The Lai Family
Calvin Lai has had a lifelong interest in electricity and how things work, so the family was quite confident they’d be able to keep their carbon emissions related to household electricity use low.
As their home is already fully equipped with LED bulbs, which are recyclable and can decrease lighting energy use by 50 to 70 per cent, and since the Lais have always let their dishes air dry, Calvin told Canadian Geographic they had to look for other creative ways to reduce household energy consumption.
Using a watt meter, Calvin discovered his microwave was drawing 20 watts even when not in use. He says he was shocked, especially as microwaves typically use between two and seven watts of power while on standby mode. Because of this, the Lais purchased an outlet switch connected to the microwave that turns the appliance off during the night and when nobody is home. In fact, the Lais are big on automation, with smart lighting now installed in all common areas of the house. Their lights automatically turn on only when they need them, maximizing their comfort and safety while minimizing electricity consumption.