Phyllis Theermann

Making a difference is as easy as…

  1. Conservation
  2. Efficiency
  3. Renewable

This month’s conservation top tip comes from the Bender family.

The Benders save over $4500 each year from energy conservation and efficiency which makes it easy to justify spending less than $10 per month to power their home with 100% renewable electricity through Wellesley’s Renewable Energy Program.

All too often electricity is framed as energy = money, but there are more reasons to use electricity efficiently and other contexts to motivate action.  One of the hot political topics is how to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse in government spending.  When it comes to our home electricity use reducing waste, fraud and abuse is one of the easiest and most rewarding places to start.  The Bender family was able to reduce electricity use 21% by reducing “always on” power, or vampire energy, by unplugging or using a power strip to shut off electronics:

  • Stop Waste by unplugging Infrequently used equipment – This is a great opportunity to unplug or use a power strip.  Something as innocuous as a treadmill,  can use more “off” than a table lamp “on” for 8 hours.
  • Eliminate Fraud – Is your cable box pretending to be “off” but still using power?  A DVR cable box will use more power in 12 hours switched “off” with a button  than a 55-inch LED TV uses in 3 hours “on”.  Use a power strip or timer to switch off your entertainment electronics
  • Reduce Abuse from computer peripherals – Don’t waste your time with cell phone chargers when a laser printer can use as much electricity in “standby” as 100, plugged-in, cell phone chargers.

Kill-A-Watt Meter

How do you know if your electronics are wasting power? Some small electronics like phone chargers, battery chargers, cable boxes can be checked by touch; if the electronics are warm, they are using power.  Larger electronics like a printer or audio/video require a power meter like the Kill-A-Watt meter to measure the electricity usage.

How much electricity can you save by reducing “always on” power use? – Many homes can save 10% by using a few power strips.  That is enough savings to offset the cost of 25% renewable energy.

Take Action:

  1. sign out a Kill-A-Watt meter from the library
  2. Learn more about various electronics standby power in your home
  3. Apply your savings to Wellesly’s Renewable Energy Program
Phyllis Theermann

These look good, will save you money over the medium and long term, as well as reduce emissions significantly

According to the American Lighting Association, lighting accounts for about 15 percent of home electrical use. So changing to more energy efficient bulbs can result in big savings on your electricity bill.

Light bulb manufacturers are coming out with many new styles as incandescent bulbs are phased out in response to federal regulations requiring light bulbs to be more energy efficient.

Did you know?
If every household in the U.S.
switched 1 light bulb to a compact
fluorescent, the change would be
equivalent to removing 1 million
cars from the road.

New light emitting diode (LED) light bulbs have many advantages over thecompact fluorescent lamp (CFL). The LEDs turn on right away, can be used with a dimming switch, and do not contain mercury. Although they are more expensive, a typical LED light bulb will also last at least three times longer than a CFL, and at least 20 times longer than an incandescent bulb, which makes the LED ideal for a hard-to-reach location. Here are two LED bulbs we have tried and liked:

The Philips Ambient LED 12-Watt Light Bulbturns on right away, and can  be used with a dimming switch. The bulb emits a soft, warm light, equivalent to a 60-watt incandescent bulb, but this LED bulb uses only 12 watts of energy and will last for 25,000 hours (according to the manufacturer). Available at Home Depot.



The Sylvania 40-Watt Equivalent Warm White LED Light Bulb can be used indoors or in an enclosed outdoor fixture. According to the manufacturer, it willl last 50,000 hours or 45.7 years at 3 hours a day, so you won’t have to worry about changing it for a long time to come. Available at Green’s Hardware.


For more information on choosing light bulbs, see

To understand a little more explore the following links :

EPA – Energy Star light bulbs

Home Depot – LEDs

Amazon light bulb guide

Phyllis Theermann

Beginning Wednesday, February 22 – Wellesley Congregational (Village) Church and participants will receive a daily email with the day’s suggested carbon-reducing activity. When possible, this will include a quantitative measure of the carbon reduction resulting from the activity.


Each day’s activity will also be cumulatively posted here.

Last year, over 6,000 people in every state and 14 countries participated in this daily invitation to fast from carbon as their Lenten discipline. 

This year join our members of the Village Church and other residents in the Lenten Carbon Fast.