With all the talk of going green these days, saving energy actually goes beyond the home. From a broader perspective, saving energy means using less gasoline; flying less often; and using compact fluorescent lighting (CFL) in your office.
We want to save energy for many reasons. First, our energy sources in many parts of the world (particularly the United States) are derived mainly from three sources: coal, oil, and natural gas. All three are greenhouse gas-emitting fossil fuels, which increase the impact of global warming on our world. When we drive our cars, it’s the same thing pursuant to petroleum.
Thus when we turn on a lamp, light our gas stoves, or drive down the street, we’re burning carbon dioxide and contributing to global warming. So as you can see, saving energy is far broader than simply saving a couple dollars on your monthly utility bill.
Let’s take a look at the Top 5 ideas that can help save energy:
5) Recycle. It’s amazing how many products can be recycled these days. Styrofoam trays from the fresh meat you buy in the grocery store; cereal boxes; milk containers; aluminum cans; glass; plastic bottles; plastic grocery bags; egg containers (styrofoam and paper); and much more. If you don’t have curbside recycling, find a recycling center near you. Ask your public library if they have a recycling bin you can dump your recyclables into; many people are taking advantage of this.
4) Walk or Ride Your Bicycle. Rather than driving to perform menial tasks such as getting the mail, going over to a friend’s house down the block, or a trip to your corner grocery store, walk or ride your bicycle. In the process, burning those calories and getting your heart pumping will improve your overall health. It’s a win-win for both you and the environment!
3) Adjust Your Thermostat. This energy-saving tip may sound clich, but if everybody lowered their thermostat during the winter to around 62 degrees and raised it to around 78 degrees during the summer, we would save a lot less energy worldwide and perhaps slow global warming as well.
2) Drive Less Often and Combine Trips. At the time this article was written, the price of gasoline had dropped to levels not seen in more than five years due to less demand and the popping of the “oil bubble” that had developed in financial markets. Has the era of cheap and abundant energy returned? Perhaps cheap, but the problem of supply still looms, particularly when the world economy revs up again and there’s a renewed demand for gas and oil. So should we buy huge trucks and SUVs again, and take daily joy rides for hundreds of miles? Not so fast. Because energy supply still remains a problem and oil is still a finite energy resource, we should stick to combining our trips when we can and drive less often.
1) Perform an Office (or Cubicle) Energy-Efficiency Analysis. So much emphasis is placed on conserving energy in the home, but what about your office or cubicle? Can you replace that incandescent lamp with an energy-saving compact fluorescent (CFL) bulb or even perhaps an even more energy-efficient LED bulb? Can you turn off your overhead lights for awhile if you have a bright, sunny office? Consider other electric devices in your office to see whether you can use manual office equipment (e.g., manual stapler vs. electric) or simply make do without. Make sure all your electric devices are Energy Star compliant. Lastly, turn your overhead lights off when you leave the office.
Saving energy isn’t just about lowering your utility bills. It’s a wholistic approach that, when practiced by all of us, betters our global health and well being.