Save energy by having fun! Tips for an energy-smart 2015

January 9, 2015
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Thinking about all of those resolutions you’ve committed to in 2015? Energy Planner Michelle Vigen gives us a few ideas for unconventional ways to be energy-smart in the new year!


Hello! It’s your friendly County energy adviser, Michelle, here to help ring in the New Year with a blog post.

Let me start by saying: I promise I’m not going to challenge you to turn off lights or get an energy audit. I’m not even going to offer you tips on making your resolutions SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and time-bound). You can read about energy goals, SMART goals, and other behavior-changing tips elsewhere.

Instead, I offer this resolution: Do more healthful and meaningful activities this year.

Sleeping kitten. Photo courtesy of Moyan Breen, via Flickr

Photo courtesy of Moyan Breen, via Flickr.

Making 2015 meaningful and healthful

To prove I’m serious, here are some examples of what I mean:

  • Get a good night’s sleep as many nights a week as you can. Re-discover what 8 hours of sleep can do for you, even if it’s just on the weekend.
  • Invite friends and family over for dinner, hang out, and socialize. Cook and watch a movie, play games, visit and catch-up over a cup of cocoa.


Child playing in a garden. Photo courtesy of Jessica Lucia, via Flickr

Photo courtesy of Jessica Lucia, via Flickr.


  • Go for a walk in your neighborhood and stop to smell the, err…native and stormwater-friendly species in yours and your neighbors’ yards. Maybe, even say “hello”!
  • Plant something, like a pot of flowers or a tree.
  • Volunteer at your favorite local charity, or better yet, help out a neighbor with a project that could use an extra pair of hands. Have you gotten to know your local Greens (Bethesda, Poolesville, Silver Spring, Wheaton)?


What do these things all have in common?

Well, first of all, they are good and healthy fun. They should make you smile, and feel better about yourself, your family, your friends, and your community. These activities make us happy, grateful, and appreciative of what’s around us.

Secondly, they also have a low energy impact. A recent study featured in the Washington Post by Joseph Kantenbacher, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of California-Berkeley, showed us “The surprising link between things that make us happy and things that save energy”.

“A number of the least energy intensive activities that I found — sleeping, socializing, hobbies, and so forth — are enriching personally,” says Kantenbacher in the article. “So they make people happy to do them, but they also are relatively low consuming activities.”

Make this year one of good, healthy fun, and maybe you’ll find that your energy bill drops a bit – or maybe a bit more if you turn off the lights or get that audit – but regardless of how much energy you save this year, you’ll be a happier, healthier person.


A family cooking together. Photo courtesy of Nestle, via Flickr.

Photo courtesy of Nestle, via Flickr.

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