Why it's important
We use energy in every aspect of our lives, but don't usually see the effects of that energy usage. Becoming aware of our energy usage will have immediate benefits on the amount of greenhouse gases emitted, require that fewer power plants need to be built in the future, and save you money.
Energy is expensive, and everything you consume uses it
More Than Just The Power Bill
As mentioned on the What It Is
page, using energy is about more than just your electrical bill. It is important to know that everything you do is consuming some amount of energy. Everything you eat, every material you use, all came from somewhere and had energy put into them before they got to you. Understanding this and looking at your total energy impact is important because it gives you the chance to improve emissions from not just your home, but from farm, commercial, and industrial sectors as well. It is important to know your total environmental footprint so that you can make smart decisions about how to reduce it.
We'd be more likely to turn off our lights if they told us what they really did.Credit: SixLinks.org
No Such Thing As Free Energy
As mentioned above, every bit of energy you consume, whether to power a light bulb, heat your home, produce your hamburger, or mine the materials for your computer, come from somewhere. When energy was extremely cheap and didn't appear to have any negative consequences tied to it, it was fine, however now we realize the dangers associated with using dirty fuels at a time where demand for energy is skyrocketing. This means we will need to learn how to get by with less energy through both conserving energy and finding more efficient ways to do things that we currently do. We are working to produce more energy in as clean a way as possible, but the cheapest power source is the one we don't have to build. Also, reducing energy consumption will allow Clean Energy
sources to become a larger proportion of our total energy portfolio by reducing the number of natural gas and coal plants we need.
Show Me The Money
Energy is expensive, and everything you consume uses it. These costs aren't as obvious for many things because they are built into the price, but you are paying for it one way or another. The average household spends over $1000 a year just on electricity costs in their home. Add this to costs for gasoline for your car, natural gas for heating, the mining, processing, and assembly of materials you buy, the growing of food you eat, along with the production of fertilizers and pesticides, and you are spending a lot of money on energy. There is also the likelihood that carbon will end up being priced in the near future, as it should be (check out the Cap Carbon
section for more), which would make saving energy make even more money sense soon.
Little known fact: I can produce more hair than several small countries combined