Eco-Challenge 6: Energy Conservation

Isn’t it amazing how energy bills can change from home to home or business to business or car to car? Some variance is due to how much electricity you consciously use (e.g. how much TV you watch, how many computers you have on, how big of a property you utilize) while some of it relates to the integrity of your property (e.g. insulation, passive solar efficiency). Think about variance from vehicle to vehicle not only in make and model but integrity of the car (e.g. tire inflation, maintained engines). In this challenge we are going to think about our energy needs, alternatives to ease those needs, the big picture for our larger communities, and the savings we can hopefully reap by being a little more thoughtful if we aren’t already.

To begin with let us look at energy sources:

(via http://staging.yearofscience2009.org/home/)

While I wish it was a possibility that everyone could immediately shift to sustainable, alternative energy sources like wind and solar that is not realistic without a lot of money into our infrastructures. Just know that what we use in the United States as individuals is across the board more consumptive than the rest of the world? Do we really need to use excessive amounts of energy? That really depends on your lifestyle, but quite honestly no. Have we set ourselves up in our modern world to use excessive amounts of energy? Yes. Now many of us are paying for it in our bills and this is where we face the dilemma of what do we really need and how to engage alternatives.

First of all for your properties assess what you are using. Many municipalities will conduct energy audits for you if you ask. Check your bill for information on audits or the corresponding website. Another option is a do-it-yourself assessment. From there find the serious culprits or energy vampires on your property. Common issues are an inefficient refrigerator too close to the walls or with a dusty motor, electrical gadgets that are always plugged in, non CFL bulbs, poor insulation, and drafts around windows or doors. Here is a TLC link on improving home energy efficiency.

This also goes for your vehicle and the integrity of its operation. Here are simple tips to help with fuel efficiency.

Now that you are working on the structural integrity of property and vehicles let us think about how we use them. That is for you to decide if you really need to watch so much TV, have the TIVO always plugged in, take separate trips to the store for items. If the answer is no then plan how you use these items more wisely. If you want to get your kids involved have them be light monitors in your home and turn off lights if no one is in a room. Kids are great at following these kinds of rules us adults seem to forget about.

I think is an important topic because just like water, many of our energy sources are not renewable. As it is just like water, we do a lot of environmental degradation to harvest them. Many times this is in areas that most customers do not see like in more remote wild places in our landscape, or in coal mines far below ground. Energy sourcing is actually a topic I have a lot of work experience in so am not trying to get too in-depth with in this post just because of disclosure with work contracts I have done. I will answer most questions you have, but not all.

As usual please share any resources you may have, questions, comments, etc.

-kia a.k.a. @bodhi_bear

Additional resources:
How to Go Green Guides via treehugger.com (many topics related to energy use in this list)

This post sponsored by Earth Footwear

Mamavation
Leah Segedie is the Founder of Mamavation and Bookieboo, a blogger network. After losing over 100 lbs, she started a career mentoring women in health and since then has assisted in over 3,500 lbs lost via the Mamavation community. Leah and her work has been mentioned in Ladies Home Journal, Reader's Digest, Fitness, Women's Day, CNN, ABC, CBS, the O'Reilly Factor, AOL, Entrepreneur, and Yahoo to name a few. She works from home in her fuzzy slippers.
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