No one is immune from the images and newsfeeds regarding the BP oil spill crisis in the Gulf of Mexico. From all indications, it will be a long time before we recover from the effects that this event has and will have on wildlife, the economy in the Gulf region, the health and beauty of our southern coastal regions and, ultimately, the cost of oil.
So maybe now is a good time to Declare Your Energy Independence. Our dependence on oil could be curtailed if we could find affordable alternative sources of energy. The U.S. is a very large consumer of energy that is affordable unlike many other parts of the world. Now is the perfect time to re-evaluate and re-commit to embracing sustainable, energy efficient practices. There are several ways to begin to reduce your carbon footprint both in buildings you occupy and in your personal habits:
- Support research and development of alternative energy sources such as wind or solar technology to lower our dependence on fossil fuels.
- Conduct an energy audit of your home to determine where energy leakages occur. EnergyStar.gov offers useful information on how to conduct your own audit or locate a professional.
- Take advantage of the Energy Tax Credit of $1,500 which is available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 by improving insulation in attics and walls or reroofing with solar reflective or photovoltaic roofing products to the home. The tax credit is scheduled to expire at the end of the year.
- Show support for the Home Star legislation which provides rebates on energy efficient products and subsidizes audits. The proposed bill referred to as “Cash for Caulkers” includes 13 types of energy efficient retrofits that could be eligible for funding.
- Walk or ride a bike instead of driving when possible. Change to LED light bulbs. Dry your clothes outside instead of in a dryer. Unplug charges and appliances when not in use. Consider adding insulation in your home to increase energy efficiency and reduce your energy costs.
On July 4, 2010 declare you energy independence and share with us your ideas for reducing your carbon footprint.