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Flick of A Switch

14 May. 2011 Posted by Hannah Mich in power plant, electricity, energy
Power Plant

Air pollution is synonymous with cars and power plants; and companies are using that general knowledge to sell products and services, and to revamp their image as “green”. However, cars and power plants are only a small part of the “air pollution” puzzle. Residential and commercial buildings account for 41 percent of our total energy consumption, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Transportation, in comparison, is only 29 percent of our total energy consumption.

Our household energy consumption has been increasing since 1950, in part because of the increase in house size, and more electronic appliances and devices. Although bigger houses and more gadgets are signs of prosperity, this also poses as a challenge to improving our environment and therefore our health. We are making headway with cars that get better gas mileage, and solar and wind power, but are neglecting some key components.

Although electricity is often phrased to sound like an energy source, it is not. The primary energy source for electricity and commercial buildings is coal. Energy solutions need to address building codes, our energy use patterns and renewable clean energy sources. Continuing to supply us, the consumer, with more efficient products may help slowdown increasing energy consumption, but will not solve it.

Now many U.S. electrical companies appear to be more “green”, but again change is slow and sometimes misdirected. Newer power plants burn coal more efficiently and smoke stacks are often equipped with scrubbers to reduce air pollution. While other sources for energy include wind, solar, biomass, nuclear and hydro power. None of this, however, addresses our actual energy consumption; but then again these companies are just supplying the demand, which is where we come in. Consumers must drive change in the energy industry, requiring us to prioritize and make lifestyle changes. Contrary to what some believe, progressing environmental issues like clean energy and energy consumption does not have to inhibit our prosperity, but can be used to propel us forward as a nation.

Call To Action: 

Update heating and cooling systems
Put new weather stripping on windows & doors
Shut-off the lights

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