One of the hot buzzwords of the moment is “efficiency.” Employers are asking workers to do more work with fewer people. Instead of printing out a coupon and taking it to a fast food restaurant, you can just show the coupon on your phone. We want competence, but we want it done as cheaply as possible. That’s true in lots of areas of life, but especially when it comes to energy. We’re talking about the energy you use at home or in your car more than the physical energy you exert by doing something like walking to the mailbox at the end of your driveway. We’re constantly told that the earth has limited resources, and so we have to utilize them as efficiently as possible. There’s more urgency to that call for efficiency than there is for, say, an app that gives you digital copies of tickets rather than making you print them out. The implication is that we have to figure out a way to do this right, or else we’re risking the future of the planet.
An efficient home
Heating and cooling your home isn’t cheap even in the mildest climate, but the earth has seen a lot of extremes at both ends in recent years. Climate change means the winters seem colder and the summers feel hotter. Natural disasters are happening more often and with more intensity. We know that keeping our thermostat in the lowest comfortable setting is helpful. We know that layering up in winter is good. But what else can we do? The answers might lie in the way your house is decorated. Look at your windows. Are they covered or exposed? Covering them up with blinds lets less heat in during summer, which means your house’s cooling system doesn’t have to work quite so hard. Venetian blinds, aka the ones with horizontal slats, are among the most popular styles, and you can buy Venetian blinds online or at a local home improvement store. And don’t forget to turn off the lights when you leave the room, every single time.
If you’re trying to save the planet, public transit is the best way to get to where you’re going. America’s fixation with cars has resulted in a lot of traffic and a lot of pollution, and something needs to be done to reduce the number of vehicles clogging the residential streets and freeways. But public transit isn’t a good option for everyone, especially people who live in less populated areas where local officials probably aren’t too invested in the idea of mass transit. So you may have to drive a car, but that doesn’t mean you have to drive one powered solely by gasoline. Hybrid cars are becoming increasingly popular, but you have to make sure you have a place to plug in your car. The same is true of electrical cars. Another option that’s sometimes overlooked is converting your diesel vehicle into a car powered by biodiesel. It’s a way to turn all that cooking grease produced by restaurants into a cleaner fuel, and it’s quite popular among a small but growing segment of the population. Let other people worry about the increasing price of gas while you go eat a cheeseburger with some onion rings. After all, the onion ring grease of today is the fuel of tomorrow.