Lowe’s at Pinterest, Lowes in Instagram, and like Lowe’s on Facebook, all great places to get you started on your own projects at home. And don’t miss the Lowe’s Creative Ideas website, where there are always great ideas.

Have fun!

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