Global warming is real. Not only is it a critical issue for our planet (to say the least), but it is becoming more and more pronounced with each passing day.
We hear about global warming all the time in the news, among environmental activists and toss the idea around in debatable conversations with our peers, but are we truly aware of the impact that it has on Earth and how severe the consequences are if we don’t take action? Let’s take a look at some official statistics that will support the gravity of the issue.
According to NASA, one of the most reliable sources for information about climate change available, the sea level on a global scale increased approximately 17 centimetres in the past 100 years. The most alarming detail is that, during the past 10 years, the increase rate is almost twice as large as for the past 100 years. If this wasn’t unsettling enough, Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets are experiencing a startling mass reduction. The same official source cited above reveals that Antarctica, between 2002 and 2005, lost a total of 152 cubic kilometres of ice, while Greenland lost between 150 and 250 cubic kilometres of ice in the 2002-2006 timeframe.
These facts alone – which are just a few of the significant pieces of information regarding global warming research – should be enough to get you thinking about global warming more seriously. Even though the situation seems to be slowly spiralling out of control, there are a few steps that we can take on an individual level to do our part for the environment. This is where the concepts of power efficiency and environmental responsibility come in; our Ultimate Guide to Power Efficiency will provide you with guidelines on how to save more power to contribute to saving the planet.
Why Power Efficiency Should Be a Priority to All
No matter if you live in the most polluted country in the world or the most environmentally-friendly one, it is your moral duty as a citizen of planet Earth (and not a particular territory) to do your part in being power-efficient. Our planet has blessed us with a myriad of natural resources that we continue to take advantage of irresponsibly, regardless of our infinite access to information on this topic. Not only do we owe power efficiency to the Earth, but also to the generations that will follow in our steps. Here are just a few of the countless reasons why power efficiency should be a priority for all of us, both from an eco-viewpoint and a survivalist point of view.
Eco and Green Living Reasons
Let’s go through a visual exercise to support this first reason. Go online and search for the term ‘Delhi’ in Google images. The first results will illustrate the beautiful architecture and landmarks of the capital territory of India, which you can admire for a moment before proceeding. After that, scroll down a bit; you will start noticing images with piles of garbage and insane traffic. Continue by searching for images with the terms ‘Delhi pollution’. You should now understand why reducing pollution is one of the most significant reasons to start being environmentally conscious.
Preserve Natural Resources
Like we previously mentioned, our world contains (better said ‘contained’) an abundance of natural resources that the human race depends on. These resources are now more than limited and – however dramatic it may seem – the fate of our world depends on how we manage these natural resources from now on. Without these precious resources, we would not be able to live or even have a planet to live on in the first place. This is why terms like sustainability, awareness, and conservation are becoming more and more important; not only knowing about the issues surrounding our natural resources, but also taking the necessary steps to make a change.
This leads us to an equally significant aspect regarding natural resources. As far back as we can remember, some of the world’s most tragic conflicts and wars were sparked due to territorial interests and – you guessed it – possession of natural resources. Governments are well-aware of how valuable these resources are, and they are willing to make considerable sacrifices on behalf of their nation to get them. By supporting power efficiency and choosing to live an eco/ green/ environmentally-friendly lifestyle, you will also be supporting peace around the globe.
Protect Future Generations
If not for the planet, then do it for your children and for the future generations. Another responsibility that we have is to provide for the generations to come and to allow them to live a healthy, peaceful, and abundant life in a safe environment. It might seem like a big responsibility to take on, but just by taking a few small steps you can contribute to the well-being of many more generations to come, including your own children. In addition to this, leading by example is essential; the knowledge that we pass on to the next generations are decisive for their behaviour in relation to the environment.
