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101 Ways To Save Energy

Energy bills for heating, electric and gasoline are a major concern to most of us. The prices of all forms of energy are always fluctuating but the long-term trend is upward.

Energy production always has an environmental impact. Most often this impact is negative.

Coal is used to generate a large percentage of our nation's electricity. It has to be mined, transported and burned. It is a very dirty process.

The oil used to make gasoline is often vast distances with many environmental consequences along the way.

Natural gas is the cleanest of the fossil fuels. However, there are problems associated with drilling for gas.

Burning any fossil fuel allows carbon dioxide and other gasses to escape into the atmosphere. These gasses are suspected of causing climate change.

Often we feel powerless, on an individual level, to change things. Why should I care? I am entitled to the comforts that I have always enjoyed. It's OK. I can afford it!

These are some of the rationalizations we use as we enjoy our comfortable lifestyles.

We tend to forget that thrift and sacrifice helped our society to attain today's high standard of living.

Saving, not wasting, energy is an action that an individual can take that can help sustain our way of life.

The following list energy saving tips can help reduce your energy bills as well as have a positive impact on our environment:

In the home:

  • Turn of lights when not in use
  • Install compact fluorescent or LED light bulbs
  • Install clock thermostats
  • Put on a sweater and lower the heat
  • Disconnect chargers when not in use
  • Wash laundry in cold water
  • Fill up the sink instead of letting the water run while doing dishes
  • Fill the dishwasher completely before use
  • Do full loads of laundry
  • Avoid phantom loads (TVs, computers, DVD players, etc. use power when they off, put them on power strips that can be turned off or unplug them when not in use)
  • Add attic insulation
  • Have insulation blown into walls
  • Seal and caulk cracks
  • Weather strip doors and windows
  • Upgrade windows and doors if appropriate
  • Insulate attic stairs or access panels
  • Upgrade heating systems
  • Service or upgrade air conditioning systems
  • Clean ducts and filters
  • Have ducts checked for leaks
  • Close blinds and drapes at night
  • Let the sunshine in
  • Hang clothes out to dry
  • Recycle, recycle, recycle
  • Get a home energy audit
  • Install solar panels
  • Install a solar hot water heater
  • Insulate hot water heater
  • Seal around recessed lights and other ceiling penetrations
  • Install ceiling fans to cut air conditioning use
  • Install a whole house fan
  • Exhaust summertime heat from attic
  • Install flow restrictors to cut hot water usage
  • Close air-conditioning vents in the winter
  • Keep attached garage doors closed in cold weather
  • Eat more vegetables and fruits
  • Clean refrigerator coils
  • Upgrade refrigerator if appropriate
  • Shut off that extra fridge in the garage
  • Keep freezer defrosted
  • Purchase products with the least amount of packaging
  • Get reusable grocery bags
  • Return plastic grocery bags to store
  • Use motion sensor lights outdoors
  • Plant a vegetable garden
  • Compost kitchen waste
  • Get a water bottle

In your car:

  • Don't let car warm up more than one minute
  • Turn off engine at the bank drive-in
  • Avoid “jack rabbit” starts and hard stops
  • Purchase the most fuel-efficient model that will meet your needs
  • Turn off engine while getting gas
  • Use cruise control when traffic permits
  • Keep tires inflated to manufactures specs.
  • Keep car “tuned up”
  • Remove excess weight from trunk and storage areas

At work:

  • Recycle paper
  • Turn off lights and office equipment when not in use
  • Lower heat at night
  • Avoid disposable food and drink containers when possible
  • Recycle obsolete computer, printers, etc.
  • Avoid printing documents that are unnecessary

Ok, you caught me, there's less that 101 items on this list. I think that you get the idea. It's "waste not, want not," just like grandma said.

Simple actions matter, it's people working together that can make life more sustainable for ourselves and for future generations.

-- Gerald Anthony

Paramus Environmental Commission
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