There are two ways to conserve energy; one is by using energy-efficient technologies and the other is by changing our habits. Individual efforts combined with governmental support will assist in decreasing energy usage which will in turn create a better environment for everyone. According to the EIA, the U. S energy consumption is 100 quadrillion btu/year and is projected to rise by 37 percent within the next 20 years. The U. S is also currently building 151 coal-fired electrical generating plants in order to keep up with the current demand (Holness, 2008).
In 2003, 422 quads of energy were used in the world and 92 quads within the U. S alone. According to the report “Cutting Global Energy Demand Growth,” it is predicted that in the year 2020, the world will be at 613 quads. This report also states that by becoming energy efficient we can reduce this number to 478 quads in 2020 (Schirber, 2008). Some nonliving factors that contribute to energy consumption are the sun and the earth’s atmosphere. The sun produces large amounts of heat which creates heat. Humans tend to elude the heat by turning up their air conditioners.
This increases energy use. Energy emissions that are released into the earth’s atmosphere can cause major health problems to humans and are very harmful to animals and plants. Living factors that contribute to energy consumption are plants and animals. If plants are affected by high energy consumption, than it will create a problem for the animals, which will then create a problem for the humans. The whole food chain could be distorted. Humans are the main living factor that contributes to energy consumption. We are dependent upon certain items such as fossil fuels for heat and energy.
This is affecting our atmosphere causing problems for all types of living organisms. The greatest positive impact that energy conservation has is that natural resources will still be around for future generations if we start conserving now. Energy conservation will also have positive effects on our environment. It will also prevent health problems associated with burning fossil fuels and coal needed for energy. Humans also have a negative impact on energy usage. Most people do not realize the amount of energy they waste in any given day.
Simple steps such as fixing lighting structures, planting trees around your house, and by driving less will help curve the energy abuse. All of these are very important steps in energy conservation. Leaving lights on when not in use is a negative impact on energy consumption. According to Laird (2009), people from all different occupations have been trying to find a way to better use our resources. For 20 years, our nation has been trying to come up with a plan to reach sustainability. The government is only a part of the equation. Everyone including innovators, government, firms, and nonprofit organizations need to come together.
Simply put, they are not doing enough to make sure that energy sustainability is feasible for average consumers. Laird states that they need to create policies that are flexible and create institutions that can learn and change from mistakes. According to Laird (2009), “The level of funding, public and private, for renewable energy R&D is abysmally low, when seen in the context of the size of the energy market. ” One of the most recent programs, Cash for Clunkers, was initiated by the government to assist individuals in buying more energy efficient vehicles.
According to CARS (2009) over 700,000 clunkers were traded in for more fuel efficient vehicles in less than 30 days. My sustainability plan will primarily focus on citizens and what they can do to help conserve energy. I believe that in order to reduce energy consumption, we first need to start at the bottom which is in your homes. My plan will include researching the affects of energy abuse, educating citizens on how to conserve energy, plan meetings to distribute literature, and last but not least, showing citizens how they can help our environment and save them money as well.
The first step in my sustainability plan is to do research to find out what basic steps can be taken at the consumer level to conserve energy. In the first two months I will gather all of the data necessary to present to citizens on how to conserve energy. In month two I will do informational surveys to see how many citizens are aware of the energy problem. This survey will also help me see how many people already are conserving energy in particular areas so that I can focus on areas that need more assistance.
In month 3, I will than present the information to the citizens at a meeting. I will show them the following chart so that they can see how energy is consumed in the typical household. This chart will also assist me in showing residents where they can start making a difference at. This will show them areas they need to concentrate on in order to conserve energy and save them money. EIA. (2005). U. S household electricity report. Retrieved November 3, 2009, from www. eia. doe. gov I would make it imperative to the citizens to follow some basic guidelines in order to conserve energy.
Some examples would be to use less wattage bulbs or even switch to fluorescent light bulbs that last ten times longer than other bulbs. Make sure you turn off lights when leaving a room. To cut energy on heating, residents can close curtains, lower thermostats, and seal out drafts. Some ways to conserve in the kitchen is to use adequate size pots and pans and turn down the flame if it is visible. Try not to preheat and use microwaves when feasible. If you have older appliances, replace them with newer, energy efficient appliances. Hang dry clothes when the weather permits.
Other areas that you can improve energy consumption in are by lowering air conditioner temperatures. If you plant trees outside your home, it will create shade, making the temperature in your house cooler. I would end this meeting letting citizens know that they can always call their utility companies to come and do a home audit to show you how you can conserve energy. My final part of my plan would be to assist anyone who needed personal assistance with energy saving techniques. In this last month I would go to homes to see that they are doing their part in making sure they are conserving energy.
If they needed help or additional information I would make that available to them. The biggest challenge in my plan is to show how purchasing these energy saving technologies is cost efficient to the buyers. Some people look at the initial cost and think that it is too high and don’t want to do anything about it. I would have to argue that some of the techniques are free and only require determination. Another challenge is gaining interest. I have to make sure that I get everyone involved. My goal would be to get one community started and then work on another community.
I would need advocates to speak on behalf of energy conservation. The more people involved and committed to the plan, the better it will work. Benefits of my plan are obvious. We will not only be saving ourselves some money in the long run, but we will also be helping the environment out in a major way. We need to save our resources so that we have enough to last us a life time. Not to mention, we will be cutting down on pollution which is another environmental problem. In order to make a difference in our communities, we need support from not only the residents, but from the government as well.
The government needs to step up and start mandating that certain codes are in effect on buildings. One successful program available to consumers and business is the ENERGY STAR Program. This program enables Americans to purchase products that saves them money and helps the environment. “ In 2008, Americans with the help of ENERGY STAR, saved enough energy in 2008 alone to avoid greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 29 million cars — all while saving $19 billion on their utility bills” (ENERGY STAR, n. d. ). ENERGY STAR is a program of the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U. S. Department of Energy.
Their mission is to help us all save money and protect the environment by offering energy efficient products. More programs such as this need to be implemented in order to achieve our goal. We need to conserve energy to save money, especially in a struggling economy. The best part about doing this is that we are also doing something for our environment. Implementing plans to lower energy consumption is a difficult task, but not a task that is unachievable. Our nation cannot afford to waste natural resources that are rapidly diminishing. We need to change our way of life to conserve what the Earth has given us.
Our Earth can no longer tolerate the misuse of energy if we want it to be around for many generations to come. Energy conservation is essential due to the limited supply of natural resources. Jenny Powers of NRDC states “The cheapest, cleanest energy is the energy you don’t use. ” Let’s help break the cycle. As citizens we need to do our part by embracing an energy-efficient lifestyle and slow down our demand for more electricity.
CARS. (2009). Cars allowance rebate system. Retrieved November 3, 2009, from www. cars. gov ENERGY STAR. (n. d. ). About ENERGY STAR. Retrieved November 3, 20009, from www. energystar. gov
Holness, Gordon V. (2008). Improving Energy Efficiency in Existing Buildings. ASHRAE Journal, 50(1), 12-14, 17-18, 20, 23-24, 26. Retrieved November 1, 2009, from ProQuest Education Journals. (Document ID: 1415301201).
Laird, F. (2009) A Full-Court Press for Renewable Energy, Issues in science and Technology, 25 (2), 53-56. Retrieved October 30, 2009, from MasterFILE Premier Database.
EBSCO Schirber, Michael. (2008). Whatever happened to energy conservation? Live Science. Retrieved November 1, 2009, from www. livescience. com