Originally posted 2 Nov 2006:
I would hope that someone will want to comment on any of my posts, because I'm hoping to raise this subject in people's priorities. Please discuss the ideas I've raised, and/or raise other ideas, and let's discuss the pros and cons of all of them!
Some simple things that you can do to save energy:
Properly inflate your vehicles tires, and keep them that way. Look at the recommended range of inflation, and in general it is best to use a pressure near the top of this range. If all people did this, we could save up to 3% of all the petroleum we use.
Use compact fluorescent light bulbs where ever possible. This will save at least 75% of the electricity you use for lighting. If the fixture has a dimmer on it, you'll need to locate bulbs that work on dimmers -- they do exist. If you try to use a regular fluorescent bulb in a dimmable circuit, it is likely to flicker even if you have the dimmer up to full, unfortunately.
[Edit: Here's one place to buy dimmable compact fluorescent bulbs. To find others, you can Google for "dimmable fluorescent bulbs". Also, there are LED bulbs available that screw into our standard "Edison" fixtures:here. I have not tried these, but they certainly will come on immediately at full brightness.]
Replace your older refrigerator with one that is as efficient as you can find. Ask for the most efficient models, and call around to all the appliance sellers in your area -- this needs to be a top priority, and this should help them get the message.
Here's one that is a little more obscure, but very important none the less: compost all of the autumn leaves [and lawn clippings, weeds, vegetable parings, etc.], rather than throwing them out like garbage! If you use your lawn mower, or rent a leaf shreader, they will be a lot more compact, they won't blow around, and they will turn into wonderful, rich soil by the next year. This method can actually be faster, since the much smaller volume of the leaves makes them easier to move. Use the bag on the mower to collect the chopped leaves, and empty it onto a small tarp, and then drag the tarp by it's corner.
Then use this soil to fertilize your lawn and plants -- instead of using chemical fertilizers made from oil and natural gas! This is essentially free, since all it takes is a spot where you can put the leaves to let the natural process happen. If it doesn't rain on the pile soon after you make it, it also helps to use a little water from the hose to dampen things down -- the worms and the natural decomposition can get started faster.
Of course, by not using chemical fertilizers, you are saving all sorts of other bad effects downstream: the phosphorus and nitrogen runoff from these has literally killed just about all ponds and streams in all the suburbs I have seen. And the effects of these chemicals has huge affects all the way out to the ocean.
[I recently bought a Scott "Classic" reel lawn mower, and I find it no harder to push than the gasoline powered mower! And I can finish the mowing in less time, too. No fumes, and no oil changes...]
What else can you think of?