Weekly Wrap-Up: Is it worth your while to turn off the lights, and car sharing


A couple of weeks ago, The Simple Dollar wrote an article about how much it costs to leave lights on. He concluded that if it takes him two minutes to turn off the lights in his house (he must have a big house! I think my almost-2,000-square-foot house would take less than a minute – but maybe they have more lights on?), it’s generally not worth his time, unless he’s going away for the whole weekend. Much of his feedback was people saying he’s too cheap; others chimed in criticizing the waste — at any cost — of leaving a bunch of electricity running in an empty house. Where do you stand on this one?


And No Impact Man has ended his year-long experiment. Now that he can ride in a car again, this week he posted an article about car-sharing, which we don’t really have here in Denver. Has anyone tried it?


4 thoughts on “Weekly Wrap-Up: Is it worth your while to turn off the lights, and car sharing

  1. Melissa says:

    Does that mean he just leaves all his lights on, all the time? I don’t see how it could take that much time to turn your lights off when you’re done in a room, or passing by an unoccupied room. I agree that it seems wasteful.

  2. Cheap Like Me says:

    He means it takes two minutes to walk through the whole house to check if lights are on before you leave. I guess I turn lights off as we leave the room, so I don’t have to check – but still two minutes seems like a lot!

  3. lisa says:

    This gets my goad. (Or is it goat? Either, I think. I will have to google that.) Almost as much as seeing someone throw a bottle or can in the trash!

    Really. 2 minutes. Are we all in that much of a hurry All. The. Time. that we don’t have 2 minutes?

    And, if you turn the light off when you are done using it, then you don’t have to check at all.

    There are never (Never!) lights/TVs/computers on in unoccupied rooms at my house. Even my kids know better.

    This seems to be a no-brainer to me.

  4. m says:

    Yes it’s wasteful, in my opinion. Just b/c the incentive isn’t there in terms of an indiv. saving money, doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be a concern about waste.

    It may not seem like much to one person but if everyone thought like that, well multiply the power wasted by one home times millions or billions of other homes, and suddenly you see what a difference it does make.

    Should we only care about not wasting if it saves us a significant amount of money? I certainly don’t think so. Personally, I am much more motivated by a desire to not waste than I am be a desire to save myself money.

    Wasting power–and other things–affects everyone. Doing it just because you can afford to doesn’t make sense to me, since that one person who does the wasting is not the only one affected by it–all of society is.

    I’m not suggesting we have to go to great lengths to not be wasteful in every way. I think for example if we need to drive and can’t find a reasonable alternative, then okay we drive, but we all can do our best to drive as little as possible and to not waste fuel, etc. But when something can be easily done but one doesn’t want to bother because they see no personal benefit? I don’t agree with that approach.

    This is not against any individual person, just my opinion on this issue as a topic in general.

    I turn lights off as I leave the room and there is no need to run around the place checking lights because none are on in any room but the one I (or my husband) is in. And if checking the lights were necessary for some reason, it wouldn’t even be a question whether I’d give a few seconds to turn them off versus leaving an empty house with a bunch of lights still on.

    It’s one thing to leave a small light on for a pet or something or to make it look like someone is home for safety’s sake when you’re out, but all/most of your lights on when not needed (even if you’re home, that’s just as bad, I think)? That doesn’t work for me.

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