Home Energy Efficiency – So Underrated. So Important!
In October of 2018 the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (UNIPCC), along with President Trump’s National Climate Assessment (NCA), released alarming reports on the state of our climate. In short, changes are happening faster than originally predicted.
Though we sometimes find the issues of climate change disheartening, we must understand that people created this situation, and people can fix it. The climate situation is not hopeless, and while governments around the world are starting to respond, there are many things every individual can do that will help.
Here are a few:
– Buy an energy saver thermostat. These are often available for under $50, are easy to install and convenient to use. Energy saver thermostats work on a timer and automatically regulate heat or cooling on a schedule you set up. They save energy- good for the environment, but also good for your budget as lower energy use saves you money.
-Energy efficient windows may seem expensive, but the savings they provide will repay the investment in as few as two years! They also provide a more comfortable environment all year ‘round in your home.
-Buy and install LED lightbulbs. Market Basket sells warm-white 60W equivalent LED bulbs for $4 per four-pack – just $1 per bulb! They use nearly 90% less energy than their incandescent counterparts, and last for thousands of hours. Your reduced energy demand reduces CO2 emissions, and again, saves you money. Replace all of your bulbs at once, and dispose of your old bulbs properly. A few years ago when I did this, my monthly electric bill was reduced by $30; repaying me for what I spent exchanging my bulbs in just two months. I have yet to replace a burnt out bulb!
– Consider buying a hybrid or electric car. Does your current vehicle suit your needs or are you driving something bigger (and more costly to you and the environment) than you really need? Consider this- the average US car owner drives 13,476 miles in a year. If their car gets 20MPG, and with gasoline at $2.50/gallon, that driver spends $1,684.50 on gasoline per year. However,
upgrading to a vehicle that gets 50MPG, will save over $1,000 per year, over 400 gallons of gas, and about 4 TONS of CO2 emissions per year!
– Go solar. It is often possible, with 0$ down, and a monthly payment comparable to your current electric bill, to install a solar array that covers 100% of your energy needs. A solar system will last 30+ years, add value to your home, provide savings that will total tens of thousands of dollars and literally tons in saved CO2 emissions over its lifetime. Free solar consults are available, and if you install solar before January of 2020, you can still take advantage of the soon to disappear 30% Federal Tax Rebate, saving you nearly one third of the cost of your system.
– Finally, and most simply, be energy conscious! Turn off lights, appliances, TVs, that you are not using. Combine trips to the post office, store, etc. Carpool with friends when possible, dry clothes on a clothesline.
It really is possible to substantially reduce energy consumption while saving money and reducing the individual carbon footprint, thereby slowing down changes in the environment.
Saving money while at the same time doing your part to save the climate is a simple win-win. Chris Balch represents Hillsborough 38 in the NH House of Representatives. He is a boat builder and retired science educator. Chris is a board member for the Monadnock Sustainability Network (www.greenmonadnock.org), a 501c3 whose mission is to encourage sustainable living practices and resource conservation in the region. Chris lives in Wilton, NH.