Light switch plates, it seems, are becoming one of the first lines of defense in being environmentally friendly and conserving power.
In Manatee County, Florida, the school district is hoping light switches will help them save about a million dollars in power bills. Faced with dropping funding from the state, and skyrocketing power bills, the district was looking for a way to cut back their expenses. They found their answer in the light switch plates. The district estimated that a large part of the solution to their high power bill problem was making sure that people took the simple step of turning the light off as they passed them when leaving the classroom.
This may seem like common sense to people who have spent a lot of time working on conserving for their own family budgets, but it’s a new one for the school district. In many of the classrooms they are even putting stickers on the light switch plates to remind everyone that they need to be turned off before they leave.
Meanwhile, on the home front, a little attention to these can offer a way to know where power is escaping. While most of the new homes on the market today have a number of energy-wise items in place, older homes on the market often have been overlooked in this area.
Many people love the idea of having an old home, with a lot of character and history, but they don’t love the idea of high electric bills. Those restoring old homes often find themselves adding more insulation in the attic, hoping that will bring the costs down, but it still seems there is a lot of energy seeping out. Sometimes the culprit is the light switch plates. Most people don’t remember to make sure those are properly insulated. They may have little gaps between the wall and the plate, where air is escaping. While they may seem small, a number of light switch plates that are leaking that cooled or warmed air can add up to a lot more work for your air conditioner or heating system, and a higher power bill.
Finally if you want to wrap both these ideas together, saving power and saving the environment, while you are checking on whether or not yours are leaking, you could change them out with recycled light switch plates. These are not old plastic plates that have been repainted, but instead the ingenious idea of a student in Washington State. He collected old road signs, that were no longer being used, and cut and formed the pieces of them into switch plates. He wanted to create something new out of something old.
Not only is it a good idea, but it can also be a good reminder. If you were to find ones made out of a stop sign, they could be your constant reminder to stop and turn off the lights when it comes time to leave the room.