Saving energy is a laudable goal. By using less electricity and other energy around your home, you reduce your contribution to environmental degradation and climate change. On the other hand, easy and reliable access to electricity is in large part responsible for the high standard of living that most Americans enjoy. Read on to learn more about the intersection between comfort and energy consumption, and how you can cut back while still participating in modern 21st century life.
Energy Consumption and GDP Go Hand-in-Hand
When it comes to residential households, cheap power allows us to run the electrical work that lends so much convenience and comfort to our day-to-day lives – refrigerators, air conditioners, lights, computers, televisions and much more. On a societal scale, access to fossil fuels and the energy potential stored within is what has made possible so many technological and logistical advances in the first place. However, as the years advance, the science is becoming ever more clear – excessive carbon emissions are causing the planet's climate to change, often in destructive and unpredictable ways.
Of course, no one wants to go back to the days of pushing a plow behind a donkey and churning butter by hand, either. The big question, and one that may become existential, is whether we can decouple our energy consumption from our standard of living. Historically, consumption and GDP have risen together in lock-step. Can the United States and other developed countries figure out how to break the chain?
Decouple Lifestyle from Consumption
A recent report by the Energy Collective tells us that “reductions in energy intensity is arguably our most important tool to achieve a sustainable energy future.” What does it mean? That we can get the same or more production out of less energy usage. In some ways, we've already made progress – between 2007 and 2013, energy consumption dropped 4.5 percent in the United States, while the Net Domestic Product continued to rise.
That's all well and good for the country, but what about your household? The same principles apply – for a more sustainable future, look for ways to get the same results with less energy use. That means switching to efficient appliances, like Energy Star certified equipment. It means replacing old incandescent light bulbs with modern LED models. And look for little changes that can make a big difference, like adjusting your thermostat a few notches up or down to reduce the load on your HVAC equipment.
Make a Difference in Your House
You can do your part to cut down on your energy use while still enjoying the amenities of modern life by making targeted efficiency investments and simple behavioral changes. If you need tips on how to reduce your energy bills without reverting to stone age-style living, or need any other electrical work, contact a reputable electrician today.