Let’s be honest! Most of us don’t care about climate change. Yes, I said it. We haven’t met many polar bears until now and warmer weather is very welcome.
Now you can plan a summer vacation for spring even in case you don’t want to fly south. Also
who are all these people suffering from droughts, floods or hunger in general?
The numbers are daunting but abstract because we don’t know them as individuals. We rather stick to what we see and who we know.
We are busy enough caring for our families or looking into our smartphones.
There surely is an app for fighting climate change isn’t it? What can I do? I can’t make any difference anyway!
It’s about money isn’t it?
The one thing we all care for is money. That’s why saving refugees is such a big deal while rescuing banks was an overnight concerted effort we will still pay for 500 years from now.
Are you outraged already? No? Do you agree with my cynical introduction? Then I will show how you can save money below.
This post is also for all the others who haven’t given up on this world yet.
- Do you want your kids and grandkids to live in an intact environment?
- Do you want people all over the world to have access to clean water and fresh air?
- Do you prefer an earth that can feed humanity without being turned into wasteland?
It’s also about saving the planet as a whole. When we wreck the planet we actually commit collective suicide.
“I can’t afford to make a difference!”
Many people simply assume that they can’t afford to make a difference. They don’t have the money to buy an electric car from Tesla, let alone insure it.
They can’t buy a shiny plus-energy home to power their EV either. In many cases average people can’t even buy solar panels or new windows.
Even LED bulbs are still considered expensive by mere mortals.
I know, I’ve been there. Being broke is no excuse though. You can actually save money and the planet at once. To prove this I asked some experts from both the green blogosphere and energy professionals to contribute the easiest ways to save energy.
These are low cost and easy to implement changes that have an impact in your pocket and also on your carbon footprint. In plain English: you can save money by limiting the pollution you are responsible for.
Here are the easiest ways to save both energy and money actually as suggested by some people who really care: I asked both environmental bloggers, representatives of energy providers and energy efficiency consultants. I even reached out to some government officials an politicians from the UK.
install a programmable thermostat
“Heating and cooling represent the biggest chunk of your energy use (and spending); reductions there will give you the biggest bang for your buck. Want to make this super easy, with literally no impact on your comfort?
Simple: install a programmable thermostat, and then program it to raise/lower the temperature while you’re out during the day. Set that temperature back by 7-10 degrees, save up to 10%… and never even notice the difference!”
— Jeff McIntire-Strasburg, Founder and Editor, sustainablog
turn the brightness down on your TV
“One of the easiest ways to save energy is to turn the brightness down on your TV. I’ve written a post about it here – you can save up to £96 a year just by pressing a few buttons on your TV. Simple, cheap and money saving!”
Wendy, Blogger at Moral Fibres
make sure all energy consuming equipment is switched off
“The quickest and simplest way to save energy is to cut out obvious energy wastage. This can be as straightforward as making sure all energy consuming equipment is switched off when it is not needed and it is safe to do so i.e. lights when you leave the room or production machines in a factory.
understand what you use energy for
“The easiest way to save energy is to start by understanding what you use energy for,
- how much you use
- when you use it
- combined with how much you spend.
Domestically, if you do not have a smart meter consider having an energy monitor. Identify your major energy uses and start with them.
You may have some idea from the plug load of the item – e.g.
- a kettle at 3kW
- a microwave at 700W
- a TV at 65W.
But power demand alone is not enough, you need to know how long it is on for. For example, your fridge has a lower plug load than a kettle, but is switched on 24 x 7 so it can be using energy at any time.”
flick the off button and insulate
From a business perspective the simplest way to save energy and money immediately is to flick the off button! How? Through a shutdown policy, staff should be responsible for turning off equipment before they leave and the building manager (or last person to leave) does a final shutdown of all lighting and equipment.
Small power (through our power sockets) can equate to around 20% of energy use and lighting can equate to around 40% of energy use for a standard office. Longer term and for the big energy savings a building control system, which will automatically manage the building can pay for it self many times over with the savings its makes. All simply by not using energy when, well you don’t need to!
