The best and easiest way to conserve energy is to turn it off when not in use. Do you really need all three 100W lights in the room, or can you just use one 17W LED desk lamp? Is it really too cold to turn on the heater, or can you just put on another jacket and be comfortable? 

Before leaving your home on a trip: Make sure everything is turned off, and unplugged. Many electric appliances still consume power if it is plugged into an outlet even if it is turned off. Go around the house once before you leave your home and make sure everything is unplugged. When packing for your trip, try to pack light and bring only the things you really need. 

In hotels / at a host’s home: Try to use only what you need, when you need it. This includes turning off any lights, electric tools, appliances, and machines when not in use, and minimizing the time it is used when using it is absolutely necessary. Heating and cooling units consume a lot of electricity. Try using a fan instead of an AC unit when it’s hot. During winter when it is cold, layer up and put on a few sweaters instead of turning on your heater! Can you open your blinds/curtains and use natural light instead? There are many simple ways to reduce energy consumptions if you looked around and got a little creative. 

While traveling: Invest in and switch to energy efficient items to use while traveling such as solar phone chargers and low energy hair dryers. Educate others the importance of renewable energy, and how they can actively participate in supporting clean renewable energy, and opposing non-renewable energy sources such as coal, petroleum, and nuclear. 

Here are soome fun facts about energy. Feel free to share them with fellow travelers or your hosts! 

  • From 2008 to 2030, world energy consumption is expected to increase more than 55%.
  • The United States produces half of its electricity from coal. China uses coal to generate more than three-fourths of its electricity. Australia, Poland, and South Africa produce an even greater percentage. Overall, coal makes up ⅖ of the world’s electricity generation. 
  • Electric utilities are the largest source of greenhouse gas in America.
  • In the last 50 years, atmospheric CO2 has shot up to levels unprecedented in the previous 400,000 years. The man-made injection of CO2 into the atmosphere is primarily from the burning of fossil fuels.
  • James Hansen, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, has argued, “Coal is the single greatest threat to civilization and all life on our planet.” In America, burning coal releases more CO2 in the air than all cars and trucks combined.
  • Hydropower is the main renewable energy source the U. S. relies on—more than wind, solar, or geothermal power.
  • Inefficient appliances, drafty windows and doors, poor insulation, and other fixable energy wasters cost U. S. consumers an estimated $300 billion a year—more than the U. S. military budget.

 

Sources:

Royston, Angela. Sustainable Energy. Mankato, MN: Arcturus Publishing Limited, 2009

Morris, Neil. Fossil Fuels. Mankato, MN: Smart Apple Media, 2010.

Sherwin, Elton B. Addiction to Energy: A Venture Capitalist’s Perspective on How to Save Our Economy and Our Climate. Knoxville, TN: Energy House Publishing, 2010.