Alabama ranks 12th in the nation for per capita energy use. Birmingham ranks a dismal 50th out of 51 cities for clean energy efficiency (ahead of only Oklahoma City). The cleanest kilowatt is the one that is never used, which is why the most effective way to immediately reduce fossil fuel pollution is to reduce electricity consumption. In addition to contributing to air pollution, burning fossil fuels for electricity is also a major contributor to global climate change – carbon dioxide. By reducing your electricity usage, you will help clean up our air locally and help fight climate change.
According to the US Department of Energy, you can reduce electricity use in your home by focusing on the following:
- Appliances and electronics. Purchase energy-efficient products and operate them efficiently.
- Lighting. Purchase energy-efficient products, operate them efficiently, and incorporate more daylighting into your home using energy-efficient windows and skylights.
- Electric space heating and cooling. Purchase energy-efficient electric systems and operate them efficiently. Incorporate passive solar design concepts into your home, which include using energy-efficient windows. Properly insulate and air seal your home. Select an energy-efficient heating system that doesn’t use electricity.
- Electric water heating. Purchase an energy-efficient electric water heater and operate it efficiently. Or select an energy-efficient water heater that doesn’t use electricity.
Finally, an energy audit can help you improve your home’s overall energy efficiency as well. Eco Three is a Birmingham-based nonprofit organizations that provides home energy audits, comfort evaluations, energy efficiency upgrades, and other services.
Although car emissions account for a smaller contribution to our air problems than coal-fired power plants, reducing the emissions from vehicles will help address our pollution problems and save you money at the same time. Every little bit we all conserve adds up.