How do you measure energy costs?

Want to save the world? Simple:

1. Use energy efficiently, conserve where you can, don’t waste.
2. Move towards using renewable sources of energy (such as wind and solar power).

Okay, I know that’s obvious. But we don’t do it, do we? Let me give you some details:

One kilowatt hour (kwh) of energy (which would run your AC about 30 minutes) burns one pound of coal in order to be produced. The average home in the southeast uses 36 kwh per day. That’s 36 pounds of coal. And we all know where that coal comes from, right? Watch the mountains disappear in West Virginia, if you’re not sure. Look at the cancer rates among coal miners. The average home will use 6 TONS of coal per year to create its electricity. Of course, producing that energy also causes CO2 emissions and mercury to enter the air. The reason we use it – it is cheap if you don’t look at the larger issues and because other technologies are not readily available (affordable first costs).

So, every time you flip a light switch, you burn coal. When you know that, you think differently about using electricity. There is no way we can stop using coal, we are going to be hard pressed to keep up with demand increases using coal, nuclear, wind, and solar.  So how can you make a change? What can you do RIGHT NOW that will make a difference?

Change every single lightbulb in your house to long-lasting, energy-efficient fluorescent bulbs (or LED if you can afford them).

Some other things we can all do:

-turn off your computer (and everything else) at night using a power strip

-put a timer on your hot water heater so that it works in the morning and evening, but not all day, when there’s nobody home

-buy only energy efficient appliances, such as “Energy Star” appliances–front loading washing machines, for example

Bigger changes you can make:

– air seal your home and get rid of the leaks

-insulate your home right

-install a high efficiency HVAC System

-Replace your old leaky windows

-install solar panels to make use of the sun’s energy–a 2400 square foot house could install a $20,000 system and run coal/nuclear power free — if that sounds daunting, realize that just about ANY roof space with the right orientation can be utilized to collect solar energy

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