Photo by InertiaCreeps.

At BoingBoing, Maggie Koerth-Baker shares an amazing fact: The 100 million lighted exit signs that adorn the country’s schools, offices, and movie theaters use 30 to 35 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity every year. To put that in perspective, West Virginia used 32 billion kilowatt-hours in 2010.

Koerth-Baker writes:

This is just one small part of what makes buildings, in general, incredibly energy intense. In the United States, we use more energy powering our buildings — from the lights, to the heating, to the stuff we plug into the walls — than we use to do anything else.

Here are some ideas: Connect them to motion sensors. Turn them off when there is no one around. Or if it seems safer to keep them on all the time, make exit sign lights more efficient. Or, if we really cannot find a single way to make exit sign lights use less power than an entire small state, just turn them off and let everyone burn to death in their shoes, because come on.

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