Tuesday, February 15, 2011

GE Ecomagination Program & A Giveaway

This is sponsored content from BlogHer and GE.


Ever since my kids were very young, we have recited Robert Frost's famous poem, The Road Not Taken, to them each night. When we first started, they simply thought it was a nice story about a trail through a pretty woods. Now they understand that Frost's decision to take the road "less traveled by" refers to the decisions, big and small, that we are faced with in our lives each day. When thinking about global issues that appear to be beyond our power as individuals, it is awfully tempting to tromp down that well-worn trail. Really, what can one person do to help with an enormous problem such as energy consumption and its consequences? I'll get to my kids' solution a little later.

With the introduction of the ecomagination Challenge, that is just what GE is urging each of us to think about. The Challenge is an open call for ideas for home energy creation, management, and use. They are not just asking the scientists, the engineers, and large corporations. They want to hear from mothers, fathers, and children about your ideas to reduce energy use. Big ideas. Ideas that can lead to significant changes in your community.

While putting our thinking caps on to come up with some ideas to submit to GE, we are doing our best to make small changes at home. These are small actions that have helped to significantly reduce our energy-related bills, not to mention reducing our carbon footprint. Here are just a few of those ideas:

1) Replace all incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent (CFL) or GE energy smart LED light bulbs.

2) Wash clothes in cold water.

3) In rooms that are not in use during the day, close curtains and blinds to reduce heat loss in the winter and to stop the rooms from heating up in the summer.

4) Unplug appliances (e.g., toaster oven, laptop computers) when not in use.

5) Pre-program thermostats to turn down heat or air-conditioning at night time or when no one is going to be home.

6) Use the Smart Wash cycle on Energy Star dishwashers.

Last spring, my boys watched several news stories and videos about global warming and how the melting polar caps are effecting the polar bears. They decided that they would like to do an environmentally-minded project. One of the concerns that we have with our city's recycling program is that they do not accept glass products. Instead, we have to collect the glass containers and drive them to a recycling bin that is about 25 minutes from our home. Not only does this negate the purpose of helping the environment (think: gas consumption), but most people will not bother to make the drive and, instead, throw the glass into the garbage.


Clipboard and fliers in hand, the boys approached a number of families in our neighborhood to sign them up for their own brand of recycling. Within 45 minutes, more than a dozen names were added to the list. These willing neighbors pledged to save their glass and put it on their front porch for pick-up each Monday morning. Every Monday, the boys walk to each house, pulling their Radio Flyer wagon behind them and load up the glass to take down to the recycling bin. To date, they have collected over 2000 glass containers and hope to convince our mayor to provide several recycling bins for our city.

My boys are proud that they took the road less traveled by and have made a difference for our neighborhood. It certainly inspires me to make changes of my own, such as turning down the air-conditioning a couple of notches during the summer or remembering to turn off the lights each time I leave the room. It's the little things that count.

Share with me what your energy use challenges at home are, for a chance to win a $50 GE energy smart light bulbs that lives 20 years and saves you $85 in energy costs.


No duplicate comments.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
b) Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
c) Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older.
Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail.
You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.

Visit the Official Rules

This giveaway runs from February 15 - March 15, 2011.

Visit the Exclusive Offers section


Debbie said...

Wow, you should be so proud of those boys! What a great thing for them to organize (and so nice of you to facilitate as I am sure they can't drive the bottles themselves.)

mmburdette22 said...

Unlike you, I actually I leave the curtains/blinds open in order to let in as much natural light as possible instead of using electricity. This works for me becase I live in temperature consistent climate where I rarely have to use heat/air conditioning.

Anonymous said...

I wash clothes in cold water, also. I usually hang clothes to dry and the kids help by turning lights off when not being used.


Dmarie said...

I love to cook and since we don't even use the AC for much of the summer, the oven's heat presents a problem. So when the weather cooperates, I'll use my SunOven to bake in. With back-to-back usage, I've even been able to use it to cook as many as three dishes in one day!

Kelly Massman said...

We turn down the heat at night in winter! Thanks!

Allison said...

We do lots to cut down on energy consumption. We generally keep the house at 60-65 during the day and then down to 55 at night (helps having two big dogs to heat the room up), we launder in cold water, we use the smart bulbs, and we unplug things when not in use (or try to remember to do this). We have a timer on our water cooler too so it doesn't refrigerate overnight for no reason :)

Amy said...

