Snackwell Effect: a slang term describing a phenomena where people use or consume more of a particular product when that product is low calorie or more efficient, resulting in the opposite of what that product intended to save or help.
During the brainstorming session where the topic for this post was discussed, I panicked a little bit. Why? Because I am sooo busted. Yes. Me. The lady whose job it is to write about saving energy.
A little bit of history: my husband and I built our house in early 2006 and moved in a few weeks after we got married. Between planning the wedding and planning the construction, it was one of the busiest (and most expensive!) times in my life. We focused on bigger energy saving features like an ultra efficient air conditioner and radiant barrier roof, but when the honeymoon was literally over, CFL bulbs were not in our budget.
I knew that my bills could vary widely month to month, and while a lot of that had to do with the weather, a lot if it had to do with the choices that I made too. So I never left a room without turning off the lights and I only ran the washing machine with cold water, totally full. But over the following years, the price of CFLs decreased significantly. And then, no plug intended here, I learned about free CFLs from Duke Energy. (But while I’m on the subject, have you gotten yours yet? Seriously? See if you qualify at www.duke-energy.com/freeCFLs) When the box arrived on my porch, I felt great. I felt proactive. I could practically feel the savings starting to happen.
And then… I got really stinking lazy.
I ‘reasoned’ that because my porch light was so much more efficient, I shouldn’t care if it stayed on all night long. So I was wasting energy—and letting myself fall victim to the ‘Snackwell Effect’ in the process. Take a moment to glance around your home: as your devices have become more efficient, do you become worse about policing their use? Now that I realize the error of my ways, the porch light is off as soon as it’s time to turn in for the night.
So now that I’ve come clean, it’s time to ask yourself: are you maybe letting yourself fall victim to the ‘Snackwell Effect’ too? Share your plans to reform old habits in the comments!