A blog post at Clean Technica says the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory conducted research which found 61% of all energy that moves through the American economy gets wasted. And, it also continues to argue that some experts believe the true energy efficiency of our economy is around 14%. If all that’s not enough to get your attention, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory found waste was at an all-time high in 2012.
Pretty amazing in an era when we place more attention than ever on being green and environmentally-friendly, isn’t it?
Whatever the true energy efficiency numbers are, it definitely shows there’s room for improvement. The two biggest energy wasters, according to the post, are the generation of electricity at power plants, and how you use your vehicle. Other common energy wasters were household use of heating, cooling, and lighting.
What You Can Do
While you can’t do much about the efficiency of power plants in generating electricity, much of the United States’ energy waste is related to consumer use. Here are a few big things you can do to save energy:
- Vehicles – You don’t have to be an expert mechanic to modify your car so it’s more fuel efficient. Most of the problems with fuel efficiency are related to personal habits. First, drive the speed limit. Going 10 mph slower saves 2-4 miles per gallon over a short trip. Don’t drive aggressively – hitting the throttle reduces fuel efficiency. Keep your windows up at all times – drag from the air decreases your fuel economy by up to 10%. Keep your tires properly inflated. When you have your oil changed, replace your dirty air filter with a clean one to reduce fuel costs by up to 10%.
- Lighting – Ditch the incandescent light bulbs in your home. Get compact fluorescents at minimum. They give you the most immediate financial savings. If you can, consider LED lights – they’ll save the most energy and money over the long-term. If you have fluorescent lights with magnetic ballasts, use ones with electric ballasts and increase your efficiency by 30%. And, keep the lights off and use natural sunlight whenever possible. If you have a large home with many lights, put some on automatic controls that turn the lights off and on according to a schedule.
- Cooling – Have a professional inspect your AC system. Filters should be changed or cleaned monthly during the cooling season, and about every 2-3 months during the offseason. Prune away plants and weeds from the exterior, but do not use a weed whip, as that can shoot more efficiency-reducing debris inside your AC unit. If it’s not already in the shade, have your AC system either placed in the shade, or build shade around it.
Those are the big things, and while they do seem obvious, remember how inefficient our economy is as a whole and think of what you could do to increase your own efficiency. One way to help increase your energy efficiency is by monitoring your electricity usage with a company like Payless Power, http://paylesspower.com. Offering cheap energy plans to suit both personal and business needs, Payless Power is a company committed to providing people not only with some of the best cheap electricity rates in Texas, but also with helpful customer service. Visit the website to learn more about how to save electricity at home, or connect with the online community on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest.