Solar4Scholars: Energy Efficiency
There are a number of ways that we can continue to improve our energy efficiency. We know that fossil fuels are not going to last forever.
Certainly, the use of renewable energy sources will help curb our over-reliance on fossil fuels, but even before we do that we need to conserve fuels by reducing consumption. The more we conserve, the better it will be for the environment. Another side effect of conservation is that fossil fuel supplies will last longer, so their prices will remain lower.
Remember the three R's, especially: reduce, reuse, recycle (see below). Here with help of materials from the Department of Energy is a list of things you can do to save energy:
Find out how much energy you use:
Knowledge is power, and knowing how much energy you use is a big step in learning how to save it in the future. Find out what appliances and other devices have "phantom loads" and shut these off if they are not needed.
Cut back on heating needs:
Wear a sweatshirt or other warm clothing indoors when it is cold, so your parents will not have to turn the furnace up so high. On the other hand, wear fewer clothes indoors when it is hot, so your parents will not have to run the air conditioner as much.
Turn off all lights, computers and radios when you do not need them.
Ask your parents to replace regular light bulbs with compact fluorescent lights. They cost a bit more but they use about a fourth of the energy of regular light bulbs and last up to ten times longer. If you only buy a few, use them where you use the most light.
Use public transit or ride your bike whenever you can.
Share rides with friends to after-school activities and Saturday games.
Buy products without much packaging and wrapping.
Share your clothes and toys with others after you outgrow them.
Recycle newspapers. Paper made with recycled paper uses about one-third less energy than paper made from raw materials.
Recycle glass bottles and jars. Glass made from recycled glass also uses about one-third less energy than glass made from raw materials.
Recycle steel and aluminum cans and aluminum foil. Aluminum cans made from recycled aluminum use 90% less energy than aluminum made from raw materials.
Look for the recycle mark - three arrows that make a circle - on things you buy.