Add Energy Efficiency to Your New Year's Resolutions
Happy New Year! Here at the Alliance to Save Energy we’re thinking about energy efficiency 24/7. So we put together a list of some of the most common New Year’s resolutions, and revamped them with an energy-efficient spin.
Not only will these resolutions help you save energy and money in 2014, but many of them are so easy to adopt that we’re willing to bet you’ll still be following them come February.
Lose Weight & Get Fit
This is one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions of all time, as anyone who has ever been to the gym in January is well aware. Your best bet for saving energy, of course, is to run, bike, or walk outside.
But when bad weather and short days bring you inside for your workout consider staying off of the treadmill. The average treadmill uses between 600 and 700 watts of energy, which is the equivalent of leaving 50 CFL light bulbs on for your entire workout. And aging treadmills can consume 30 percent more energy than brand new machines. You can maintain your treadmill’s efficiency, however, by vacuuming around it and cleaning out the area between the belt and the deck.
Elliptical machines and stationary bikes are generally a much more energy-efficient choice; many are completely self-powered, and even machines at maximum resistance use six to seven times less energy than treadmills.
Try reading a few of the Alliance’s top energy efficiency book picks, below! These books will teach you something new and are sure to be more intellectually stimulating than 50 Shades of Grey.
- Lean and Clean Management: How to Boost Profits and Productivity by Reducing Pollution by Joe Romm
- The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money & Power by Daniel Yergin
- Green Gold: Japan, Germany, the United States, and the Race for Environmental Technology by Curtis Moore and Alan Miller
- For the Common Good: Redirecting the Economy toward Community, the Environment, and a Sustainable Future by Herman Daly and John Cobb, Jr.
- A Time to Choose: America’s Energy Future by the Energy Policy Project of the Ford Foundation
- Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered by E.F. Schumacher
Whether you are planning a trip overseas or just a few hours north, there are a number of ways to save both energy and money on your travels.
If you are taking a road trip, be sure to read our tips on proper vehicle maintenance and smart driving. And get your car inspected before you go on any long drives; fixing a serious maintenance problem, such as a faulty oxygen sensor, can improve your gas mileage by up to 40% and help you save more than $1300 a year.
If you are taking a longer trip, consider taking a bus or a train instead of flying, as these modes of transportation are generally more energy-efficient. If you do fly, check out the International Council on Clean Transportation’s rankings of the most fuel efficient airlines before you book your ticket, and learn more about the energy-efficient practices U.S. airports are implementing.
Complete a DIY Project at Home
There are lots of ways to channel your inner Tim Allen and reduce your energy bills all at the same time:
- Seal your home’s air leaks: Caulking and weatherstripping provide fast ROIs, often in one year or less.
- Add insulation to your home: You can reduce your energy bills and improve the comfort of your home by adding more insulation, even if you live in a newer house. Get your home inspected by a qualified home energy auditor to find out where and how to install insulation.
- Install and set a programmable thermostat: Programmable thermostats can help most households save money on their utility bills without sacrificing comfort.
- Put in energy saving window treatments: Storm panels, window shutters, or blinds are inexpensive ways to save energy in your home. Be sure to consider the climate you live in to select the best window treatment option.
Become More Politically Active
Whether you are a Democrat, a Republican, or somewhere in-between, advocating for energy efficiency policies is a great way to become more politically active and help your community. And for those who are wary of “political” issues, energy efficiency is both impactful and non-controversial—when’s the last time you heard people arguing about saving energy at a dinner party?
It’s easy to take action and promote policies that will save everyone money, improve our national security, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Last but certainly not least, implementing these efficiency resolutions will help you save money. Energy efficiency has a huge untapped potential: if the U.S. doubled its energy productivity by 2030, as the recommended in the Energy 2030 plan and endorsed by President Obama, America could save $327 billion a year by 2030. That translates to $1,039 a year for each household…which would be enough to pay off all existing American household credit card debt!
Here’s to 2014 being the most energy-efficient year yet!