Today is Earth Day and Hawaii Congressman Neil Abercrombie shares his message to the residents of Hawaii. The statistics were provided by Energy Industries from my Energy Efficiency presentation a few months back.
Save Money (and the Earth) on Earth Day
Although energy prices have stabilized and gas is cheaper for the moment, energy prices will start increasing as soon as the economy starts to recover. Thus, it’s important that Hawaii move off imported oil as fast as possible. In the words of President Obama, “The cheapest, cleanest, fastest energy source is Energy Efficiency.”
There are decisions we can make to protect the environment and reduce energy consumption, such as buying more efficient appliances (look for the Energy Star logo), cars and homes.
But, many of these decisions require significant financial investment. Fortunately, there are also some decisions we can make that don’t require huge investments, and they’re a great way to commemorate Earth Day 2009:
Your car — 80% of us drive to work alone. Telecommuting can save you $750/year. Carpooling can save you $400/year. Maintaining you car and keeping your tires properly inflated can save you $150/year. Eliminating extra weight in your car or removing that luggage rack means you use less gas and can save $30-50/year. Not using air conditioning when traveling slower than 45 mph saves $200/year. In general, heavy braking and accelerating use more energy.
Cooling your home — Using air conditioning six hours every day will cost you about $800/year. Increasing the room temperature by just three degrees can save you $100/year. Or, switch to a ceiling fan which can run for eight hours a day at a cost of $84/year, a dramatic savings. Tint your windows. If you do use air conditioning, make sure your unit is in the shade; clean the filter and vents regularly; and use kitchen, bath or other ventilation fans wisely. In just one hour, these fans can get rid of a houseful of warm air.
Washing/Drying Clothes — Washing a load of clothes in hot water costs four times as much as in cold water. Washing four loads of laundry a week in cold water would save $120/year. Drying four loads of laundry a week will cost about $225, but hanging laundry to dry just half the time can save more than $100 over a year.
Appliances and Electrical Devices — Leaving a computer and monitor on standby 24 hours a day costs about $200/year. You can activate sleep features on computers and office equipment that power down when not used for a certain time period. You can also use power strips to conveniently turn off devices and eliminate phantom energy loads. Phantom plug loads cost families $90/year. Americans spend more than $2 billion annually on phantom energy.
The data for these numbers were provided by Hawaiian Electric and the EPA Energy Star Program, and the calculations were done by Energy Industries using basic assumptions, so there will be variation among families in Hawaii, but they give you a rough idea of what you can save every day.
The 39th Earth Day will be on Wednesday, April 22nd. As we go about our daily lives, we can all make choices to consume less energy, save money and make a big difference for our island home.