Get active about being passive
You’ve read it in the news, seen it on TV – it’s time for us to take power of our power. As a country, we have ahead of us an exciting opportunity to develop new technologies and become forerunners in the field of renewable energy – as well as global leaders of the “green revolution” itself.
Even better, there are tons of easy ways to be an active part of the energy solution on a household level. By making our homes more “passive” – or less reliant on artificial heating, cooling, lighting or electric systems – we’re taking charge of our energy use and contributing to a brighter future for our planet.
Where we stand
Though the pursuit for renewable energy has worked its way up our national to-do list in recent years, about 92% of the energy currently consumed in the United States still comes from non-renewable and limited energy sources, such as coal, natural gas and petroleum.
The remaining reserves are becoming increasingly expensive and difficult to find and extract. Since the 1970s, declining gas discovery rates have indicated that we may have reached a global peak in supply. By the time we exhaust all available oil completely, fossil fuels will have already released enough greenhouse gasses to cause severe climate change.
The silver lining
The good news is that every journey starts with a single step, and we’ve already taken the first few. The United States is working toward shifting back to using renewable sources to meet our energy needs. Those sources include biomass, hydropower, geothermal, wind and solar power.
It will take concentrated effort, federal funding and widespread education, but we’re now on the right track to sustainable energy:
- *In 2009, total energy consumption decreased by nearly 5% while renewable energy consumption rose by 5%
- *Globally, roughly 3 million households are getting power from small solar PV systems as we speak
- *More than 30 million rural households get lighting and cooking from biogas
- *President Obama is working toward a $5 billion expansion of tax credit for clean energy manufacturers as well as home energy rebates for individuals making green renovations
There’s plenty we can do to reduce our own energy consumption and promote sustainable energy at the community level. Read on for some helpful tips!
What Can We Do to Help?
- *Purchase energy efficient products, such as those made by Energy Star
- *Switch your old incandescent light bulbs to Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs)
- *Unplug power adapters and chargers when not in use
- *Weather-strip windows and doors for improved insulation
- *Wash only full loads of dishes and laundry
- *Set your refrigerator somewhere between 36°F and 38°F
- *Turn off the lights when you leave a room