Sometimes the changes in our global climate seem like so large of a problem that it can be hard to imagine how one individual, family, or community can make a difference. Do not be discouraged! There are actions that you can take this month in your home, apartment and office that can make an impact.
“How?” you ask…
Through improvements in energy efficiency!
Before we dig into some action ideas, take a look at some of the points from the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2009 report Buildings and their Impact on the Environment: A Statistical Summary:
- + Buildings in the United States contribute 38.9 percent of the nation’s total carbon dioxide emissions, including 20.8 percent from the residential sector and 18.0 percent from the commercial sector (2008).
- + Buildings accounted for 72 percent of total U.S. electricity consumption in 2006…
- + The annual mean air temperature of a city with 1 million people or more can be 1.8–5.4°F (1–3°C) warmer than its surroundings. In the evening, the difference can be as high as 22°F (12°C)… One study estimates that the heat island effect is responsible for 5–10% of peak electricity demand for cooling buildings in cities.
(Italics are ours, not the EPA’s)
As illustrated above, buildings (both residential and commercial) contribute greatly to energy use and carbon dioxide emissions which contribute, in turn, to climate change. Therefore, increasing the efficiency of our buildings should help slow the changes we’re seeing. Anyone who lives and or works in a building (i.e.: most Americans) has a place where they can (through direct action or influence) make a difference. Actions taken to conserve energy in our built environment have the dual benefits of fighting climate change and saving you (or your landlord, or your company) money on the electric bill.
Not sure where to start? Here are some ideas both big and small:
|Caulk The Cracks: Sometimes even the smallest gaps can make a big difference. Running a bead of caulk around window and door frames helps stop drafts and save energy.||Cover the Fan: If small cracks make a difference, imagine what a 10″ hole can do! Stop unwanted energy loss through your exhaust fans. These magnetic covers are easy to put on and take off as needed.
||Seal the Pulleys: Permanently stop cold drafts infiltrating your house through the pulley assemblies inside your casement window frames with easy to install Pulley Seals.|
|Paint the Roof White: The heat island effect of cities can be greatly reduced by painting roofs white – this reflects the sun’s rays rather than absorbing them so buildings stay cooler.||Get Double Pane Performance:
Indow Windows interior inserts give you energy saving performance equivalent to replacement windows without the cost, hassle and waste of replacement and allow you to keep the charm of your originals.
|Blow in Some Insulation: With cellulose insulation, you can add significant R-value to your walls without taking the house apart!|
Still more ideas…
1. Pipe insulation, shown above, keeps pipes from freezing, sweating, and losing heat.
2. Switch and outlet gaskets prevent drafts through places we might not consider particularly drafty, but are a source of energy loss.
3. Xtra-Foam seal drafty windows, doors, and leaks with this low expanding, multipurpose foam.
4. Air conditioner weatherseals seal the gaps around air conditioners and in windows
5. Indoor window insulating kits seal windows airtight.
6. Water heater insulation jackets make home water heaters more efficient. Handheld adhesive foam prevents leaks around doors and windows.
7. Bonded Logic Ultratouch Mini Rolls help to seal known gaps in insulation, reducing noise and energy loss.
8: Air conditioner covers prevent winter air from entering through a window unit air conditioner.