The recession has turned more and more people into penny-pinchers. Preserving energy and reducing energy-use can not only save people money, it can also save the environment.
Environmental science professor Von Jolley advised students to consider how much energy daily actions require.
“Think before you act,” Jolley said. “Remember when we eat something or put clothing on or build a roof — all these things require energy. We have to realize that everything we’re doing uses energy. Just heating up a can of corn over the stove uses more energy than we think. It takes energy to produce, harvest, transport, can and cook the corn.”
Jolley said the environment can be preserved if people are willing to make sacrifices. He recommended altering transportation habits by using bikes and motorcycles to save energy.
Another environmental science professor, Bryan Hopkins, concurred.
[easyembed field=”Vimeo”] “The biggest energy consumption of students is probably from heaters and air conditioners,” he said. “Anything students can do to maintain energy-efficient walls and products would help.”
It is easy to take electricity for granted by simply not recognizing usage.
Natalie Zandt, a research assistant focusing on energy efficiency for ICF International, said, “I’ve learned a lot about how energy is typically used in the home. It’s crazy – consumer electronics like your iPod, computer, etc. now account for about 13 percent of the average household’s total energy consumption.”
Zandt gave several recommendations on how to go green. Ideas included buying a dryer rack for clothes, replacing light bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps and using reusable bags and bottles.
“I recommend students start by just becoming more interested in the topic of energy, and begin dissecting and managing their own energy usage,” Zandt said. “Electricity doesn’t just come from the wall or the outlet. Every time you use an appliance, flip a switch, turn the heater on, you are in effect burning coal — most likely since about 80 percent of our electricity still comes from coal. We are far removed from the entire process, so just becoming more aware is the first step.”
[pullquote]”Electricity doesn’t just come from the wall or the outlet. Every time you use an appliance, flip a switch, turn the heater on, you are in effect burning coal…”[/pullquote]
Hopkins also recommended buying energy-efficient machines when a new appliance is needed.
“Although they are usually more expensive to purchase, they end up saving you money in the long run,” he said.
While there are many methods to conserve the environment, Hopkins said some are more efficient than others.
Soil is a tremendously efficient controller of energy, Hopkins said. Geothermal energy is the process of soil collecting solar energy and transmitting it to water. Then, an exchanger pulls the energy out of it.
Hopkins said geothermal energy is not expensive, especially compared to solar energy.
Another common misconception is that electric cars are energy efficient. Hopkins disagrees.
“Electric cars do not make sense because the vast majority of electricity in the U.S. is made by burning coal which depletes fossil fuels, which is what we are trying to conserve,” he said.