Lights out, everyone! Remembering to turn off the lights can mean huge savings.

It should be one of those things that we just do. Like brushing our teeth or washing our hands. However, it isn’t always that easy to do. Okay, it’s not exactly a hard thing to do. I mean, you’re just flipping a switch, but it’s just as easy to forget. Forgetting to turn your lights off is one of those bad habits that is completely understandable, yet also incredibly easy to break.

In the U.S., it’s normal for people to leave their lights on and forgotten about 20% of the time. That adds up to an annual waste per household of 441 lbs of CO2, which is the amount released by running a hot tub for 39 hours, watching 2259 hours of TV, or charging a laptop 2885 times. (JouleBug) Considering those environmental benefits, not to mention the savings on your electricity bill, it’s a good place to start.

Most energy companies also have online tools available which help breakdown your home energy usage to see what’s using up the most. Sign-in and see what you can do to start saving today.

Remembering can be tricky. Here are some ideas to help you make this a habit:

I’ve gotten better about opening the blinds while the sun is up but the early sunsets of the winter only allow for so much time. With that being said, every second you can supplement the sun’s free light is worth it. Make it a general rule that when the sun is up, so are your blinds.

Try printing your energy usage information, or use your electricity bill, and post it on the fridge or maybe even by one of our most used light switches. It’ll serve as a gentle reminder and motivator to be green and save green.

What ways do you have of remembering? Share in the comments!


Department of Energy

The February Eco-Challenge has ended

The February Eco-Challenge with Joule Bug has come to an end with Chloe Lazarus as the winner. Congratulations Chloe! Just for the sake of a quick recap, the buzz-able actions were Lights Out, Brush with Greatness, Bin to Win, Save a Flush, Shower Sprinter, Washing Cold, Shut Eye, Fill ‘er Up, Washing Smart, Feed the Worms, No Sweat, Dry Naturally, Take the Stairs, Park Place, Smart Drying, Scoopy Doo, and Line ’em Up.

24 people participated in the ‘Breaking the Habit’ Challenge. Here’s how we did:

  • 3.5 thousand pounds of Carbon dioxide were saved
  • 162 pounds of waste was diverted
  • and 6.3 thousand gallons of water were saved!

My wife and I came in 3rd and 4th place, which is respectable I’d say! We ended up reducing the percentage of energy we use for lighting from 23%to 18%, but we still have work to do with remembering. Overall, I’d count this as a win for us and our bank account. Another area that I am proud of is our recycling efforts. We generally don’t have a ton of trash, but this week only saw one trip to the garbage bin, while the rest were to recycling.

I anticipate next month to be a bit harder. This initial challenge was meant to be sort of like a practice run. March is all about conserving energy at home and in the office and I can’t wait to kick it up a notch.

How did you feel about this first challenge? Too easy or just right? Let me know in the comments.

Day 2: So far, so good.

It may only be day 2, but I’m feeling confident about our efforts. My wife and I are both, let’s say, hyper-competitive. We’re currently in a heated battle, the likes of which haven’t been seen since The Dark Knight took on The Last Son of Krypton, to see who can get the highest score in solitaire. It’s all in good fun.

Fortunately, we’ve been able to translate that competitive spirit to our eco-efforts, and it’s already paying off. As a stay-at-home dad, I’ve been able to better utilize the big light bulb in the sky throughout the day. There are certain habits that I already have such as turning the faucet of, recycling, picking up after my dog, and going to the park. Of course, that’s not to say that I can’t upgrade my utility belt.

The habits I may have some difficulty with are drying my dishes naturally and shutting down my computer when it isn’t in use. My son, like all children, has an incredible knack for getting into everything that he isn’t supposed to. His favorite target happens to be the dishwasher. He comes crawling to the kitchen the moment he hears it open like a cat to a can-opener. What I can do is wait to start the dishwasher before bed, turn off the heated dry setting, and allow them to dry over night. As far as my laptop goes, I use it frequently enough that the idea of turning it off-on-off-on sounds excruciating. I can, however, put it to sleep in between uses to conserve the battery.

How are you fairing in the Eco-Challenge? Do you have any tips/hacks/troubles that you’d like to share?

‘Breaking the Habit’ Starts Now!

Today’s the day. No, not Valentines Day, well, yes but it’s also the official start of the Breaking the Habit Eco-Challenge with JouleBug! This challenge is all about sustainable habits, both building the good and breaking the bad. As always, my wife and I are particpating right along with everyone else. I’ll be blogging and vlogging the whole way, sharing tips and tricks and talking about the good, the bad, and everything in between when it comes to the challenges and how we are doing. This isn’t just a playful competition, it’s a collaborative community project. This is about helping each other live more green, save more green, and taking a good long look in the mirror, so-to-speak.

In the immortal words of the King of Pop himself, “If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make that change.”

You can download JouleBug for free from the Apple AppStore and Google Play. Search ‘The Wild Life’ to join our community and stay up to date on the latest challenges.

-Devon Bowker

Eco-Challenge February 2017: Breaking the Habit

February marks the beginning of the first Eco-Challenge!

This month, my wife and I will be focused on habits: breaking the bad, and building the good. I will be blogging and vlogging weekly about our experience, sharing with you tips, life hacks, and lessons learned. Each week, I will cover a different subtopic(s) of the months theme via videos loaded with the facts you need to know about why making these changes in your life can help change the world! I invite and encourage you all to follow along and share about your experiences.

The challenge begins on February 14th.

The Ultimate Minnesota Waterfall Roadtrip

Minnesota’s glacially carved landscape is marked with countless remarkable natural features, including some of the best waterfalls in the country.

No matter the season, it is worth the trip. You can do this road trip in two ways: 1) Start south of Minneapolis at Vermillion Falls in Hastings, or 2) Start at Wolf Creek Falls at Banning State Park just south of Duluth,following the scenic Lake Superior shoreline for the remainder of the drive up to the Canadian border.

1) Vermillion Falls in Hastings, MN

2) Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis, MN

Bonus picture because it’s cool…

3) Wolf Creek Falls at Banning State Park

4) Gooseberry Falls at Gooseberry Falls State Park

5) High Falls at Tettegouche State Park

6) High Falls at George Crosby Manitou State Park

7) Cross River Falls in Schroeder, MN

9) Temperance River Falls at Temperance River State Park

10) Poplar River Falls in Lutsen, MN

11) Cascade River Falls at Cascade River State Park

12) Devil’s Kettle Judge C.R. Magney State Park

13) High Falls on the Pigeon River in Grand Portage, MN

Now what are you waiting for? Get going!

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