Between You and Me – December 2018

Light the lights…but replace them with LEDs!
Hunkering down for the dark, cold winter, our ancestors knew we needed to add light and warmth to our lives. Today, light and heat come to us at a high cost – in dollars and in impact on the world. I invite you to consider these easy ways that you can tighten the belt, as it were, and make a personal difference.
1. LED bulbs and tubes not only consume a fraction of the energy consumed by incandescent bulbs, they have the double benefit of being mercury free and long lasting. By doing nothing but switching to LEDs in your home, it is possible to reduce your carbon footprint by a whopping 6 tons and save 6% in lighting costs annually. This savings is equivalent to reducing your gasoline consumption by 700 gallons per year! Fun fact: In 2017 the world saved 570 million tons of CO2 by converting to LEDs.
2. Lowering your thermostat by two degrees during winter nights can save 10% of your energy usage for heating and cooling. And depending on what mix of energies your house uses, that could translate into a 2000 pounds of carbon savings!
3. Did you know that 2 minutes of the shower running without you in it (5 gallons of water times 365 mornings) wastes 342 lbs. of CO2 per year? Get into the shower as soon as it is hot and reduce your shower time to only what is necessary to get the job done!
4. Play with your washing machine settings. See if it makes a difference in your laundry when you turn the water setting to warm with a cold rinse, instead of warm wash with a warm rinse. You could be saving 62 lbs. of CO2 per year.
5. Call all those venders who send you unwanted catalogues. Remember the trees which give their existence to become catalogues are our best defense against CO2. Canceling 10 catalogues is a net savings of 154 lbs. of CO2 a year.
6. Unplug all your energy vampires – appliances like coffee makers, toasters, cell phone chargers that use energy even when you are NOT using them. Turn off your computer at night and when you go away on vacation. You could drop hundreds of pounds of CO2.
7. Call Duke Energy and get an efficiency evaluation of your home. You never know what simple fixes you might do that could save you money and save the planet.
None of the above suggestions takes the place of advocating for the most impactful ways we can limit our human contribution to climate change. Did you know reducing food waste, eating an increased plant-based diet, tropical reforestation and educating girls and teaching them family planning are the third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh best ways to reverse climate change? Nevertheless, every pound saved by you now is a wonderful Hanukah present for your children and grandchildren and great grandchildren. Happy Festival of Lights!