|Energy Efficiency & Conservation:
You Have the Power - Use it Wisely !!
Conserving energy protects air quality and offers many environmental and economic benefits.
By saving energy and reducing our “energy intensity” (the amount of energy needed to produce a given economic output), we can protect the environment without sacrificing economic growth and our quality of life. California can gain jobs and prosper by leading the way to develop and implement energy-efficient technologies.
Using energy more efficiently:
There are many ways that we can conserve energy and improve our energy efficiency. Some things, like turning off the lights, are direct and obvious. But we also consume energy in many ways that are not so obvious. For example, we use a lot of energy to pump water and to heat water, as well as to process and ship the food we consume. The fact that we use energy in so many ways means that we have opportunities to save energy in many facets of our lives. When we all do our part, small measures on an individual basis add up to huge savings for society as a whole.
The section below provides information on how to reduce energy use in transportation, the home, on the job, when we shop, and in building design and landscaping. Saving energy will save you money. Information is also provided on incentives and rebates that can increase your savings for purchasing and using energy-efficient products.
Motor vehicles are the major source of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions in the Bay Area.
Each gallon of gasoline we burn produces 19 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2), the primary greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. Each gallon of diesel fuel we burn produces over 22 pounds of CO2. (Plus, additional CO2 emissions are produced by drilling, refining, and shipping the fuel to your vehicle.) The average American household consumes 1,143 of gasoline per year, thus emitting 25,146 pounds (12.6 tons) of CO2 per year from driving alone.
Driving consumes a huge amount of energy. According to the 2005 edition of the Transportation Energy Data Book published by the U.S. Dept. of Energy, the transportation sector accounts for nearly 30% of total energy use in the U.S. To make matters worse, we've been going backward in terms of motor vehicle energy efficiency. Increased sales of gas-guzzling SUVs and trucks in recent years have reversed earlier progress toward increasing the average fuel economy of the U.S motor vehicle fleet.
Purchasing and driving a clean, fuel-efficient vehicle is one of the most important ways to conserve energy and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.
Limit your driving: You can also save energy and reduce emissions by reducing your driving. You can use transit, carpool, or combine trips (trip linking page) to reduce the amount you drive.
Walking is ideal for many short trips. It's great exercise and great for the environment. See Air District's walking web page.
Riding a bicycle is the most efficient and economical means of transportation ever devised. And cycling is great exercise and fun, to boot. See Air District's bicycling web page.
Consume whole foods and local products. The freight industry and food processing both consume a tremendous amount of energy. Agriculture and food production account for at least 16% of our total energy consumption in the U.S. Buying local products and eating unprocessed, local foods can save energy and reduce pollution.
Eating local food: www.locavores.com
Avoid bottled water. Bottled water has many negative environmental impacts. These include the energy and water required to produce the bottles, shipping the heavy liquid long distances on trucks, and disposing of the billions of plastic bottles produced each year. According to a bottled water fact sheet provided by the Pacific Institute, Americans consume 17 million barrels of oil per year just to produce our plastic bottles - this results in emissions of 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide, the major greenhouse gas. And this figure does not include the energy and greenhouse gases related to shipping. All told, Pacific Institute estimates that it requires three liters of water and one liter of oil to produce a single liter of bottled water. That's very wasteful. In the Bay Area, we enjoy high quality municipal water. So save money and protect the environment by drinking the good water that comes out of your faucet.
There are many ways to save energy in your home, such as:
Our water supply system consumes tremendous amounts of energy. Nearly 20% of California's electricity consumption is used to convey, treat, and distribute water. In addition, 32% of the natural gas consumption in California is used to heat water in the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors. Water use in California results in an estimated 44 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year, according to the April 2006 report of the California Climate Action Team.
You can save up to $20 per year and avoid 100 pounds of carbon dioxide (greenhouse gas) emissions per year for each incandescent light bulb that you replace with a compact fluorescent bulb.
For further information on saving energy in your home, see:
US Dept. of Energy Consumer Tips to Save Energy
U.S. Dept. of Energy Consumer’s Guide to Energy Efficiency
Heating your home with wood is inefficient and bad for air quality.
Good building design, site design, and landscaping can help to reduce energy use, reduce heating and cooling needs, and prevent the formation of "urban heat islands" that contribute to ozone (smog) formation.
design and Energy
Star New Homes can lead to significant savings in energy and water
LEED Standards: The Green Building Council has developed Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design standards.
Higher temperatures mean more air pollution. Prevent Urban Heat Islands by using cool roofing and paving materials. This will help to reduce energy consumption and avoid (ozone) smog formation.
The U.S EPA report Cooling our Communities: A Guide to Tree Planting & Light-Colored Surfacing provides good information on both using light colored materials and tree-planting.
planting: Trees provide benefits in terms of reducing energy
consumption for heating and cooling. They also filter air pollutants and
absorb carbon dioxide (which helps to reduce global warming). Note:
certain types of trees (such as eucalyptus, liquid amber, oak) emit ozone
precursors which contributes to ozone (smog) formation. Be sure
to select tree species that are more beneficial for air quality,
such as acacia, cedar, magnolias, and fruit trees.
To help select the best tree, see Urban Forestry Ecosystems Institute site.
San Francisco Friends of the Urban Forest
For information on how to conserve energy in the workplace, see:
The Bay Area 2005 Ozone Strategy includes a measure to promote energy conservation; see Stationary Source Control Measure 15, Volume II, page C-48:
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