Even better than finding alternative energy is just using less power
LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Considerable attention is being directed in the current political campaigns to ways to reduce America's dependence on foreign oil. One side of that effort, of course, is to make more energy through wind, solar, nuclear and other...
LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Considerable attention is being directed in the current political campaigns to ways to reduce America's dependence on foreign oil. One side of that effort, of course, is to make more energy through wind, solar, nuclear and other generation sources.
The other side of the equation is finding ways to reduce our energy consumption. While energy production primarily is accomplished through corporate investment overseen by government regulators, reducing consumption is something every individual can do.
Although the price of gasoline has dropped significantly in re-
cent weeks, the onset of colder weather has many people thinking about winter heating bills. Being environmentally conscious may prompt some residents to cut their energy consumption, but for most of us, reducing our energy costs is an even stronger motivator.
That's why, as we prepare to hunker down for the winter, it's wise to take a look around the house for some simple ways to cut energy costs.
n Check the weather stripping on windows and doors and consider adding insulation to your home.
n If you're in the market for a new furnace or hot water heater, check out new energy-efficient models.
n A programmable thermostat also might be a good investment.
The federal Department of Energy estimates that dialing your thermostat back 10 or 15 degrees for eight hours a day when you're asleep or at work can reduce your heating bill by 10 percent.
n Compact fluorescent light bulbs cost more but are a good investment because they last far longer.
n Hanging heavy drapes can reduce heat loss and make a room more comfortable.
n Furnaces operate more efficiently when filters are changed at least once a month.
None of these steps individually is likely to have a great impact on the nation's dependence on foreign fuels, but if millions of Americans make a few simple efforts to cut their energy consumption, it will have a significant impact on the nation's energy demands.
The United States needs to have a focused effort to broaden its strategy for energy production, but especially in the current economic climate those efforts are likely to take some time to pay off. Meantime, we all can do the environment and our pocketbooks a favor by taking simple steps to reduce our energy consumption.
- Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World