You have listed quite a few excellent tips. One I followed closely is to unplug appliances I'm not using. Unfortunately, my hubby always forgets to do so. So, I'm always on the look out! :P


Anonymous said...

we do a number of things including keeping the house set at 62 in winter, just using 1 room AC in the summer and wash primarily in cold water. i would love a chance to try the smart blubs.

jacquieastemborski AT comcast DOT net

Domestic Diva said...

We use gray water to water our indoor and outdoor plants.

lovelydomesticdiva (at) gmail (dot) com

Anonymous said...

Hi, we use a programmable thermostat and use timers on lights to save energy.
maddiemb {at} comcast (dot) net

Anonymous said...

Here's my tweet - http://twitter.com/#!/shala_darkstone/status/39309482920120320
maddiemb {at} comcast (dot) net

ky2here said...

Our 1883 Victorian is one big drafty energy project waiting to happen. We compost recycle and shop with cloth bags. We've gotten high energy storm windows and energy star appliances.

ky2here at msn dot com

slb3334 said...

We set the thermostat at 60 and keep warm with blankets and extra clothing.

Rebecca Graham said...

We are unplugging our cell phone charger cords and all other recharger cords when not in use.

rhoneygtn at yahoo dot com

Rebecca Graham said...

Tweeted: http://twitter.com/#!/rhoneygee/status/39590806234996737

rhoneygtn at yahoo dot com

Anonymous said...

Our challenge is to get everyone to turn items off the aren't using.. including the lights!

hebert024 at aoldot com

coliebear said...

Our challenge is we accidently leave the porch light on all day everyday by forgeting to turn it off.

miriama said...

My biggest challenge is that we live in an apartment and the washer and dryer are older. It takes longer than I would like to dry the clothes and the washer isn't energy efficient. However, we use cold water and we pull clothes out as they dry.

clc408 said...

My challenge is that the windows need to be replaced. We're saving up for that.

clc408 said...


~~ said...

well--we have slowly been able to purchase new Estar appliances we dont have all yet but have a good start--we also recycle plastic etc. you should be very proud of those boys or yours!!!! awesome!!!

Janice said...

Just got an energy efficient dryer and it cut power bill alot

Deborah said...

My energy-use challenge at home is my refridgerator - it's older and not an energy star appliance, so while I'm saving to replace it, it's a long, long road.

sweetsue said...

My biggest challeng is that we have baseboard heat. It is not efficient at all. It is either on high or off-there is no in-between. I try to stay warm by wearing sweaters and covering up with afghans.
smchester at gmail dot com

sksweeps said...

I got solar panels years ago when the tax rebates were great and have been thrilled! I no longer have to cringe everytime the power company raises it's rates! We are still super conservative about using power (air dry clothes/dishes, lower temps in winter, less AC in summer, turn things off...), but it's a nice feeling to not have to stress! I'm also doing a lot in my garden - fruit trees and veggies and then preserving for later (talk about eating local and healthy). And, my latest project is rainwater harvesting! I have big cisterns that the water goes into (out of gutter on roof) and I then use that water for my garden! Win, win!

sksweeps (at) earthlink (dot) net

elizabeth p said...

My biggest challenge is heat. We have forced air and very few vents. We try to keep the setting down and use the stove for some extra heat when cooking. We do a lot of baking during the winter. I am queenesperfect at yahoo.com

cassandra said...

We have changed out all of our light bulbs and during the hot months I use my slow cooker so that I don't heat up the whole house. We also switched to a swamp cooler to use during the hot months so that we don't use our AC all the time.

bmd4me said...

My biggest energy challenge(s) are my 2 teenage boys who don't seem to be able to figure out that the light switch turns OFF as well as ON! :) Thanks for the chance to win!

nape said...

Last year was the first year I lived in this house. I was horrified at the first heating bill. I couldn't understand it: I had a heat pump, and I kept the thermostat low. Finally I discovered a triple window that acted like a sieve for cold air. Until I can afford to replace it, I put plastic over that window, and the heating bill dropped WAY down. I couldn't believe the difference that one change made, both in comfort and in cost.

Thanks for a great giveaway!

nape said...

Tweeted you!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful to hear what your family has done on the road not taken -- great job, kids! We don't typically have to winterize much (living in Oklahoma) but this winter has been a challenge. Old-fashioned methods such as hanging quilts and blankets over the doors and windows, raking leaves into piles above our foundation, and placing open kettles of water on the gas stove and/or in front of heat vents helped to raise the humidity and make it feel warmer. Plus we "layered on" clothes -- we used to live in Minnesota, so we know that that's all about! We rent our home, but our landlord has been terrific about supplying insulation, plastic and whatever else is needed to make things cozy. HUGGING alot also helps. :)

Jennifer Neal said...

