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ARTICLE ARCHIVE

Conservation

The fastest, quickest and cheapest way to save energy and ease climate change is through conservation. If every U.S. household installed just one compact fluorescent light bulb in place of a traditional incandescent bulb, it would displace the need for the electricity generated by one nuclear power plant.

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Tuesday
Jul272010

U.S. wastes more energy than Japan uses!

The International District Energy Association (IDEA) makes the point that heat waste throughout the U.S. economy could be put to productive use by way of "district energy and cogeneration" (also called combined heat and power), if sensible policies and incentives were in place. Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute has pointed out that such "micro-power" as combined heat and power -- as well as efficiency ("negawatts") and renewables like wind and solar -- has been beating new nuclear power economically in the free market for a very long time, as in his report "The Nuclear Illusion."

Sunday
Jul122009

Conservation 101

  1. If every U.S. household installed one compact fluorescent light bulb it would displace one nuclear power plant. 1=1!
  2. Twenty compact fluorescents in every U.S. home would displace at least 25% of U.S. nuclear plants.
  3. Updated lighting, appliances, heating, cooling and other electrical systems can save more energy than all 103 U.S. reactors produce annually.
  4. Cost-effective energy efficiency measures for homes and business can save from 20% to 47% of electricity use according to a study by five U.S. national laboratories.
  5. Turning off and unplugging electrical equipment not in use; or line-drying clothes seem like small measures but make a big difference.
  6. Homeowners and renters alike can choose to buy green power instead of nuclear-generated electricity.
  7. Properly sealing and insulating your home can save between 25%-40% of building heat loss.
  8. Renewable energy sources can meet 25% U.S. energy needs by 2025. Talk to your state representatives about ensuring that your state maximizes its use of renewable energy in the form of a renewable portfolio standard.
  9. Shifting to locally generated electricity avoids waste, reduces brownouts and blackouts, increases efficiency of service and creates jobs.
  10. Climate change is underway. Renewable energy can be brought on line faster, more cheaply and more safely than nuclear power.
Sunday
Jul122009

Mercury concerns and CFLs

From the Green Guide:

The amount of mercury in CFLs is relatively small, approximately 5 milligrams (mg), which is roughly enough to cover the tip of a ballpoint pen, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). For comparison, older mercury-based thermometers contained about 500 mg, or 1/10th of a teaspoon. Even so, incandescent bulbs aren't entirely mercury-free. They require substantially more coal power to operate, which in turn releases much higher levels of mercury—along with other hazardous heavy metals such as lead and arsenic—into the environment via power plant emissions. From there, mercury travels to oceans and waterways, where it accumulates in fish and then returns to your home when those fish wind up on your plate. Depending on where you live (and the mixture of your local energy supplier), you could be releasing as much as 18 mg of mercury into the atmosphere to operate one incandescent bulb over its lifespan. A CFL, on the other hand, produces an estimated 4 mg over its lifespan as a result of burning coal (9 mg total when added to the 5 mg that exist in the bulb). If one billion incandescent light bulbs were replaced with CFLs, we could prevent 100 million grams of mercury emissions.