Save the Planet
Ultimately, being environmentally conscious and power-efficient will help in the long process of saving the planet. Data clearly shows that if we continue to make the wrong decisions and persist in our ignorance, global warming will eventually take its toll and natural disasters will continue to take place at an alarming rate. By choosing to live responsibly we are choosing to help our planet prevent floods, fatal pollution, fires, and other calamities that will most certainly take place if we don’t. This reason basically sums up all reasons, as it covers the long term effects and the big picture when it comes to saving power and acting against global warming.
Encourage Better Health (Physical & Mental)
One of the most important reasons to start saving energy is for our general well-being, both on an individual level and on a global scale. The steps that we take or we do not take to preserve our natural resources and save power are strictly connected to our health, not only from a physical point of view, but also from a mental one. Saving power can reduce stress levels by not having to pay large amounts of money on electricity bills, while choosing to live through environmentally responsible decisions (like promoting the local economy instead of corporations) greatly aids in maintaining mental health.
A highly significant reason for us to take power efficiency more seriously is the impact it can have on our budgets. By saving power we are not only carrying out a good deed towards the environment and our planet, but we are also making a wide decision for our households and finances. Waste of energy leads to considerably more expensive utility bills; why should you pay more for utilities that you don’t need to use as often, when you can pay less and help save the planet? There are quite a few ways in which you can save on your bills through power efficiency, which we will speak more about in our guide below.
If you choose to be friendly to the environment, you will be able to enjoy the benefits of self-sufficiency. If you are like most of the world’s population at the moment, you depend on companies to provide you with access to natural resources, like water or electricity. If you decide to be self-sufficient through various actions, you won’t have to depend on a giant company to provide for your needs. There are many ways in which you can adopt a self-sufficient lifestyle; one of the most popular and efficient ways to do is to install solar panels. It might require a short-term investment, but the long-term results in relation to your typical electricity provider and the impact on the planet will be greater than you can imagine.
Increase Home Value
The good news is that homes designed with the environment in mind are becoming ever more valuable on the market. As individuals from around the world have become more aware of the threats to the environment and of global warming, the demand for eco-friendly homes has experienced a considerable increase. If you decide to equip your home with the necessary features and facilities to save energy, you are increasing the value of your home on a long-term period. This is great news for those who want to invest in their homes either for selling them at one point or for creating a safe and responsible environment for their family.
Save Power For Both Home & Business Dwellings
Now that we know the basics of the importance regarding power efficiency, we would like to present a series of ways in which you can start saving power right now, no matter if you want to start with your home or your office. The options described below are just a few of the solutions for saving power; you can always do additional research to see how you can improve your lifestyle and the quality of your home.
Using a Power Generator
As far as self-sufficiency is concerned, using a power generator is a great alternative to traditional sources of electricity. Thanks to the development of technology and scientific research, we now have access to generators that run on solar power or even by bike pedaling. You can choose to purchase solar power generators, but it will most likely involve a considerable investment. If you are on a tight budget, you can always choose to make your own solar power generator as a do-it-yourself project. The materials you require will cost you up to $300, which might seem like a large amount at first, but it will save you a lot of money and energy in the long run.
Other Power Sharing Devices
Power Generators are not the only devices you can use to save energy; there are a wide range of tools that you can incorporate into your house or your office to start becoming power-efficient. While some of these devices might be a bit costly, others are highly accessible and can be bought at any time. Take a look at a few suggestions below:
We all know that maintaining proper hygiene is essential for our health, but are we truly aware of how important water consumption is for the environment? We waste so much water on long baths and long showers instead of doing ourselves and the environment a favour by saving it. Nowadays, you have numerous high-efficiency showerheads that you can purchase and mount in the bathrooms of your home or of your office. These showerheads are defined through high-efficiency because they succeed in offering precisely the right amount of water you need to take a normal shower, without wasting more water than necessary.
Just like solar power generators, other solar-powered devices can help you save on your electricity bill and contribute to saving the planet by using the energy from the sun to power your home. The list of products that can be powered by sunlight is endless, including items that can be powered directly from exposure to sunlight or through solar panels. Solar chargers, solar air conditioning, solar furnaces, solar lamps, solar cars, and solar refrigerators are just a few of the many options you have at hand if you want to look into solar-powered devices.
