>> Sunday, March 28, 2010

We've wrapped up the Trim Your Waste Line series of challenges here at The Conscious Shopper, and hopefully you have to take out the trash a little less often. For the next eight weeks, I'll focus on ways to help you:


We'll be cutting back on our energy use with the following weekly challenges:
According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, improving the energy use of our houses is one of the top three things we can do for planetary health. Although switching to renewable energy is important, I prefer to focus on energy efficiency for so many reasons:

1. Energy efficiency saves money.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. A home energy retrofit can shave as much as 30% off of your energy bill. What could be more appealing than that!

2. Energy efficiency is affordable.

So you can't afford solar panels...So what! You can afford to add caulking around your windows. You can afford to slay your vampires. You can afford to switch to CFLs. And now with all of those tax credits from the government, you may even be able to afford to upgrade your windows, add insulation, and get a more efficient HVAC system.

3. Energy efficiency increases the value of your home.

Eco-friendly homes are the hot new thing in the real estate market, and they are only going to get hotter.

4. Energy efficiency does not require new technology.

Holding off on solar panels until they get the technology just right? In the meantime, weatherize your home. These are things we've known how to do for a long time, and we just need to do them.

5. Energy efficiency provides jobs.

Any sustainable energy solution is going to provide new jobs, but think about all the existing buildings and homes in the U.S. that need to be upgraded. Think about all those opportunities for work for home builders who are really in need of jobs right now. And as I mentioned above, this type of work does not require new technology.

6. Energy efficiency equates to less overall energy use.

Apply that statement to whatever energy-related issue hits your hot button: dependence on foreign oil, clean coal, nuclear power, offshore drilling, solar power, wind power, whatever. Using less energy does not make those issues go away, but it reduces the need for some of the less-than-ideal options that are being tossed around and makes the smarter solutions seem more feasible.

7. Energy efficiency fits any circumstance.

It doesn't matter if your lot is shady, windless, or tiny, and it doesn't matter if you own a house or rent an apartment. You may not be able to do everything, but everyone can do something toward making their home more energy efficient.

So let's get to it and see if we can energize in 2010. Come back tomorrow for the first energy challenge.

**ENERGIZE CHECKLIST** Keep track of your eco-changes by printing this checklist on recycled paper OR be extra green by saving your own editable digital copy.


You have hereby been challenged to go green in a year without going broke! Check out the last challenge, or view the whole list of Challengicious Mondays. Sign up for my RSS feed, follow me on Twitter, and join my "Go Green without Going Broke" group on Facebook!


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