Sustainable Energy Consumption at Home

I assume you use fossil fuels. It’s nearly impossible not to use them in the United States. They run our cars, fertilize our plants, and in most places they provide the energy that powers and heats our homes. In fact, almost half of the power used in the USA is consumed by our buildings. If you want to decrease the size of your carbon footprint you should drive less and eat local, organic food, and, more importantly, focus on your home’s power consumption. It will have a much greater impact.

There are 3 ways to reduce a buildings carbon footprint: Increase efficiency, conserve (or decrease waste), and add a renewable energy source.

Energy efficiency and conservation are closely related and sometimes overlap. To discern the two, think of it this way: efficiency is what you can do to save energy and conservation is what you can not do to save energy. You can replace your old water heater, light bulbs, and insulate your attic to increase efficiency. You can conserve by not turning the heat up, not turning the TV on, or not leaving the door open.

Conservation and efficiency are great ways to lower your dependence on fossil fuels and they are always the first step toward sustainable energy. But, to be assured that you are not using fossil fuels to power your house you must seek out green energy.

There are really only two sources of energy in the world, the sun and the earth. Green energy is renewable and it is simpler than coal, oil, and natural gas. Fossil fuels are just stored solar energy. The sun powered the growth of plants and other life, then the earth compressed it into coal and oil. Solar, wind, and wave are all from the sun. Geothermal comes from the earth. Hydroelectric is a bit of both, the sun lifts the water up, the earth brings it down. Tidal power is an exception it comes from the moon. None of these are stored in hydrocarbons like fossil fuels. They do not harm the environment, at least not to the same degree, when prepared for our use. This may sound corny but I like to think of renewable energy as fresher than the energy released from burning fossil fuels.

When you are choosing a renewable energy generator you may have more options than you think. Solar and wind are the most popular options and they are getting less expensive and more efficient every day. Depending on your geography you may have the opportunity to use a number of other options. You can use geo-exchange to heat and cool your home just about anywhere you live. If you have a brook that falls through your property you could install a micro-hydro system that would be far more effective than solar or wind. Your community or region may also be able to be powered by tidal, wave, or geothermal. There are so many options that it may be best to educate yourself and seek professional advice on the topic.

Solar Energy International has a free introductory course on renewable energy and I highly recommend it.

How do you save energy at home, share your tips in the comments below!


About Tom

I co-founded Health Now, Wealth Forever when I realized I was unhappy with where I was in life. I was overweight, unhealthy, and stuck in a business that I couldn't save. I had little hope. With our mission of helping others with the same problems, I am now in a much better place in all facets of my life. Most of my posts are about improving your diet - I think health most important. But, I also write about sustainable living, self-improvement, and occasionally improving finances. After all, one of my personal mottos is balance in everything.

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