Energy costs are soaring. Gas prices are climbing at a quickening pace. The price of food is rising, and topsoil is blowing away from our breadbasket. On top of all this, climate change poses a growing menace. It’s easy for us to see how environmental problems can seem intimidating, intractable, and even hopeless. But for all the complexity of these problems, the solution starts at home.
We know you’ve heard it before (we’ve never claimed to be rocket scientists nor prophets, nor to have a unique set of solutions) – but it’s really true! The choices we make at home can make a difference. The way we see it, it works like this; you make the effort to change and reduce your environmental footprint.
Ok, the immediate impact is small. But you tell your family members about it, and they change a little. You bring up a new idea at work or school to conserve resources and energy, and you save some money while you’re at it. The idea gets adopted. People see how effective environmentalism can be. They change a little bit. The idea spreads. Maybe your company decides that it’s going to be worthwhile to hire a sustainability manager. Maybe you decide to become sustainability manager. Companies start to market green products, because people know enough to care about the impact of their consumer choices.
- Change your thermostat. Set it a few degrees warmer in the summer, and a few degrees cooler in the winter. To save even more energy, consider buying a programmable thermostat that will keep the house comfortable when you're home.
- Plug all appliances and chargers into power strips. When they're not in use, turn off the power strips to keep electronics from wasting energy when turned off.
- Use your appliances efficiently and share them when possible. Run full loads of laundry and dishes. Using cold water will save most of the energy used to wash things. Clean the lint filter in the dryer, and use auto-sensing settings when possible. Air dry your clothing if you can.
- Change your light bulbs. Using compact fluorescent light bulbs is an easy way to save energy.
- Turn Things off! This is the most important way to save energy. Turn off the lights when you leave the room, shut down the computer when you're done using it, and turn off the car instead of leaving it idling.
- Buy energy star rated appliances. The EPA rates appliances based on their energy efficiency. Buying appliances that have the Energy Star label will save energy over the lifetime of the appliance.
- Insulate your home. Sealing air leaks saves on both heating and cooling your home. Insulating your water heater and changing air filters regularly will also save energy.
- Change your driving habits. Drive less by carpooling, taking public transportation, or riding a bike. This will save gas and lots of money. If you're planning on buying a new car, look for one that gets good gas mileage.