Treading lightly on the Earth was and is the sage advice of the indigenous people who live in North America. If you wish the Earth be available to your grandchildren, then you must act in a sustainable way. This sentiment is now reflected in the policies being advocated to protect the Earth against global warming.
An excellent description of global climate change has been produced by NASA which shows some of the vital signs of the planet. As they describe it:
Most climate scientists agree the main cause of the current global warming trend is human expansion of the “greenhouse effect”1 — warming that results when the atmosphere traps heat radiating from Earth toward space.
This heat trap is created by long-lived gases such as carbon dioxide and methane which are emitted from earth. These are carbon gases and the amount added to the atmosphere by each of us is often called our carbon footprint. If we wish to tread lightly on the Earth, clearly we should minimize our carbon footprint.are
Energy Waste Increases Your Carbon Footprint
Although some of these carbon gases are produced naturally by plant life and by agriculture, our personal use of energy is a big contributor. Both in the production and consumption of energy products such as oil, natural gas and coal, large amounts of carbon gases can be produced. Whenever we are wasting energy, we are needlessly adding to the carbon gases released and thus to our carbon footprint. If you are concerned about the planet, then clearly you should avoid wasting energy whenever you can.
Cutting Energy Waste Decreases Your Energy Bill
If saving the planet is not one of your major concerns, there is still a very strong economic incentive to avoid wasting energy. Energy products are costly and will continue to increase steadily in price as supplies decline. Remember that if you waste energy you get nothing for the money you spent in creating that energy in your furnace or your air conditioner. That is certainly a strong motivator to find ways of avoiding the waste.
Immediate Ways to Cut Your Energy Waste
If you keep in mind the need to cut energy waste, there are many small ways in which you can change your behavior and gain significant benefits. Here are just a few:
- During the winter, reduce the temperature in rooms you are not using and keep the temperature a little lower in the room you use most often
- During the summer, keep the house a little warmer and do not have your air conditioner running so hard
- Avoid heating the garage unless it is extremely cold
- If you have old windows that you do not intend to replace, then use weather stripping to cut off incoming draughts
- If feasible, use your bicycle to visit the local store rather than jumping into the car. Just think of the benefits to your health too.
Major Reductions in Energy Waste
If you have old windows and exterior doors, then you may be well aware that you can make a major reduction in the energy wasted in your home by doing a replacement project. Natural Resources Canada estimates that your home may be losing 25% of its heat in such a situation. Cranking up appliances like furnaces, space heaters or radiators is no real solution to this problem. One of our Consultants would be most happy to discuss with you what are the best solutions you might consider.
If you wish to install high quality energy efficient windows, then choosing Energy Star approved products is a very wise choice. Here is how Natural Resources Canada describes these products.
Windows, doors & skylights – Buy ENERGY STAR® to save you money!
Even though windows, doors and skylights do not consume energy, they can be a significant source of energy loss. If you’re in the market for windows, choosing ENERGY STAR certified models can save you an average of 8% on your energy bills as compared to a standard windows. And windows that qualify for the ENERGY STAR Most Efficient designation are up to 40% more efficient than a standard windows.
When you cut your energy waste by this amount, you will certainly see a clear reduction in how much you are paying on your energy bill.
Image via Flickr from SleepyLaKate