Reducing greenhouse gas emissions isn’t just about installing solar panels on your roof or buying an electric car. While some actions to reduce your carbon footprint are too costly for most, saving energy is certainly something that everyone can do. There are many ways to save energy, and they range from making small investments on energy-efficient lightbulbs and appliances to simply adjusting some habits. In this post, DOER staff members share what they do personally to save energy. We hope to inspire Energy Smarts readers to do the same.
“I reduced my energy bill by 35% when I super-insulated my roof in 2009. On average I drive less than 3 miles a day.” – Lawrence Masland, Energy Efficiency Planner
“I bike to and from work every day. I use window wrap or covering on all of my windows during the winter to mitigate heat loss. I compost all excess food waste, and I use power strips on all my appliances or electronics to prevent usage waste.” – Edward Dobbin, Clean Energy Fellow
“I recycle! Paper, plastic, metal, glass – you name it, it gets a second life. I try to buy locally-grown produce to reduce the energy used to get food to the table. I drive a Prius….and keep it on Eco-Mode.” – Lisa Capone, Green Communities Deputy Director
“I moved recently and was really surprised that all the bulbs in my new place were incandescent. I have changed all but one light to LEDs (I like the quality of light much better than CFLs) including overhead fixtures and lamps. I seldom use the one light that hasn’t changed.” – Eileen McHugh, Green Communities Municipal Programs Coordinator
“We superinsulated our house with interior and exterior foam, and only CFLs and LEDs and ENERGY STAR® appliances are installed in our home. I commute by express bus and walk to and from home and work stops. Our kids walk to school every day, regardless of the weather.” – Eric Friedman, Leading By Example Director
“When our town, Sudbury, joined the Solarize Mass program, we put an 8.5 kW solar electric array on our roof. During the sunnier months, it’s great not having to write a check to our electric utility. We paid a relatively small amount up front and spend nothing for the power generated by the solar system. When I park at the commuter rail station, regardless of the temperature, I never idle.” – Tom Witkin, Marketing & Collaboration Coordinator
“I walk or bike to friends’ houses who live nearby instead of driving. I turn off all lights when leaving a room and I unplug my phone charger and computer charger from their outlets when I’m not using them.” – Katherine Kyrios, Marketing Intern
“I bike to work. I unplug electronics when not in use. I keep my heat low – sometimes wear hats to bed in the winter, as I sleep better in the cold. I talk with friends and family about energy issues and ways to save.” – Ben Pignatelli, Energy Efficiency Analyst
“I use a power strip with a switch to turn off plugged-in appliances. When I stay at a hotel, I turn the A/C off (or heat down if in the winter) before leaving for the day. I also always use the Do Not Disturb sign so that housekeeping doesn’t change the sheets and towels.” – XiaoZhi Lim, Marketing Intern
“I ride my bike or walk everywhere I need to go in the city. I turn off the AC or heat before leaving home every morning. I use canvas bags or my backpack when I go to the grocery store. I use energy efficient light bulbs in my home.” – Emma Krause, Rooftop Solar Challenge Coordinator
“I take public transportation to work every day. I walk to and from the T station every day. I had an energy audit performed on my home through the Mass Save® program. As a result of the audit, I added additional attic insulation, eave-space and knee wall insulation, and increased roof ventilation. I replaced all incandescent bulbs in my home with either CFL or LED bulbs. I reduced my household waste by more than 70% by improving my composting and recycling practices.” – Charlie Tuttle, Emerging Clean Energy Technology Specialist
“I changed all my lightbulbs to energy-saving LEDs. My washer, dryer and refrigerator are all ENERGY STAR®-rated appliances. I walk to work.” Chantavy Sor, Budget Administrator
“I picked up a Community Supported Agriculture share to support local agriculture. I ride a bike to work.” – Bram Claeys, Renewable Policy Director
We hope Energy Smarts readers will be able to pick up some ideas to save energy in your lives too. For more ideas, visit the Mass Save® website. Every energy saving action, no matter how small, adds up and makes a difference.
Summer’s Here: Shed Layers and Shed Loads posted on Jul 11
Electricity usage throughout New England reaches its peak during summer heat waves, causing our electricity bills to spike. During periods of high demand, electric utilities typically call on more expensive “peaking” plants to provide extra power. These costs are passed onto larger, non-residential consumers through demand charges on their monthly electricity bill. Municipal buildings can save a significant sum of money if they shut off portions of their electricity during these peak periods.
Massachusetts Rebates Supercharge Electric Vehicle Market posted on Jul 7
The MOR-EV initiative provides rebates of up to $2,500 for electric, fuel cell vehicles and plug-in vehicles with large batteries, and $1,500 for plug-in electric vehicles with smaller batteries. All Massachusetts residents are eligible to receive incentives on purchased and leased new electric vehicles until the rebate funds are gone.
Community Adoption of Energy Efficient Building Codes Stretches to 143 posted on Jul 2
Eight more municipalities (Dalton, Goshen, Halifax, Holliston, Upton, Wellfleet, Lanesborough, and Stoughton) recently adopted the Stretch Energy Code, criterion five for Green Community designation, and will now work to ensure that new construction and major renovations are more energy efficient. With these additions, the total number of participating municipalities has reached 143.