Make every day Earth Day
You don’t have to wait for the next Earth Day to roll around to help the environment.
The Minnesota Department of Commerce said that Tuesday’s Earth Day should be a call to action for communities and residents to rekindle their passion for a cleaner environment.
There were celebrations across the country as part of Earth Day; however, many organizations are shifting focus to encourage everyone to treat every day as Earth Day to build a cleaner, more sustainable future.
“Earth Day is a chance for all of us…to do our part to care for our planet and make good on our state commitment to improve energy efficiency and increase renewable energy,” said Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman. “Demand for energy on Earth continues to grow, and a few of the easiest ways to become good stewards of our environment is to conserve energy, use it more efficiently, and develop renewable energy sources.”
Rothman urged Minnesotans to implement measures to reduce energy use. Here are a few ways to make a difference:
Get an advanced energy assessment. A home energy assessment, with advanced diagnostic equipment, will evaluate the performance of your home and the safety of mechanical systems and will determine what energy improvements are needed. Assessments can be scheduled through your utility.
Seal air leaks. An enormous amount of energy is wasted when inside air (either heated or cooled) escapes to the outside through leaks in attics, walls, windows and doors.
Check mechanical systems. Water heaters, air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, gas fireplaces and ventilation systems should be inspected regularly to keep them operating efficiently and safely.
Heat and cool efficiently. Replace old, inefficient heating and air conditioning systems with new high-efficiency options. Seal ductwork and bleed radiators.
Install a programmable thermostat. Programming your thermostat allows you to be comfortable when you are home and save energy when you are away or asleep.
Control hot water use. Use low-flow showerheads. A standard showerhead can use up to 5.5 gallons of water a minute; low-flow showerheads deliver a high pressure spray at less than 2 gallons per minute. Turn down your water heater to 120 degrees; and wash clothes in cold water.
Replace light bulbs. Replace old incandescent light bulbs with more efficient CFLs (compact fluorescent light bulbs) or LEDs (light emitting diodes). CFLs, for instance, use about one-third of the energy and last up to 10 times longer than a traditional incandescent bulb with the same light output.
Buy ENERGY STAR products. Look for the ENERGY STAR label when purchasing new household products. ENERGY STAR signifies strict energy efficiency guidelines. Visit www.energystar.gov.
Invest in renewable energy. After employing basic energy efficiency and conservation measures in your home, consider installing a solar or wind energy system or another form of clean energy to help power your home, or purchase green power from your utility.
Use public transportation or car pool or bike to work.
For more on saving energy, visit the Division of Energy Resources website at www.energy.mn.us and see two energy guides: “Home Envelope” and “Appliances, Lighting, Electronics.” Check out more energy-saving tips from the U.S. Department of Energy at www.energysavers.gov.