Read this very interesting article in the National Geographic titled “Energy Diet” under the topic National Energy Challenge. It is based on the Dutch language book, The Ideal Energy Weight, by Klaas van Alphen, a researcher at Copernicus Institute for Sustainable Development, Utrecht University and Herman van der Meyden, a Shell engineer who has participated in the company’s future scenarios project.
He came up with the book in response to the Three quarters of Dutch people who want to save energy. But where would they start? And what really makes a difference? The Ideal Weight Energy is the solution says Herman.
An energy diet pretty much is like a normal diet; I would know for how many ever diets I have tried I am always fighting with what I can and can’t do with out… You listen to all the experts, read all the books etc, but the thought of starting a diet can be daunting. Once you have tried a diet a new one with the term diet always triggers an array of questions: Will I feel deprived? Can I stick to all the changes I’ll need to make? And where do I begin?
The Energy Diet aims to help you take a step-by-step approach toward a lifestyle that is healthier for the planet, and may even end up saving you money. National Geographic has simplified it for us in a 12 step program, one for each month of the year. So if you want to give it a try, you are getting a head start get set to make changes in the New year, after all it is only 3 months away!
These are the 12 steps:
- January Check the age of your refrigerator – replacing an appliance older than 10 years with a new energy star one will pay for itself in a couple of years!
- February Consider replacing your natural gas furnace or boiler with a high efficiency (HE) unit. Check out this link for helpful tips and links. Your power consumption and comfort level will improve substantially with the right HE furnace.
- March – Check your power bill, Do you have Green Electricity? See if Renewable energy is available where you live and where you can get the best deal.
- April – Summer is around the corner, planning your next vacation? Consider a green vacation, pick green hotels,Consider a “Staycation”. If traveling by flight consider buying carbon offsets A Green vacation is a good start to a Green year!
- May – Energy saving power strips for all your electric gadgets from mobile phones to TV’s and Computers. Make sure you turn them off or unplug them when not in use. The plugged in devices drain power even when not used.
- June – Investigate the possibilities for installing your own alternative power source – Solar, wind etc… The US Government has many subsidies for individual Alternative energy production. There are also some Solar manufacturers who are willing to work with you to make owning Solar power affordable and viable. Check out Sungevity they have leasing options too!!
- July – Check your driving habits. Is your car giving you enough mileage? Are you doing the best you can about using public transport? Calculate how much you could save with buying a new car? Will a Hybrid be a prudent buy?
- August – We are half way through, so this month is for Sun, Sand, beach and fun!
- September – It is almost fall, days are getting shorter that means more lights. Switch your bulbs to energy efficient CFLs, save energy and money in the long run guaranteed.
- October – Summer is a memory and cold fronts moving in slowly, perfect time to winterize your home. It will keep you warm and your heating bills low. Check for drafts near windows doors etc. The Insulation guide from US Energy department is of immense help.
- November – Winter is at the door step, check for holes etc which need closing. Use caulk or weather stripping. Remember to keep the fire-place damper closed when not in use. Also try and replace your decorative lights with LED strings will help in the long run. I am doing it one string at a time, so the amount I spend is not too hefty.
- December – It’s the holidays! Share your successful diet with friends and family! Enjoy your Green Holiday Season!
So are you going on an Energy diet in 2011? It would be fun to hear back from you, if it does work out for you. I will update the post with my experiences next year. For my part I am almost done with the transition to CFL bulbs. I need to take care of the insulation before it gets too cold.
You can check out the National Geographic article HERE