These days, most people are looking to save energy for two primary reasons — to save money and to help the environment. Each year, protecting the planet becomes increasingly important as we hear climate change activists continue to warn about a volatile future unless we reduce our carbon footprint. That makes this year’s Earth Hour even more pertinent.
The World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) first organized Earth Hour in Australia in 2007 in order to raise awareness and bring people together to protect the planet. The very first Earth Hour encouraged all Sydney residents to turn off their lights for just one hour. More than 2.2 million individuals and 2,000 businesses took part in the first Earth Hour, according to www.earthhour.org. Clearly people were interested in helping Mother Earth!
Nearly 10 years later, the event continues to resonate with people — but now all over the world. Earth Hour now takes place in more than 7,000 cities and towns worldwide, with hundreds of millions of people participating. If you want to be one of them, here’s what you need to know. This year’s Earth Hour begins on Saturday, March 19 from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. in your local time zone. To participate in this year’s event, you just have to turn off your non-essential lights for one hour. But if you want to be “green” all year long, here are three ways to do so.
1. Turn off or replace your lighting.
As Earth Hour suggests, turn off the lights! Turning off lights as you leave the room will save you energy. But to save even more, you can replace all of your lightbulbs with LEDs or compact fluorescent bulbs. Both of these types of lightbulbs are energy efficient and are reported to last significantly longer than incandescent bulbs. That means you’ll save energy and spend less over time!
2. Swap out your appliances.
Replace your old appliances with energy-efficient ones. The Natural Resources Defense Council suggests looking for the Energy Star® label when shopping for new appliances. These models are the most energy efficient in any product category, it states. Oftentimes, you can even get a rebate on these models just for going “green.” Plus, new appliances will give your home a more up-to-date look, so that’s an added benefit.
3. Change the way you heat and cool.
In the summertime, instead of cranking up the A/C, open the windows and let the breeze in! You don’t have to do this all summer long. We know it can get pretty hot in some regions of the country! But even opening the windows on warm — not hot — days will save tons of energy. And during the winter, add some energy-efficient heating to your home. Radiant floor heating and radiant panels can add supplemental warmth to the rooms you use most. Although they use electricity, they’re more efficient than baseboard and forced-air heating, according to energy.gov. That’s because hot air often leaks out through the ductwork in forced-air systems.
You can also replace your thermostat with an energy-saving model, like the Nest, to help regulate how you heat and cool your home. The Nest provides monthly reports that show how much energy you’re saving, and if offers tips on how to save even more. WarmlyYours’ radiant floor heating integrates with the Nest, so you can even monitor the energy savings of your heated floors!