Energy is defined as the “ability to do work”. Work can be described as the act of moving, lifting, warming, or lighting something. In today’s society it is difficult to imagine going through an entire day without using energy. In a typical home where electricity provides all of the energy requirements, the average consumption break down could look something like this:
Air conditioner and heater 50%
Water heater 20%
Lighting & small appliances 10%
Ovens & stoves 4%
Clothes Dryer 3%
Electricity is generated from both nonrenewable and renewable energy sources. Non-renewable energy sources are represented by natural resources (fossil fuels) that cannot be replaced, such as oil, gas, and coal. About 71.5% of all of the electricity in the U.S. is generated from non-renewable sources. In addition about 19.5% of all electric power is generated by nuclear power plants; roughly 9% is generated from renewable sources. These sources are constantly restored and include wind, solar, hydro power, vegetation (Bio-mass), internal heat from the earth (geo-thermal), etc.
Long term sustainability will be dependent upon on how well the U.S. reduces its dependency on non-renewable energy sources; either through enhanced energy conservation means or by increased employment of renewable energy alternatives. The side benefit from this transformation will be a net benefit to the environment, in the way of decreased releases of air and water pollutants. In the U.S., the average family’s energy use generates over 11,200 pounds of air pollutants each year. Therefore, every unit (or kilowatt) of electricity conserved, reduces the environmental impact of energy use.
What can we do as individuals to reduce our personal consumption of energy on a daily basis and to decrease our dependency on fossil fuels? Over the next several weeks we will discuss several areas where we can begin to evaluate our current life-style:
* Perform a home energy audit
* Modify daily routine
* Implement long term energy conservation measures
* Cost-benefits realized from reductions in energy consumption
In the coming weeks we will be discussing improved weatherization techniques for the home, improved housekeeping practices, energy conserving products currently on the market, and alternative heating sources. As reduced energy use translates into saved dollars we will look at cost of investment vs. pay back on investment and net savings over the life time of the investment.
“If you want one year of prosperity, plant corn.
If you want ten years of prosperity, plant trees.
If you want one hundred years of prosperity, educate people.”
- Chinese Proverb –
Please contact me with ideas, subject matter, questions, or new technologies that you would like to see discussed in future editions. Saving tomorrow begins today.