When it comes to failing to conserve energy by learning items like cell phone chargers plugged in while not in use, Michael Kurschner readily admits that he's guilty.
Items like appliances, too, still draw power when they're plugged in but not being used.
"That is called 'phantom power' and it can cost the average person a couple hundred dollars a year," said Kurschner.
These are lessons that Kurschner is now putting into practice—and he's teaching others to do so, too.
Kurschner, a resident at Lambs Farm, was selected to participate in a new ComEd program for adults with developmental disabilities. Kurschner attended a day of training in Chicago with nine or 10 people from other agencies, and they were all taught ways to conserve energy and, subsequently, save money.
According to ComEd, this program is the first of its kind.
"Ensuring that all our customers have the tools to manage their energy use and save money is a priority. What better way to do that than equipping individuals to teach their peers," Anne Pramaggiore, president and CEO of ComEd, said in a press release. "We are committed to serving the communities where our customers and employees live and work and this innovative new program is an important part of that."
Other organizations participating in the program include Clearbrook of Arlington Heights, Easter Seals Chicago, El Valor of Chicago, Gigi's Playhouse of Aurora, Misericordia of Chicago, Neumann Family Services of Chicago and Special Olympics Chicago.
As a ComEd energy ambassador, Kurschner said he held a presentation in August for residents and visited a community house, where he spoke to the resident council. He also passed out power strips provided by ComEd. Kurschner said ComEd recommends plugging appliances into power strips and then turning off the power strips while not using the appliances.
Lambs Farm Spokeswoman Jackie Rachev said Kurschner also had a booth at a community event.
"So he's not just reaching our population; he's reaching the community as well," said Rachev. "He's quite a gifted speaker."
Rachev said during presentations at Lambs Farm, both residents and staff were invited to hear Kurschner's advice. He'll ultimately hold eight to 12 outreach events.
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