Hi-tech thermostats, also referred to as smart thermostats, are yet another fantastic result of the evolution of technology that can help you save energy and generally be power efficient. Generally speaking, they work by identifying the consumption patterns of your family members (for air conditioning and heating) and allowing you to save energy based on your regular uses. Smart thermostats are generally priced from 200 dollars and up, which might be costly for some households. However, an article in Forbes explains that up to 40% of your total energy bill comes from cooling and heating activity, so a smart thermostat is well worth the money if you view it as a long term investment.
Energy Management Systems
Technology advancements have also provided us with the power to manage our homes entirely through a smartphone or a remote. What we commonly regard as ‘smart houses’ work with energy management systems that offer full control of energy consumption from the tips of your fingers. Energy management systems include heating, cooling, security, appliances and lights, among many other features that are essential for any household. You can expect that an energy management system will be expensive, but just like in the case of smart thermostats and other hi-tech power saving devices, it will save you money in the long run.
While these are not literally power saving devices, LED bulbs are probably the most accessible way in which you can save energy and be power efficient. You can find LED bulbs at most major stores and they don’t cost nearly as much as many other power saving devices. Compact fluorescent and halogen bulbs are also popular alternatives for traditional, energy-wasting lightbulbs, but some avoid using them due to inefficiency or safety reasons. So, what makes LEDs so desirable as environmentally-friendly bulbs? To put it simply, LEDs can provide the ‘best’ light for the smallest investment.
Phantom Energy Tools
Phantom energy or phantom power is a common phenomenon in most households and offices all across the world. Phantom energy is the result of leaving electronics, appliances and other devices or machines plugged in even when they are not in use. This leads to a significant waste of energy and more money to pay when your electricity bill comes in the mail. Thankfully, there are ways in which we can combat phantom power, with the help of some useful devices:
Smart Power Strips – these products were designed to save you time (and money and energy, of course) on unplugging all of the devices in your home when not in use.
Charging Stations – these are also a popular choice for cutting off phantom energy leaks from smartphones and other gadgets. They will instantly switch off when your gadget is completely powered, or after a particular timeframe (usually enough to charge your gadget fully).
Power Efficiency Tips and Tricks
Even if you don’t have the necessary budget prepared to start investing in power saving devices, you can simply start your power efficiency plan by paying more attention to your consumption of energy. For example, one of the simplest ways to get started is just by remembering to switch off electronics, appliances and anything else when not in use. Why would you want to spend more money on your bills and harm the environment when you are not even using the specific source? All you have to do is shut off your electronics and appliances when you don’t need to use them or when you leave the room.
Another effect of global warming is radical temperature change. Some winters have become so brutal that we can barely stand them, while summers can get so scorching that it is not safe to leave the house. However, we can do our part by saving energy through managing the temperature in our houses or offices. If it’s hot outside, don’t rush to turn on the air conditioner; consider removing any excess clothing you might have beforehand. The situation is similar for heating; instead of wasting energy by turning up the heaters in your house, simply put on more layers of clothing to keep warm.
Just like switching off, unplugging is essential for saving energy. Like we previously explained, phantom energy is caused by leaving appliances and electronics plugged in even when they are not in use. It leads to paying more for energy and hurting the environment at the same time. What we can do to make a difference is to unplug devices when we do not use them. If you have electronics or appliances with power cords in hard to reach places, you can always invest in a charging station or a power strip to cut off phantom energy.
One of the greatest wastes of energy that we produce is by forgetting to shut off lights when we leave rooms. If we were to switch off the light in a specific room of our house or office every time we leave it, we would save a great deal of energy that always goes to waste. If you have problems with creating this habit and remembering to turn off your lights, you can always stick a post-it note near the light switches of your room with a friendly reminder.
