Energy Department Veteran Saves Electricity One Light Switch at a Time

Lighting makes up nearly 10 percent of the energy costs in our homes. But how many of us actually flip off that switch when leaving the room? Probably not that many. It seems that leaving the lights on just isn’t that big of a deal, right?

Wrong. It is, and the energy we’re wasting adds up over time.

We were reminded of this at the U.S. Department of Energy thanks to one of our veteran analysts Tien Nguyen. Tien recently retired from our Fuel Cell Technologies Office after 30 years of federal service. Most of you have never heard of him, or of his countless contributions to high-profile reports, like the Quadrennial Technology Review, that have helped fuel a clean energy revolution. His work has influenced new technologies that have created jobs and saved Americans millions of dollars.

Over his career, Tien has also saved you money…and energy.

One Person Can Make a Difference

Every night before heading home, Tien strolled through three floors of the Energy Department headquarters in Washington, D.C., in search of lights that were left on. Every light he saw on, he simply turned off.

Tien did this almost every work day for the last 16 years.

This simple task has made a big impact. During that time, Tien has saved an estimated 1,500 megawatt hours of electricity. That’s enough to power 150 U.S. homes for an entire year. In addition, he’s saved taxpayers $200,000 in energy costs.

When asked why Tien started doing this, he simply said, “We’re the Energy Department. We should practice what we preach. Plus, it’s good exercise.”

Still think turning the lights off isn’t a big deal?

Article and video originally published by the U.S. Department of Energy.

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Mike Mueller is Senior Digital Content Strategist, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Communications.

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