We make sure to turn everything off while not in use, even power strips!

s8r8l33 said...

My challenge is getting my family to compost everything that can be composted. I am always taking stuff out of the trash that could be composted
s8r8l33 at yahoo dot com

s8r8l33 said...


Erica C. said...

We had a hard time keeping up with recycling until we got a couple different storage bins. Once it wasn't as hard to keep up on, we were recycling more and more often.

Deb said...

We have installed faucet aerators and low-flow shower heads to cut water heating costs, but the biggest problems is that all of the members of my family REALLY love taking long showers. We occasionally indulge now, but most of the time we limit our time in the shower.

Kitty Cardero said...

One of my energy challenges is my old fridge. During moths when we don't have to run the air or heat, it's pretty much the only appliance being used regularly and our bills are still so high. I'm pretty sure it's an energy sucker.

Kitty Cardero said...

Tweeted http://twitter.com/#!/kittycardero/status/42018675921788928

susansmoaks said...

we have old appliances, our fridge and washer are not energy efficient, we will change them just as soon as we can
susansmoaks at gmail dot com

clynsg said...

My biggest challenges are related to times when my grandchildren are here. They are reasonably good about turning off lights, and they don't touch my thermostat setting, but the TV and any games they are playing are apt to be left running.

cgclynsg0 @ gmail dot com

Deborah Wellenstein said...

We switched to CFL lightbulbs 4 years ago, we keep the heat down in winter, and the air up in summer. Thanks!

dwellenstein at cox dot net

Leslie said...

Not sure how to link to a specific tweet, but...


Also for second entry - we use exclusively CFL bulbs, and I'd LOVE to try an LED bulb and see how it compares. Our entire electric bill is under $100 usually - for our whole house!

Ardy22 said...

our biggest challenge is using too much hot water!

ardy22 at earthlink dot net

Ardy22 said...



ardy22 at earthlink dot net

Denise S. said...

My biggest challenge is air seeping through the windows and doors that are too thin or not sealed well enough.

lazybones344 at gmail dot com

angie lilly said...

Even though we are extremely conservative in our energy usage (all lights are CFLs, turn lights off in all rooms not being used, keep thermostat set to 65 in the winter, etc.), our power bill is still over $100 this month. I would love to see how this new light bulb helps. I can't wait until the price comes down!
14earth at gmail dot com

angie lilly said...

I tweeted here: http://twitter.com/#!/FotoMacro/status/42326817717239809
14earth at gmail dot com

Deb K said...

We turn down the heat at night and also in the summer we try not to use the AC so much.


js22 said...

keeping the house's costs to a minimum is important when the residents are unemployed!
I turn the thermostat down to save on fuel & $$! And I turn it lower when we are not home.
Thanks for the giveaway!
email in blogger profile.

Deb K said...



js22 said...

tweet: http://twitter.com/js22222222/status/42330262549307392
email in blogger profile.

Scott said...

Shut off lights when you leave a room, use daylight rather than turning on lights at all when possible, wash all your laundry in cold water when possible , line dry your clothing when possible, set your thermostat high in the summer and low in the winter,
use energy efficient appliances and light bulbs, unplug things that are not in use, etc. We do all of these things and wish the whole planet did! Our power bill is still high to me, but to other people its insanely low. I wish I could afford solar panels for my roof!
nynekats at gmail dot com

Scott said...

tweet http://twitter.com/#!/RePurrPussed/status/42332687402409984
nynekats at gmail dot com

Donna said...

My challenge is to get the kids to turn off the lights when leaving the room.

Donna said...

I tweeted:

slehan said...

A programmable thermostat is great. Keeps temp down when you're asleep or away & warm up when you need it. Thanks for the contest.

slehan said...


Diane52 said...

Trying to use less electicity and have family members turn off lights and unplug cords when not in use.
Diane Baum

Barbarawr said...

My biggest energy challenge is my husband. He appears to be incapable of turning off a light or a TV.

Email address is in blogger profile

Barbarawr said...

I tweeted http://twitter.com/bsw529/status/42382801890181120

Email address is in blogger profile

Ang said...

I'm terrible about leaving lights on and the heat turned up when I leave. I need some help for sure!