Conservation is a great area where all of us can work on reshaping our habits to lessen the strain we as individuals place on energy and natural resource consumption.
There are thousands of ways to conserve energy and natural resources and lots of them you may have never thought of. For instance did you know that an unused appliance, while still plugged into a wall socket, loses between 10% - 40% of the energy consumed during regular use. Go around your house and honestly evaluate all of your lamps, any radios or CD players which may not get used and unplug them while they are not in use. The same goes for any items which may be plugged in & powered up but which never get used, like your VCR (most everyone has a VCR but uses their DVD player instead). The more ways that we can think about conserving and the better we are at sharing those ideas which we all can practice, the easier it will be to get more of us involved.
2 Great ways to Conserve
Two of the most identifiable points of conservation for individuals are water and energy use in the home. The majority of our water consumption typically occurs around the home, so identify where your greatest usage would be and look for ways to reduce your use. When you are ready to replace old appliances do so with low energy and low water consuming appliances, change out your showerheads to low flow showerheads and remember to water your lawn and garden after the heat of the day has passed.
The energy we use in our homes can come from many different sources including dirty energy sources like coal. Reducing our use of this energy is an effort that must progress hand in hand with creating new production of cleaner renewable sources of energy like wind and solar. A great deal of our home energy use comes from heating & cooling our homes and lighting and by making a small investment and effort we can see huge savings.
As individuals we have to take this mindset into the office. I remember an office manager years ago who told us all that all non critical pages of copy printed in the office had to be reused on the blank side for our faxes and other non essential printed material. She setup a box in the office where all these pages to be reused were collected blank side down and we all reused that paper when appropriate. The effect was dramatic, we all participated and after a short while we noticed that not only were we using less new paper but we also noticed that we drastically started cutting back on the amount unessential material we printed.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is conservation saves money, it saves us from having to produce more new energy, and it is not difficult to incorporate into one.s lifestyle. There are tons of information on what you can do to conserve our resources and our combined efforts can help to stem our out of control use of these resources.
- Replacing your light bulbs with energy efficient bulbs cost between $3 - $5 per bulb but yield a savings of $40 - $50 per bulb during their lifetime. Energy efficient bulbs typically use ¼ the wattage of traditional bulbs and they last 3 - 4 times as long.g.
- Adjusting your heating in wintertime and your air conditioning in summertime by 2 degrees can lower your air/heating bill by 25% and saves about ½ of a ton in carbon emissions every year.
- Buy local! Purchase meats, fruits and vegetables from local producers, most are available at your local market. Fruits, vegetables and meats produced out of state or out of the country must be shipped or trucked to your market increasing each out of state item.s carbon footprint. Also look for organic foods which use less fertilizers and pesticides creating a greener environment.
- When possible use a toaster over instead of your larger conventional oven for heating up smaller meals, also a microwave will use about ¼ as much energy to heat you meals as your toaster or stovetop.
- Lower your water use and save money with low flow showerheads which typically cost $10 and can save as much as $80 in water costs per year. Water your lawn after dark to reduce losing water to evaporation during the day.
- When installing new old hardwood floors or replacing older floors, use bamboo instead of more traditional hardwoods. Bamboo acts like a hardwood, which is perfect for flooring, but bamboo can be harvested every 5 years which means no forests are destroyed.
- Make sure your car is well tuned and your tires are properly inflated to save gas. Carpool or take public transportation when available.
- Take your name off of junk mailing lists. The junk mail we receive each year consumes 100 million trees each year and by taking yourself off their lists you will save a fully mature tree every 3 years.
- Get your information online and save money, unsubscribe to newspapers and save.