Here's a guest post from Illustra Lighting. I'm all for LEDs and saving the planet and the article has some good tips (and promotion if you live in the USA :))
Fighting climate change from home
Climate change is a fact, and whether the cause is man-made or natural, something needs to be done to address it. Environmental concerns have become a very important issue in recent years. All over the world, there have been more devastating natural disasters in just a few years than the previous decades combined. From massive floods and tsunamis, raging storms and hurricanes, to earthquakes and volcano eruptions, it has indeed become undeniable that there are significant changes to weather and geological activities. Add to this, the seemingly unresolvable problem of pollution in the air, the seas and oceans, and in cities.
As responsible parents, we have the obligation to do our share in helping address climate change not just for our current families but for future generation as well.
What we, as a family, can do to help As a family, the area where we could do the most impact is in regulating our energy consumption. Energy use is the leading cause of pollution and environmental destruction all over the world. Power plants, especially coal-fired ones, emit tons of toxic gases into the atmosphere daily. As well, raw materials needed, such as oil and other gases, require extraction that almost always destroys the environment and habitats for animals.
We can help reduce energy production by reducing our own consumption at home. In a 2009 survey of a typical single family home in the US, the annual energy bill can be broken down into:
- Heating – 29%
- Water heating – 14%
- Cooling – 17%
- Appliances – 13%
- Lighting – 12%
- Electronics – 4%
- Other – 11%
In addition, the Energy Information Administration has reported that an average US household in 2012 spent nearly 4% of their pre-tax income on gasoline, amounting to $2,912 per year.
Every action counts While energy consumption varies from house to house, there are several generic techniques we could take to cut down our energy consumption.
- Ask for an audit from your power company. This enables you to have a clearer picture of every power-using device in your home.
- Reduce heating and cooling usage to a bare minimum.
- Switch to power-saving appliances. Look for those with Energy Star ratings, the more stars it
has the better.
- Switch all your lighting to LED. While the initial expense seems a lot, its exceptional durability ensures that you won’t have to keep replacing them. It is also 90% more efficient than the conventional ones. And, more importantly, it doesn’t have adverse health risks. Compact fluorescent lighting (CFLs) not only contains mercury that is harmful when released but they also emit significant levels of radiation
that has been known to cause migraines, fatigue, and sleep abnormalities.
- Reduce water usage. This is often overlooked in a typical home but has a big impact when practiced. Wastewater contributes to rising water levels during the storm season that could affect flooding. Instruct your family to turn off taps when not in use. In addition, check all plumbing and taps for leaks and have them fixed.
- Recycle. This cannot be emphasised enough. The advantages of recycling have been deemed important enough that governments have enacted policies ordering manufacturers to use only recyclable materials. You can help out by dropping your recyclable wastes at recycling stations.
- Regulate appliance use. Make sure to check on every appliance that it is turned off when not in use. This includes computers, fans, and all other devices that are plugged in to a socket.