At home, its a lot about keeping you comfy, cosy and warm or cool in your nest. So insulation is a super quick and cost effective way of keeping your heating and cooling energy demand down and your comfort up! Being conscious of everything you turn on is a great way of realising your energy use, and making small wins here and there; charging your phone in your car for example!
insulate, control room temperatures and use LED lights
Simple energy efficiency measures in the household can save the bill payer hundreds of pounds a year and make a good contribution to reducing global warming.
(…) insulate your current home properly using thick loft insulation and cavity wall or panel insulation materials (which can be used internally and externally). Target the coldest and most-exposed walls first and make sure you replace windows and doors with A-rated versions when the time comes.
(…) Adding thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) will help you control individual room temperatures more effectively and reduce heating bills. Remember that these should be set to the desired temperature (often on a scale of 1 to 5) and then left to self-regulate – not used as an on off switch!
Lighting is another area where energy can be easily saved. LED replacement lights are now really affordable and far better than the previous generation of energy saving lights, coming on instantly and being dimmable. (…)
wear warm clothes
The only low cost AND simple tip is to wear warm clothes in winter. Not being facetious – it’s just genuinely the best way to save energy and money.
What else can you do? Here are some additional ideas that go beyond saving energy and money to actually save the world from climate change and environmental destruction in general.
These ideas can help you to save the world first and actually save money and energy while at it. I have researched them myself or simply came across them while perusing the Web.
“A global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the world from hunger, fuel poverty and the worst impacts of climate change”, a UN report says.
It’s not only that eating less animal products will actually save energy from large-scale farming to provide fodder for animals and often transporting meat overseas.
You also save money when you eat a healthy vegetable and fruit rich diet. Not to mention the savings on medical expenses and even on gym memberships and fancy diets because
the low fat – because meat and diary free – nutrition doesn’t lead to obesity in the first place.
Of course you don’t need to become a radical vegan over night. In recent years I advanced towards the goal of becoming a vegetarian by replacing more and more animal products with plant based foods. Becoming a vegan within a decade is also an ambitious but manageable goal. To save the planet go vegan in the long run.
Most people don’t like work. It’s not that they are lazy, it’s just that most work you get paid for is tedious, boring and rarely about what people really enjoy. Convincing people that they should work less to save energy can interrupt the vicious cycle or working more to spending more and wasting more.
When you think about it you don’t need all that redundant stuff. It’s really cluttering your closet or whole home.
Your whole life becomes literally stuffed. You work more to buy more useless stuff you don’t even use in most cases. Limiting the number of items you own or even the activities you feel forced to take part in during the rare spare time you have left can save both money and energy on a personal and global level. Working fewer hours and relaxing longer instead is a good start.
A plant based diet is already a good start but not harming animals yourself is one thing while preventing others from doing so or even actively protecting animals is another. Look out for animals in their habitats.
I’m not talking about flying to Asia to ride elephants – you can actively help birds, bees or even wild animals otters to keep the natural balance.
Wide spread use of pesticides kills bees as science has proven. Birds need trees even more than we do.
Even wild animals you rarely consider as beneficial like otters help to offset carbon dioxide a study shows. In case you have a garden or even a balcony you can support your local bird and even bee population. Those living in rural areas can have an even strong positive impact.
Get more in-depth advice
As some of the experts had suggested ways they explained in-depth I decided to publish them as whole articles alias guest postings so that we don’t have to squeeze them in here and make this group interview unreadable because of sheer size.
Of course you are also welcome to ask them yourself, especially the energy consultants among them.
Sadly many of the high-profile green activists and bloggers along with the energy industry representatives I contacted were not willing to speak with me.
Many of them were even too busy to say “no” despite the fact that I asked them separately on Twitter whether they’ve received my messages. Thus I provided the last three ideas myself from what I’ve read online recently.
It seems that for some a-list bloggers complaining about some obnoxious presidential candidate or reporting about the latest doom and gloom news is more important than hands-on actionable advice on how to actually tackle climate change at home or work. Who can blame them?
Not getting affected by the overwhelming media negativity is really difficult.
Apparently energy executives earning money from people wasting electricity left and right aren’t eager to limit power consumption either. That’s truly sad.
I may of course jump to conclusions here. In case you are willing to share your advice here please add it the comments or send it by mail so that it can be added to the actual post!
The more ideas we have the better! I can’t believe we have covered them all already. The easier and the more low budget the energy efficiency technique is the more I’d like to see it featured here!