Switch Labs

At PGE’s Switch Labs, we’re putting energy efficiency advice to the test.

Episode 1: Hand vs. Machine

So, which is more efficient: hand washing your dishes or using a machine washer? In this episode we test both methods to find out which is the kind of dish washing efficiency.

We gave our hosts Kate and Stan a lot of dirty dishes to clean (you’re welcome guys!). They tested three different methods of hand washing and three different kinds of dishwashers to find out what was the most efficient. You might be surprised by the results.

Episode 2: As Cold as it Gets

Can cold water really get clothes as clean as hot? In episode 2, we put cold water to the test to see if it gets the job done.

Here at PGE, we recommend that you do your laundry using cold water. But we have a sneaking suspicion that some of you out there wonder if it really gets the job done.

So, we had our Switch Labs hosts, Stan and Kate, make a bunch of test stains to find out how well they come clean at different temperatures, including near freezing. The answer might surprise you. And yes, we’ll talk about germs, bacteria, dust mites, and all that other icky stuff too.

Episode 3: Boiling Over

It’s a simple enough question: What’s the most energy efficient way to boil water?

This was the question you asked us about the most, by a big margin: What is the most energy efficient way to boil water?

So we had Kate and Stan test whether it’s more efficient to boil water in the microwave, in a kettle on the stovetop, or in an electric kettle. And for good measure, they tested both a mug’s worth of water, and a kettle’s worth.

Episode 4: Wattsferatu

You hear it all the time: You’re wasting energy and money from all those devices you have plugged in, but aren’t using. But is it true? and how much energy is really wasted?

To find out, Kate and Stan measure the energy use of an entire house by finding anything that was plugged into the wall to see how much energy was being used when no one was using it.

Episode 5: Chilling Effect

Three fridges, over 450 pounds of water, and several weeks of testing – the top 6 tips about refrigerators that can help you save energy and money.

A refrigerator can use nearly as much energy as your other kitchen and laundry appliances combined, so Kate and Stan investigated what actually has an impact on refrigerator energy use, and what doesn't.

Is it better to keep your fridge full or empty? What's the maximum amount of time you should leave the fridge door open? Is it better to open and close the fridge door a couple of times when you're buttering your bread or just leave it open the whole time?

Episode 6: Kilo-What?

You see the term “kilowatt-hour” on your PGE bill each month, and you get charged for each one you use – but what is a kilowatt-hour?

In this episode Kate and Stan are on a mission to help make it clear.

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