6 Ways to Reduce Your Energy Consumption: Standing with the Environment

 

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6 Ways to Reduce Your Energy Consumption: Standing with the Environment

Invisible, silent, and all around you. Electricity provides clean and safe access to light and power around the clock and is fundamental to modern life. We use electricity to power our homes, workplace and an increasing number of devices that most of us can’t imagine life without. This month, as we continue our focus and commitment to Standing with the Environment, Greenheart staff member, Sara Eden, uncovers how we can be more mindful of our energy consumption. As a whole, Americans plugin, switch on, and use up an average of 12, 071 kWh per capita, which is 9,397 more kWh than the world average[1].

The beauty of modern energy is precisely what thwarts our efforts to reduce our energy usage. Prior to the electrification of our homes and cities, we were lugging enormous quantities of fossil fuels into our homes and workplaces, powering them directly with coal or gas. The cost for these fuels was up-front and the consequence of using them (smoke, heat, soot, fire, pollution) was inescapable. Now, with the flip of the switch or a press of a button we have 24-hour instant access to power without getting our hands dirty. However, 70% of the energy used in the U.S. still comes from burning the very same fossil fuels we were dragging indoors at the turn of the century[2]. The electricity that we use today might keep the indoors clean, but it has simply distanced us from the source, which obscures the true environmental cost of energy usage.

This month, we stand with the environment by examining the energy we consume as individuals and as a community. The United States is still the second largest emitter of CO2 and in 2014 contributed 15% of global CO2 emissions[3]. There are so many easy and practical ways to reduce your “carbon footprint”, minimize your consumption and dependence on fossil fuels and choose more sustainable options. Although the responsibility of reducing these emissions rests largely in the hands of industry and world governments, the small changes we make as individuals will be steps in the right direction – not to mention save you some money on your monthly utilities!

Top 6 ways to reduce your energy consumption:

  1. Shut down your computer – Computers are some of the biggest energy users in office buildings. Turn off your monitor when you do shut down. Opting to shut down does not affect your computer’s lifespan. So, power down!
  2. Eliminate vampire power – Devices like televisions, microwaves, scanners, and printers use standby power, even when off. Some chargers continue to pull small amounts of energy, even when plugged in (a good judge of this is if a charger feels warm to the touch). Unplugging “energy vampires” can save you as much as 10 percent on your electricity bill.[4]
  3. Adjust your thermostat based on the temperature outside – It’s most efficient to keep the temperature in your house between 77 and 80 °F in the summer. Lower your thermostat to between 64 and 68 °F in the winter. Keep your windows covered during summer days to keep out the heat and allow natural light in during winter days to heat up the room.
  4. Buy green! – When it’s time to replace old appliances and electronics, buy those with energy saving features or those that are certified energy-efficient. Fun fact: most monitors at Greenheart have an “Eco” setting that you can switch to by pressing the options button on your monitor.
  5. Shop online! – But only use standard shipping. This video is a great resource about why speeding up the delivery of your items is bad for carbon emissions: The environmental cost of free two-day shipping
  6. Use public transportation – cut down on your energy use by carpooling, taking the train or biking to work!

These are just a few possible ways to reduce your total energy consumption, among many others! If you are interested in finding out more about your personal “carbon footprint” with specific suggestions of how you can reduce it, check out this calculator!

Take a Stand

This month (and every month) we have the chance to make small changes. Here are some suggestions to get you started:

  • Personal Action: Pick one or more of the six small ways to reduce your energy consumption listed above.
  • Collective Action: Contact your local representatives and tell them you want their commitment to switch to renewable energy resources. We have the technology; we just need legislators and policymakers to lead the charge. Check out Ready For 100 or let your local representative know this matters to you.
  • Greenheart Office Action: Shut down your computers and turn off your monitors before leaving for the day, turn off lights in conference rooms and bathrooms, set the thermostat 1 or 2 degrees higher than you normally would.

Eager to share YOUR stand with the environment? Log your volunteer hours in the Greenheart Club and share your environmental actions with us on both Facebook and Instagram. 

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[1] 2017 estimates from CIA World Factbook. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/index.html

[2]  2017 estimates from CIA World Factbook. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/index.html

[3] 2014 estimates from the EPA via IPCC report. https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/global-greenhouse-gas-emissions-data#Country

[4] https://www.energy.gov/articles/4-ways-slay-energy-vampires-halloween

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