<a href="http://gmagazine.com.au/blogs/julie#">Green challenges</a>

Green challenges

Thinking global and acting local, Julie Grundy takes on any challenge we throw at her.

Making it easier to switch off at the wall

Credit: iStockphoto

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For this challenge I've been making it a habit to turn off two wall switches at least once a day, and sometimes twice. One switch handles the TV, DVD and PS3. The other handles my laptop and mobile phone chargers and battery recharger.

I always switch both off each night before going to bed, but sometimes the laptop one gets switched on again in the morning before I leave for work, so I'm trying to remember to check it again before I leave for work.

But it's a bit of a pain - the TV switch is, naturally, behind the TV. Which lives on a TV stand, next to a bookcase, behind all of the DVDs and game controllers that I'm going to tidy up real soon now, honest. Getting to it involves balancing on one leg as I reach for the wall behind the stand.

The laptop switch doesn't have as much furniture around it, but it's cluttered and full of dangers for bare feet (i.e. unplugged chargers). I'm not always the most graceful person, especially late at night when I'm tired and just want to go to bed. I've got the bruises on my knees to prove I've been doing the switching, though!

I'm looking into ways I could make this easier on myself, and therefore more likely to keep the habit up. There's a whole bunch of power boards with extras to make the switch-off process a lot easier. I'm deciding between power boards...

...with a foot switch - tap it with your foot instead of leaning in to the wall
...with a remote - no feet required! Good for the switches behind furniture
...with a timer - set and forget, it does the switching off for you

There's also the Kill-A-Watt - it tells you how much power each appliance is sucking. They're not expensive, but since I won't use it repeatedly, I'm going to see if anyone has one I can borrow for a few weeks.

And, for the really hard-core, there's mains switches with programmable timers! Forget all those dinky little switches, maybe we should be turning our whole house off with one flick :)

If you've got any good ideas or recommendations about how I can avoid bruised knees while I'm doing the right thing, I'd love to hear from you in the comments!