10 Ways to Help Stop Global Warming

Global warming is an issue, for many of us, as seeming to be to big of a problem for any single person to handle. Its that response that makes it such a difficult problem to solve. As individuals, only then can we truly make a difference in our current crisis. By educating ourselves, our children and others, we take on the challenges needed to change our lifestyles to better suit our needs and our planets needs. By leading the way ourselves and taking the first steps, either politically or socially, each of us can make a difference that counts not only for our planet, but also our wallets.

Below you will find practical steps that reduce the impact we have on our natural world around us. As we use these ideas in our lives, we not only attribute to the health of mother nature, but we are also making our lives better in the process. Using less fuel and energy saves us money. Driving less by biking and walking improves our health. Eating organic and locally grown food reduces pesticides and fertilizers, and the fuel used to harvest and transport mass produced goods are reduced. All the aspects of these steps saves and heals all of us as well as leaving a sustainable planet for our grandchildren to come.

Energy efficient lighting

One of the simplest ways to reduce your energy needs is to replace all your regular incandescent light bulbs with super efficient compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL’s). Of course, incandescents are much cheaper than fluorescents, but the cost upfront will pay for itself over time, due to the fact that CFL’s last 10 times longer than incandescents and use 66% less energy. You can buy CFL’s at most hardware stores, and due to their increasing popularity, have begun to decrease in price.

Energy efficient appliances

Lets face it, unless your rich, your just not going to buy new appliances. But keep in mind, that old refrigerator in the garage thats just cooling a 6 pack of beer, could be turned off and save yourself a few $100 a year. Use your microwave more often if you only need to heat small items. Turning on the stove to heat up water can be easier and cheaper in the microwave. Use large appliances such as the dishwasher or dryer at night during off peak hours to save money and more energy. Phantom loads drain power during non use. The VCR clock is a phantom load. Even though the VCR is off, the power is still being drawn for the display. Hook up phantom load appliances to a timer or power bar, and turn them off at night.
If in fact you are looking to buy new appliances, energy star appliances have the best energy ratings. For information on the newest energy saving appliances, visit www.energystar.gov

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Heat and cool more efficiently

Heating and cooling your home accounts for 45% of your total energy usage. Thats almost half of your energy consumption. By simply turning down your thermostat 2 degrees in winter and 2 degrees up in the summer, can add up to real energy savings over time. By upgrading to a digital programmable thermostat, your can program the thermostat to go off during hours when its not needed, such as when you’re at work or school, or as you sleep at night. By adding insulation to your walls, attic spaces, and crawl space, your energy efficiency goes up and less power is used.

Conserve hot water

Your energy usage can be reduced further, by limiting your hot water usage. Check your hot water heaters temperature, and set it below 120 degrees or at a lower temperature. Insulated the area your water heater is in also. You can use low flow restrictive shower heads to save on hot water usage. Wash clothes in warm or cold water, rather than hot lowers your bills and energy consumption as well. Remember when buying those appliances, front loading dishwashers are much more efficient than top loading machines for conserving hot water.

Energy efficient computers

Turning your computers to a more efficient mode, helps to conserve power. Whether at home or work, turning your computer to hibernate mode or low power mode conserves a considerable amount of money and energy. Up to 70% of the power a computer uses is wasted by idling. Upgrading to a laptop from a desktop can change your efficiency by 90%. Also switching to an ink jet printer from a laser printer can save you another 90%

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Performing an energy audit

The average home in America uses around $1500 per year on energy, and with a few well thought out ideas and upgrades, can save around $450 or more. Doing an energy audit can show you the areas of your home that are consuming the most power. It also shows you where in your home the most energy is wasted. You can do your own energy audit by getting information and tools on-line at : www.energyguide.com

Switch to green power

Renewable power has long been known as the key to reducing our dependency on fossil fuels. As more and more people use the sun and wind for energy, the cost in buying solar equipment and the like will decrease. Although the price is still high, their are large tax breaks and grants for funding that are available from the government. If your not able to afford a solar upgrade like most of us, there is an alternative. In many regions, the local power utility can contract to receive energy from more Eco- friendly sources. The cost may be higher, but as more and more people elect to use these ways, the prices will go down. For more information on the subject go on-line to: www.epa.gov/greenpower. If green power is not available in your area you can also buy tradeable renewable energy certificates (TRC’s) For more information visit www.green-e.org.

Drive less

Around 30% of all carbon dioxide emissions come from vehicles that transport us, and transport our goods and services. More than 90% of this travel is by car. While fuel efficiency has declined in the past 10 years, gas prices have risen and created a new market for more efficient cars. As the government sets tighter restrictions on fuel economy, and the demand for fuel efficiency grows, the scenario sets it self for us to buy and create hybrid vehicles and electric cars. Reduce the numbers of hours in the car by biking and walking more. Consolidating all of your trips into one trip throughout the week, or use mass transit. If you can save 20 miles a week, then you just saved the earth about 1000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions a year.

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Drive smarter

By changing some driving habits, you can save on fuel economy. Avoid driving during rush hour if possible. By wasting less time sitting in traffic you save on all that gas spent idling. Drive the speed limit. A cars fuel efficiency drops sharply over 55 mph. Keep your car in top order. A clean air filter and properly inflated tires on a well serviced car will save big at the pump. Drive with the windows up at high speeds can save more over time to.

Reduce air travel

Not everyone flies, but if your a frequent flyer then taking two or more flights less a year can seriously reduce emissions. If you don’t fly, but drive for vacations, try taking them closer to home. By driving less, and using mass transit such as a train or bus, can save greatly on traveling expenses as well as the environment. If you must fly, then your alternative is buying carbon offsets in exchange for the emissions spent. For information on carbon offsets contact: www.betterworldclub.com