It is highly indicated that you start measuring how much electricity you use so you know how to control your consumption. You can do this with the help of a device known as an electricity monitor meter, which will tell you how much power all of the devices in your house uses to function. This is a minor investment (with electricity monitor meters as inexpensive as 20 dollars) that will go a long way in saving you from energy waste.
Manage Appliances & Electronics
The Natural Resources Defense Council offers a long list of ways in which you can manage the electronics or appliances in your house wisely to save energy. Refrigerators, dishwashers, dryers, ovens, washing machines, televisions, or video game consoles can all be used in a power efficient way through simple maintenance or by tweaking a few settings.
Power Management During a Black Out
We don’t enjoy them and they certainly pose a danger if not handled properly, but black outs are inevitable at one point or another. Instead of panicking, take these guidelines into consideration if you experience a black out in your home or office:
Do Not Heat
It is highly recommended that you do not attempt at producing any type of heat during a black out to stay safe. This means that you should not use gas or charcoal throughout a blackout indoors, as both of them can lead to disastrous situations for your home. Ready, an official website of the Department of Homeland Security, suggests that you seek shelter with a friend or a family member in case of a prolonged black out. In addition to this, they also recommend that you wear layers of warm clothing if it becomes cold in your house or office due to lack of heat.
You might be tempted to use candles to light up your office or house if the power’s out, but specialists recommend that you avoid doing so. One of the best and safest alternatives is to use battery powered flashlights to look around. Candles increase the risk of sparking a fire, especially in a location that has no light for you to see where you are heading. If you do not have any flashlights at hand and you need to move around with the help of candlelight, make sure that you take extra caution.
Unplug & Switch Off
One of the first reflexes that you should have in case of a black out is to unplug and switch off all the appliances, electronics and lights in your house. If they continue to be turned on or plugged in, you might experience a power surge when the blackout is over. Another precaution you can take is to add surge protectors to your home.
Small Long Term Changes for Better Power Efficiency
In the end, the difference really is in the details. Even though general tips for saving energy might not seem like much at first, they have an incredible impact as long term changes for enhanced power efficiency. Take these changes into consideration, both for your home and your office:
Control Water Consumption
Special attention should always be paid to water consumption and the amount we waste on daily tasks. This is why we previously spoke about useful products like energy saving showerheads that will help you control the amount of water you use while in the bathroom. You can also save water by opting for shorter showers instead of long ones or taking baths. If you wash your dishes with the help of a dishwasher, only do full loads as to save the water and electricity consumed in the process. Also, we strongly recommend that you try to wash only full loads of clothes at a time, for the same reason.
Consider Alternative Transportation
No matter how comfortable driving in a personal vehicle to get from place to place might be, there are numerous alternative means of transportation that will help protect the environment. In this regard, the best and least expensive solution is simply to walk, but we know it cannot be suitable for all distances. Nevertheless, we recommend walking whenever you have the chance, as it will also increase your overall health. You can choose bicycles, rollerblades or skateboards for shorter distances or travel by train instead of airplane for longer distances. If you have no alternative and you need to travel by car, you can consider carpooling with friends or family members to save energy and money at the same time.
Seal Air Leaks
Air leaks can be found all around our houses and are one of the main causes of wasting energy. This begins from closing the doors and the windows of your house or office when cooling or heating it and continues with the edges of walls and floors. If you need specific tips on sealing certain air leaks in your house, you can take a look at the full list of tips provided by the United States Department of Energy here.
Last but not least, a step as simple as changing the lightbulbs in your house can go a long way. LEDs, which stand for light emitting diodes, are one of the most popular choices for environmentally-friendly lightbulbs that are on the market. LED bulbs present a large range of advantages, from being highly inexpensive to offering the ‘brightest’ light out of all new types of lightbulbs. You can also consider halogen or compact fluorescent bulbs, but some individuals are against them because of the potential safety threats they impose and for not being as bright as LEDs.