Recently I was invited to a 9th grade class to talk on ways to help the environment. I developed this 10 Ways list a few years ago giving ideas to conserve energy in the office. I handed it out to each of the students and the teacher with a plan to gloss over each item quickly and move onto other things. Going through the list there was discussion on just about each item. When the class period was over, we had just reached the last item. That lead me to place it here.
10 Ways to Conserve Energy
It doesn’t matter whether you consider Global Warming a fact or a hoax. The one thing for certain is that we do harm the environment every day. These are things we can do to not only save and conserve energy but also help the environment.
10) Follow The Three ‘R’ – Recycle/Reuse/Reduce
American’s have become a very wasteful society. When our founding fathers were forming our nation, they used everything with little waste. Washington at Valley Forge, the frontier families who settled west of the Mississippi, even the families of World War II used everything.
Today nearly every item that we purchase is in some type of disposable wrapper. This wrapping is used once and thrown in the trash. This uses another piece of a resource that is diminishing. By following these three ‘R’s’ one may or may not not see a direct savings. But in some cases the cost of manufacturing the products might be less. A recycled aluminum can requires less energy to reuse. than having a new one produced from the raw materials.
9) Drive Smart
There are a number of ways that we don’t drive smart.
We are a mobile society. Many times we jump into a vehicle to attend a meeting across town without looking to see if there are other things we can be doing while in the area. How many of us have gone one place, come back only to realize we also needed to go to another either a few miles farther or someplace between the two? Planning our trips will allow us to use less fuel. it also saves time as well..
Poor maintenance of our vehicles causes us to use more fuel than required. Having the engine routinely serviced, will keep it running at peak efficiently. Don’t forget the tire pressure. Tires at the wrong pressure, especially ones that are low, is a big fuel waster. And don’t forget to have the brakes checked. A dragging brake not only causes the brakes to wear out faster, it will make the engine work harder. And use more gas.
When driving, don’t make rapid stops and starts. This, as well as exceeding the speed limit, can quickly reduce gas mileage. By using the speed control on long trips, the vehicle runs at a constant speed.
8) Heat or Cool the Living/Work Space – Not the World
Does the building have enough insulation? Older homes and building probably don’t. Windows are also an area where energy costs are moving from their desired purpose to change the temperature of the outside air.
Many homes are heating or cooling areas that are seldom used. By setting up heating and cooling areas, one can save money and energy by keeping the seldom used areas warmer or cooler than the rest of the house. Many people may like a warm living room in the winter, but wants a cool bedroom. This would be another reason for separate environmental areas.
Use a programmable thermostat. By using a programmable thermostat you can automatically turn down the heat when it’s least needed, at night when sleeping or during the day when no one is home. Have it raised to a comfortable level shortly before getting up or arriving home. Be certain that it is the correct type of programmable thermostat for your heating or cooling system. Some heat pumps and air conditioning systems require specialized programmable thermostats.
7) Use Water Wisely
Water may be free, but getting it from the ground to the home costs a lot. There’s the cost of pumping it from one location to another, as well as the cost of treating it to be at a useable state. There’s also the cost of removing and cleaning the waste water.
6) Use Energy-Efficient Products
Many older appliances use a great deal more energy than a new one. The 20 year old refrigerator may be working fine, but a newer one could use half of the energy.
Water heaters can use as much as 14% of the energy bill. The older it gets the less efficient it is with one over 10 years being as much as 50% less efficient than as it was when new.
And don’t forget the light bulbs. Most of the energy used by old style incandescent lights is turned into heat. A 15-Watt Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) gives the same light as a 60-Watt incandescent using a quarter of the energy.
5) Turn Off and Unplug
Unplug devices that use a transformer when not in use. Example; battery chargers. Whenever these devices are plugged in they consume minor amounts of energy. Many devices such as TVs and DVD players still use energy when not in use. Turning them off may only save a small amount of the total energy used. Unplug them when they won’t be used for a long period of time.
Turn off computers at night, and use sleep mode as often as possible. When not in use turn off televisions, radios and other entertainment equipment.
4) Light the area reasonably
Office lighting can be the one single source of using the largest amount of electric each month. Reducing the energy used by lights can make a quick and noticeable impact to the bill.
Many offices either use too much light or does not use the most efficient type of lighting. It’s important to have enough lights in an area so that it’s safe, but there may be places where lights can be removed, the size of the fixture reduced or more economical sources of light are use.
Use task lights to reduce the amount of overhead lights. Task lights puts the required amount of light on the project at hand allowing the room lights to be at a lower light level, therefore saving energy.
Don’t light areas that aren’t being occupied. Install timers and occupancy sensors. These are great in offices for restrooms, storage closets and copier rooms.
3) Make it a Habit
Habits are those things that we do without thinking. Developing a habit takes time. At first it may take some constant thoughts and reminders. By spending time considering your actions and doing the things to save energy each day, these actions will become a habit.
2) Pass Along the Word
It’s amazing how many people there are out there that just don’t know, don’t have an understanding or just need to have a person they know and respect to assure them. Pass along the information. Let your friends know when you replace an appliance and see a drop
in the electric bill. Or when they throw a plastic bottle or newspaper in the trash let them know it can be recycled and used again. The more people hear it from someone they know, the more apt they are to follow the advice.
1) Switch Off the Lights
When being the last to leave a room turn out the lights. It will always be saving energy with few exceptions also saving money.
© 2007-2009 Steven G. Atkinson – All Rights Reserved