SACE | Southern Alliance for Clean Energy
Make $mart Energy Choices
The energy choices we make everyday all have impacts – some positive, others negative, and some a blend of both. However, energy efficiency is the energy option that typically provides the most benefits with the least costs. Making the right energy choices can help you lead a greener lifestyle while saving some green, too.
Calculate Your Carbon Footprint
Calculating your carbon footprint is a great way to learn how much energy you are currently using so you can see where smart energy choices can reduce your consumption and your monthly bills, as well.
Reduce Your Home or Office Energy Carbon Footprint
- Get a Home Energy Audit. Delve further and find out where your investments will make the biggest impacts. Get a professional audit done, or do it yourself.
- Purchase ENERGY STAR qualified light bulbs. The CFL is one of the best known symbols for smart, efficient energy choices for a reason. All ENERGY STAR bulbs use 75% less energy and last up to 10 times longer than standard incandescent bulbs. Using this type of lighting can save you approximately $40 over the lifetime of a single bulb.
- Seal doors, windows and ducts in your household. Sealing leaks can be done in an afternoon with modest inputs and modest gains.
Upgrade to double-pane windows, or install a storm door. Installing new, efficient windows requires more time and upfront investment, but the savings can be substantial: almost 10% of your annual heating/cooling bills. Installing a new storm door can save up to 2% on your annual energy costs depending on your climate zone.
- Unplug your electronics when not in use. While a ‘sleeping’ appliance might draw 15 watts when plugged directly into an outlet it will use ~2 watts when plug into a power strip that is turned off.
- Keep on top on your thermostat all year long. Making smart decisions about your home’s heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) system can have a big effect on your utility bills. Keeping your home at 68 degrees or below uses 3-5% less energy than higher temps. Furthermore, by using a programmable thermostat and changing your air filter at least once at the start of each season, you can reduce your annual heating and cooling expenses by approximately 20% or ~$180/year.
Reduce Your Carbon Footprint From Driving
- Drive less. When possible, walk or ride your bike in order to avoid carbon emissions completely. The next best choice is carpooling and public transportation which drastically reduce CO2 emissions by spreading them out over multiple riders.
- Check your tire pressure often, and keep up with maintenance. Inflating to proper tire pressure is an easy way to get more mileage from your vehicle saving up to 11 cents/gallon. Also, regular tune ups with oil changes and new spark plugs result in more efficient fuel combustion which means fewer emissions and more miles-per-gallon saving up to 14 cents/gallon.
- Drive more slowly and try not to idle. Stay under 60 mph to use less fuel and save up to 84 cents/gallon. Plus, if you plan to idle more than a minute or so, turning off the engine can save fuel in the vehicle and reduce air pollution outside.
- Upgrade to a more fuel efficient car. Hybrids today are twice as efficient as other vehicles, getting more than 50 MPG. If you’re not ready for that kind of investment yet, though, upgrade from a gas guzzler to a mid-range car. Moving from 20 to 30 mpg will save more than $930/yr, if you drive 15,000 miles annually.
Reduce Your Carbon Footprint From Air Travel
- Fly less. Until there is a viable alternative to petroleum-based aviation fuel, you should avoid flying when possible, fly less frequently, fly shorter distances, and fly economy class.
- Fly direct. Fly the most direct route possible, since take-offs and landings use the most fuel.
- Pack light. Lighter planes mean less fuel is burned.
- Virtually travel for work. Increase your use of video-conferencing tools like Skype and GoToWebinar instead of traveling for conferences and meetings.
- Vacation closer to home. Enjoy a Stay-cation in your own town, especially if live in a place that tourists from elsewhere visit! You’ll save money and avoid the stress of airport security.
- Eat local. Reduce the distance your food travels from farm to table since 1/3 of our greenhouse gas emissions come from agricultural production and transportation.
- Eat in-season. Eating foods that are in season reduces transportation miles and the energy required for cold storage.
- Practice Meatless Mondays. Livestock emits methane and contributes about 15 percent of total greenhouse gases, according to a United Nations report. Locally grown fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains are healthier for both your body and the planet.
- Eat whole, unprocessed foods. The more processed food is, the higher its carbon footprint.
- Practice portion control. Start with less food on your plate, and chances are less food will end up in the landfill.
Support our Work
- Become a supporting member of SACE to make a difference here in the Southeast and support energy efficiency.
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- Bookmark our Upcoming Events page to keep abreast of current events in our region.