How to Improve Energy Use, Energy Efficiency, and Energy Alternatives
Build our reliance on domestic energy sources. This includes the green
technologies of wind, solar, hydro, nuclear, and tidal and recycling sources
such as biogas and municipal solid waste. It also includes fossil fuels (from
the time the Earth was really warm and productive) coal, oil, and gas - but
in as clean a mode as possible. We need to be mindful that wind and solar
are intermittent sources and require a backup supply AND a larger electrical
grid (with more transmission lines and towers) than any other source. Also,
we need to consider whether any particular fuel is, in fact, a net saver
of fossil or other energy.
Conserve our energy through efficiency in all we do. This includes in our
lighting, vehicles, appliances and home insulation, but also mundane things
such as multipurpose trips when we run our errands or visit our clients.
For example, replacing the few incandescent lights in every home or business
that are used the most with fluorescent bulbs or LEDs will make major reductions
in energy use (See cflsafety.blogspot.com for
a review of safety concerns).
Make mass transit more extensive, more economical, and user friendly.
Review building codes to ensure new homes and buildings are constructed
to be reasonably energy efficient, perhaps having different grading levels
(with payback periods estimated) so purchasers can choose how far above a
threshold value, they wish to go. Standards for commercial buildings need
to consider the global economy competitive issues. Innovative ideas, such
as using waste water from restroom sinks, or laundry machines, to flush toilets
on lower floors, need to be considered.
Implement consumer education programs at all levels, particularly within
commercial establishments that produce goods and services. For example: provide
energy saving tips, and management advice and software to truck and automobile
fleet owners, to fishing vessel and maritime vessel owners, and highway designers.
Develop and disseminate practical energy conservation packages for the
general population and for industry sectors such as agriculture, trucking,
airline, fishing, mining, refining, warehousing. These packages should contain
reasonable energy reduction targets, progress markers (milestones) and estimates
of savings if achieved.
Review traffic flow measures that cause vehicles to stop and go, or wait
unnecessarily for non-existent pedestrians or intersecting traffic.
Set advisory guidelines for industry and consumers in the use of Energy
Get a watt-hour meter and see what each of your appliances, electronics,
plug-in lights costs to run. There will be some surprises!
Reduce the number of parasitic loads in the house. If a TV or VCR or Cable
TV Box is sitting in the basement, and is rarely used, put it on a powerstrip
and shut everything off when you leave the room.
Get an energy audit of your home or business, particularly if it is free
from your power company.
Consider energy use efficiencies on all appliances and vehicles.
Put your hand on your water heater, or the pipes leaving it. If hot, insulate
them. For one thing, it is not just a loss of energy, but in the summer,
it is fighting the air conditioner.
Leaving a room and last one out? Shut off the light! Put your computer
to sleep or shut it off. If the A/C is on, be extra careful.
Vehicles: share rides in a car pool; inflate tires properly; time for a
tuneup with new sparkplugs?; air filter dirty?; unnecessary weight in the
Alternatives to Reduce Energy Use
Pay or subsidize research on all the above energy forms, particularly big
ticket items such as nuclear and coal and on efficiencies in how we use power.
Conserve our energy through less use of machinery. Examples are using clothes
lines for drying, walking or riding a bike to work or for neighborhood errands
and visits, using the stairs instead of elevators, forgetting about motorboats
and buying sail boats, and putting down the leaf blower and picking up the
Make it easy everywhere for excess energy to be added to the electricity
grid by consumers and industry with permanent or temporary excess power,
such as from wind, methane, hydro, and solar - and at reasonable rates, at
or near the highest rate tier actually being used at the time. This provides
incentive to oversize individual production systems, leading to extra robustness
in the overall grid.
Foster new residential and commercial construction near mass transportation
hubs, such as subway and railroad stations, airports, and bus terminals.
Ensure that all our communities have safe routes where people can walk
or bike to work, or at least use motorbikes safely. Highway and bridge rebuilding
projects should provide dedicated lanes with appropriate separation of pedestrian
and bicycles from motor vehicle traffic.
All jobs should be reviewed by employers to determine if it makes sense
to allow telecommuting one or more days per week.
Train state extension agents (e.g., agricultural agents) in energy conservation
approaches and benefits.
Increase taxes on energy consumption that is not used for production of
goods and services. This is not a blind "carbon tax", but a tax
aimed at consumer level consumption.
Recycle items as much as is worthwhile. Sometimes this can be counterproductive
if there is not enough volume or recycling requires too much energy or cost.
Conduct research on the effect of any these actions on wildlife and on
human health, and on the economic vitality of our nations.
Increase the amount of our business done electronically to minimize travel
and transportation and the use of paper. This includes banking, meetings,
or purchasing of goods, including food. An additional stop for a delivery
truck uses much less fuel than one of our trips to the store.
Use fans and open windows for cooling. A fan in an upstairs bedroom window
exhausting outwards, or in an upstairs hallway exhausting into the attic,
may reduce the need for air conditioning by two months. An added benefit
is that the regular attic fan won't need to come on, so much of this energy
saving is a gift.