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