One thing to understand about Americans is we vacation less and tend to often speak only one language. While this differentiates us from the rest of the world, Americans are still concerned about the way the rest of the world sees us. Anyone traveling overseas is stereotyped as an “ugly American,” but even more so in today’s world due to our over consumption of the world’s energy. In fact, according to recent studies, the United States is about 4% of the world’s population, but consumes nearly 25% of the world’s energy.
Needless to say this is quite embarrassing, especially when you consider most Europeans have cut down on traditional forms of energy. A great example of this is when the European Union announced their plans to reduce CO2 levels by 20% before 2020. This means several companies will have to work together and utilize other forms of energy such as solar and wind. Billions have already been invested in this product by Germany, Great Britain, and the Netherlands (as well as others), in hopes of changing the world.
Do you know what the Americans did? Uhm, absolutely nothing. Instead our politicians spent countless hours arguing over whether this is a viable problem. Without an agreement it means there is no new legislation, and without legislation we are left looking like the bad guy in the world’s eyes. The truth is our politicians are missing the point. Even if climate change wasn’t a real issue, we are still consuming a quarter of the world’s energy. This is really embarrassing, and the only way to control it is by utilizing all the alternatives that are right in front of us everyday.
Since our politicians have failed to lead the country on this issue, the responsibility has fallen to each individual American citizen to make a difference and change the way he uses energy. In this article we will be taking a look at number of alterations you can make to you home or office that will consume less energy, save money on bills and also help the environment.
Solar Power – With the recent increases in electricity prices throughout the United States, it just makes sense to install solar electricity panels at home. Not only is solar power clean, sustainable and free, it is also less expensive to install than it’s ever been. In fact many people with solar panels find that they can depend on them for all or most of their electricity needs. The only drawback is that solar power does not produce electricity on cloudy days or at night. That is why many people who’ve invested in solar panels also choose to put in a wind turbine as well.
Wind Turbines – Wind turbines are nothing more than small windmills that are used for producing electricity. As we mentioned, they are also used in combination with solar electricity and they have proved extremely efficient at producing electricity. That is one reason the Europeans have invested so heavily in them. Another reason is that they are cheap. The average home wind turbine can be installed for only a few hundred dollars. They are nearly maintenance free and will produce electricity whenever the wind blows.
Hybrid Cars – Even though hybrid cars are more expensive then your average vehicle, you will soon realize the benefits of saving on gas. It’s nice to know you can save up to $1500 a year just because you purchased a better and more efficient energy car. If you look at the big picture you will save $15,000 over a decade.
Fluorescent Lights – Your average light bulb lasts for about 1,000 hours. Even though you won’t find most of them to be too costly, it’s much better to use fluorescent lights. They offer close to 10,000 hours worth of lightly, help you save a tremendous amount of money on your electricity, and give you the opportunity to recycle them when they’ve run out. All of these are great for helping the environment.
Energy Efficient Windows – Believe if or not, most of the heat that is lost from your home during the winter is lost because of poorly constructed windows. Making an investment in energy efficient windows is probably the best thing you can do to instantly lower your heating bill.
So there you have it, a few solid suggestions on how each and every one of us can do our part and stop being ugly Americans.