Getting a little Hot in here 3 things you can do to help
admin Thu, 02/08/2007 - 03:00
Is it getting hot in here, or is it just me? Yes, it is getting hotter, and it’s not just me. In fact its getting hotter, and we are to blame.
Last week the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (or IPCC) issued a report saying that humans are the most likley the cause of global warming. (really…it took a panel to figure that out?) The report stated that is 90% likely that humans are the major cause of global warming. The report indicated that if we do not change our ways we have the following to look forward to:
- A global temperature increase of 3.2 - 7.1 degrees F by 2100.
- Sea levels could rise between 7 and 23 inches by the end of the century.
So what, well actually it is a big deal, that would mean that many coastal cites would lose a major portion of there coast lines, and island countries would be at risk of losing everything. The report noted that 11 of the last 12 years have ranked among the 12 warmest years on record. The oceans are taking the most abuse absorbing nearly 80% of the “new” heat. The increase in the oceans temperature is causing the polar ice sheets to melt…adding more water, raising the see level. Not Good.
The major force driving this global warm up are green house gases. Green house gases are produced when we burn fossil fuels…which we use for just about everything these days. So whats the plan. We need to reduce the amount of fossil fuels that we are consuming, (and this is good for other reasons as well….fossil fuels will run out….). Here is a list of the top 3 things that you can do to help out. The goal here is conservation, not elimination. First we need to conserve energy, then we can look at eliminating the need for fossil fuels.
Step 1 :
Start using compact fluorescent lighting or CFL’s.
Using CFL’s makes a huge difference. An average light bulb uses 60 - 90 watts of power, a CFL producing the same amount of light only uses 11- 23 watts of power. On average that’s up to an 80% savings, for the same amount of light. lets say in your house you have 30, 60 watt bulbs and they are all on at the same time.. you are using 1800 watts of power, now lets say that you replace them with 11 watt CFL bulbs, and turn them all on at the same time, you are using 330 watts of power, a huge difference. CFL bulbs can now be purchased at many places for around $2.00 a bulb or less. That may seem a little steep, but keep in mind that these bulbs will last at least 3 times longer than a standard bulb. They now have CFL bulbs for almost any lighting application, including vanity mirrors, Flood lights, indoor floods (or recessed lighting), and even three way bulbs. So the next time you go to purchase light bulbs, pick up some CFL bulbs instead of the normal. In the long run it will save you some money, and its a step in the right direction to saving the world. A little side note here at the end of this one, California is considering a bill that would only allow CFL type bulbs to be used in the state after a given date.
Step 2 :
Install a programmable thermostat.
For less than $200.00 dollars you can purchase a programmable thermostat that will work with your homes heating and cooling system. These are not that hard to install and will save you money over time. The idea here is simple, you tell the thermostat when you are home, not home, or sleeping, and it changes the temperature to match. Whats that mean? During the the winter, the house will be kept cooler while you are not there, and while you are sleeping, and while you are home and up, the house will be kept comfortable. By changing the temperature to match the habits and use of the house you use less energy, think about it, you are no longer heating the house to the same temp for the entire day! You save money. It works the same way in the summer, instead of heating its cooling. Over time you will see a difference in your gas/electric bill, and it is really noticeable in the “heavy usage months” like December, January, June and July. Long story short, it saves you money, and helps everyone else out as well.
Drive your car less..
This one is a little more challenging. But any reduction in your driving, can make a big difference. Here are a few ideas to help you accomplish this goal :
- Car pool or take mass transit. Ok so you are still driving, but at least there are more people in the car.
- When running errands try to do as many as you can in one trip instead of a single trip for each errand.
- Walk a little more. This can be tough, but in some places you can walk to the store, or dinner or work…try it
If you can’t figure a way to drive less, you need to at least keep your car in good condition. make sure that you tires are properly inflated, you have a clean air filter, and your oil is changed on a regular basis. All of these things can have an impact on your fuel consumption. Lastly, Don’t idle. I.e. do not turn on the car in the morning and let it sit while running to warm up the car. You are just wasting gas. If you are going to be staying in the same place for more than 1 min, turn the car off. It takes less gas to turn the car off and then restart when you are ready to go than to let it run. 1 min is the key here..
So with the entire world getting warm, we should all look for ways that we can reduce our impact on the problem. I have listed 3 that are pretty easy, and I expect that you should all take steps to implementing them. They are not that hard to do, they will save you money in the long run, and its just a good idea. Here they are again:
- Buy and use CFL bulbs not standard bulbs.
- Install a programmable thermostat.
- Drive less.
In the grand scheme of things, its all pretty easy really.