Wednesday, November 26, 2014

It's Water-Wise Wednesday with Frannie the Fish! {Saving Energy, Saving Water: Part 5}

"If all U.S. households installed water-efficient appliances, the country would save more than 3 trillion gallons of water and more than $18 billion dollars per year!" 
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

The types of appliances we use as well as how we use them can play a large role in our energy consumption and water use. This week, Frannie wanted to share a simple way you can help save energy and save water in your household:

Always run full loads of clothing in your washing machine and full loads of dishes in your dishwasher.

This dishwasher is not full enough for Frannie!
She knows she can save energy and water by waiting to run
the dishwasher until it is completely full.
This simple tip can:
  1. Reduce the number of times you need to run the dishwasher and washing machine,
  2. Reduce the amount of water you use, and
  3. Reduce the amount of energy you use!

How will you cut back on energy use this week? Share your thoughts with us here!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

It's Water-Wise Wednesday with Frannie the Fish! {Saving Energy, Saving Water: Part 4}

In the first week of the Saving Energy, Saving Water series, Frannie briefly mentioned that using energy efficient light bulbs is a good way to save energy and save water. This week, Frannie wants to share more about what she has learned on this topic!
Frannie with a LED, CFL, and incandescent light bulb.
Traditional light bulbs are called incandescent light bulbs. Incandescent light bulbs are generally affordable upfront, but they have a short bulb life, and they consume much more energy than their energy-efficient counterparts. This can make them a more expensive option in the long-run.

There are two main types of energy-efficient light bulbs: CFL and LED. CFL stands for compact fluorescent lamp and LED stands for light emitting diode. CFLs and LEDs typically use between 25-80% less energy than incandescents, and they last from 3-25 times as long (DOE,
Frannie replaced all of her old incandescent light bulbs
with LED bulbs in order to save energy and save water!
It is important to note that CFLs do contain a small amount of mercury and thus require proper disposal. You can find a place to properly recycle your CFL bulbs at

Check out this chart from the Department of Energy ( for more information comparing incandescent, CFL, and LED light bulbs!
Have you replaced incandescent lights in your home with energy-saving CFL or LED lights? Share your photos and stories with us here!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

It's Water-Wise Wednesday with Frannie the Fish {Saving Energy, Saving Water: Part 3}

According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE,, "Heating and cooling account for about 48% of the energy use in a typical U.S. home, making it the largest energy expense for most homes." Furthermore, the DOE estimates that reducing air leaks in your home can save 10% on heating and cooling costs!

For this reason, Frannie wanted to spend this week focusing on saving energy and saving water by reducing air leaks in her home. To do this, Frannie researched easy ways she could insulate areas of her house that were a bit drafty.
First, Frannie noticed a draft coming through the bottom of one of her doors. To fix this draft, she installed a rubber door sweep. Frannie required the help of an adult to install a door sweep. If you don't have an adult to help you install a door sweep, you can achieve the same effect by rolling up a towel or blanket and placing it against the drafty area of the door.
Second, Frannie noticed another draft coming from her electrical outlets! Frannie was surprised to find a draft coming from her outlets, but after some quick research she discovered that this is a common problem in many older homes. She also found that the solution to this problem was quite simple! All she had to do was place a foam outlet insulator within the outlet. You can purchase these foam insulators at your local hardware store.
Finally, Frannie noticed that some of the windows in her home were also a bit drafty. To reduce the draft, she decided to place a plastic seal on them for the winter. To do this, she purchased a kit from her local hardware store and sealed the plastic with a hair dryer!

All three of these projects were quick and easy fixes for Frannie, and she is excited to see how much energy and water she will save! Now, she wants to challenge all of her Girl Scout friends to search for drafts in their own homes, and to save energy and save water by fixing the drafts! You can share how you have fixed drafts in your own home here.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

It's Water-Wise Wednesday with Frannie the Fish! {Saving Energy, Saving Water: Part 2}

This week, Frannie is saving energy and saving water by unplugging appliances and electronics that are not being used.

Did you know that a typical American home has 40 products constantly drawing power? Together, these 40 products draw almost 10% of total residential energy use! (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory,

You can help save energy and save water by unplugging appliances and electronics that are not being used too! For example, Frannie makes sure to power down her laptop and unplug it when she is not using it.

Another way to reduce energy consumption from idle appliances and electronics is by plugging them into a power strip. A power strip can be easily shut off or unplugged and can make unplugging multiple products at once (such as a TV, VCR, and entertainment system) an easy task.

Frannie wants to hear about how you are saving energy by unplugging appliances and electronics! What products will you unplug this week to help save energy and save water? Tell Frannie here.