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Cut Down Energy with Hui Up

For the past two weeks, a brigade in blue swept the island, armed with energy meters and power strips. Their mission: reduce energy consumption and educate the community on appliance efficiency.

SustAINAble Molokai interns and student volunteers teamed up with Blue Planet Foundation’s Hui Up program to help residents save substantial energy and money each year. Through Hui Up, Molokai residents have the opportunity to trade in old refrigerators in exchange for new Energy Star models. The first shipment of energy efficient ice boxes arrived this week, and applications are still available for the swap on a first-come-first-serve basis.

 “We [need] to repair our ecosystem before it can get better,” said intern `Olana Chow. “The best way is to educate others, and we’ve learned there are a lot of energy aware people living here already!”

During 52 energy audits at the home of each Hui Up participant, the Youth Team calculated the kilowatts, dollars and pounds of carbon dioxide emitted by appliances and tools. Through the audit, the team found that most residents are spending well above the nation’s average on their energy bill, much of which is due to the high electricity rates of $.40 per kilowatt hour. A portion of those costs, however, result from a high number of phantom loads contributing to the bill.

“It costs just as much to use appliances when they are just plugged in,” said intern Leilani Chow. “Toasters and cell phone chargers suck just as much energy [when being used] as they do when just sitting there.”

To help eliminate the extraneous energy used by appliances, the team distributed power strips that reduce unnecessary phantom loads that cost U.S. residents a total of $4 billion a year, according to Hui Up.

 “It all adds up and we want to do whatever we can to help reduce our energy dependence,” said Leilani.

SustAINAble Molokai’s Emillia Noordhoek said the youth team plans to revisit the homes in October and gauge the energy savings with the new refrigerators and other audited appliances.

For more information contact Noordhoek at 808-216-3663 or emillia@sustainablemolokai.org. Interested applicants may visit greenmolokai.org/huiup to apply.

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