The conversation to do more to take care of the planet is growing louder each day. With more authorities investing in green cities, and governments introducing incentives designed to encourage consumers to practice sustainable habits, everyone is trying to do their part. One of the most talked-about benefits of adopting eco-friendly habits at home and work is improved energy efficiency. Most consumers adopt energy efficiency habits to save on their utility bills and reduce costs. However, energy efficiency practices also come with positive environmental impacts – proving the link between eco-friendliness and energy efficiency. According to estimates from EnergySage, almost 69 percent of residential emissions in 2016 were from electricity use. The other 32 percent stemmed from direct fossil fuels used in home heating. With such a large chunk of emissions coming from the electricity usage of households, it is clear that being eco-friendly also means being energy efficient – both at home and at work.
Replace Bulbs With CFL Bulbs For Reduced Mercury And GHG Emissions
LED and CFL bulbs can save a lot of energy when compared to traditional incandescent bulbs. Since 2014, federal regulations and authorities have been encouraging consumers to switch their bulbs to more energy-efficient alternatives. According to EnergySage, Energy Star CFL bulbs can reduce your electricity usage by 75 percent. Replacing one bulb in every household with a CFL bulb would not only help your household use less power, but would also reduce emissions equivalent to removing 800,000 cars from the road for a year. LED bulbs, meanwhile, use six times less power than incandescent bulbs: another efficient way to reduce your energy usage.
What’s even more interesting about CFL bulbs is that they contain 4 milligrams of mercury compared to the 500 milligrams found in traditional incandescent bulbs. Mercury is highly toxic, and can easily contaminate wildlife and seafood. While mercury is bad for the environment, energy-saving light bulbs contain much lower amounts, and are only harmful if smashed. Finally, CFL bulbs can use much less energy, which reduces the release of greenhouse gas emissions – as much as 400 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions over a CFL’s lifetime.
Energy Efficiency Savings Can Be Redirected To Renewable Energy Switches
Reduced business and home wastage translate into cost savings for both businesses and consumers. For instance, the ENERGY STAR program saved the economy over $31 billion in energy bills for 2014 – or $4.50 per dollar spent on energy per household. It also reduced the annual GHG emissions in 38 million homes.
The Department of Energy also estimates that an energy-efficient household can save up to 25 percent on their utility bills, or $2,200 annually. These savings can then be redirected into long-term eco-friendly and energy-efficient measures like investing in solar panels for a business or home. While the price of solar panels is declining, the high initial costs remain a roadblock for many consumers who want to switch to renewable energy but cannot afford the price tag.
Reducing Your Household’s Energy Usage Reduces Company And Personal Emissions
The major sources of greenhouse gas emissions today are household activities like travel in gas-powered vehicles or powering homes using natural gases like coal or oil. With consumers and businesses being the single largest contributor of carbon emissions across the globe, reducing your carbon footprint goes hand in hand with fighting climate change and cutting energy use. For instance, swapping from natural to renewable energy sources cuts your carbon emissions while reducing your energy usage. Similarly, going carless for a year saves 2.6 tons of carbon dioxide, and also reduces city emissions.
In the end, reducing your energy usages goes hand in hand with leading a more sustainable life. While there are many non-energy-related ways to be sustainable, the link between the two stems from one driving the development of the other. Reduce energy consumption, and you are well on your way to achieving sustainability goals.