Did you make a new year's resolution to decrease your impact on the environment and learn more about impacts on Climate Change? AEC is committed to educating individuals, communities, and industries on ways they can minimize their impacts on Climate Change through changes in behavior. The following are recommendations for a start.

It is estimated that changing a single incandescent light bulb to a compact fluorescent can save at least $20 a year.  Other factors that are not mentioned are the energy savings, that in Alabama means less coal burned;  heat difference between incandescent and fluorescent; and brighter light possible with CFL's, requiring fewer lights.  And when they stop working, dispose of them properly.

In 2006, 1,431,980 pounds of material were recycled at the AEC's Birmingham recycling center alone.  Reduce, Re-use, Recycle is more than just a catchy slogan.  It saves landfill space, as well as costs with dumping.  It utilizes materials that have already been extracted and refined.  And, in most cases, it takes less energy to create something from recycled materials than from virgin materials.

A tremendous amount of energy is wasted for the purpose of extraction, filtration, heating, and pumping water, often to flush down the toilet or water the yard.  Install low-flow showerheads and low-use toilets to reduce consumption.  Install a water heating system that only heats on demand.  Take a shower instead of a bath and make it a short one.  Wash fewer clothes and be sure to do it in cold water.  Install Rain-barrels and Rain-gardens to harness na

Plant a TreeA single tree will absorb nearly a ton of carbon dioxide over its lifetime.  Trees help to shade your home, adding to efficiency, as well as help cool communities.  They also filter air, decreasing health risks to pollution.  They also help us connect to nature.  While you're at it, plant a garden and grow your own vegetables.

Change Driving HabitsWalk, bike, carpool, or take mass transit as often as possible.  You will save energy while enjoying nature.  If you must drive, group errands together to reduce unnecessary trips.  Also, be sure to keep your car well maintained and your tires properly inflated.

Adjust the TemperatureAdjusting your thermostat 2 degrees down in winter and 2 degrees up in summer can save a ton of carbon dioxide.  Also, adjust your hot water heater to the lowest setting for your needs.  It takes a lot of energy to heat water, that you add cold to, just to make it comfortable. 

Less Packaging Buy Locally Don't use paper OR plastic!

Buy items that require less packaging.  Not only is it wasteful, it takes more space in transportation increasing fuel consumption in that process.  Buy local whenever possible.  It is estimated that food travels an estimated 1,000 miles from where it is grown/produced to your plate.  Support local agriculture and decrease shipping waste.  Say NO to Paper and Plastic:  bring your own cloth-bag to the store and re-use any bags you do get.

Turn off PowerPlug your electronics into 6-plug outlets and turn them off when not in use.  Many electronics still use electricity, even when they are off, but still plugged in.  Also, turn off lights when you leave a room.  Unplug everything but the refrigerator and adjust the air and water-heater when you go on vacation.  It is said by some that decreasing energy consumption could single-handedly have the biggest impact Global Warming.

Insulate your home and businessA tremendous amount of energy is wasted heating and cooling attics and basements/crawl spaces.  Much of the air we make more comfortable ends up escaping our houses requiring extra energy than needed.  Wrap your water-heater with an insulating blanket and wrap the first 2' of tubing.  If you cannot change leaky windows, use plastic liners to block out/in air.  Use weather stripping around windows and doors.

In order to take it to the next level our elected and appointed officials must become committed to these types of changes.  Send a post-card, letter, or email; make a phone call; or visit your officials when they invite the public for input.

 

Think of how much of an impact you can have if you do these items and more, then multiply your efforts through those that you come in contact with.  Even people who do not consider themselves Environmentalist still love to save money!