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  • Writer's pictureBeltsville News

Energy Awareness Month By Dr. Kandis Boyd

Updated: Dec 1, 2021

October is Energy Awareness Month. Energy Awareness Month, first implemented by President Bush in 1991, encourages citizens, companies, and government entities to raise awareness of the importance of sustainability and managing the nation's energy resources. Energy Awareness Month is a time for citizens, companies, and the government to put energy efficient habits to practice. Energy awareness means developing ideas on how to save energy and water through energy management, building optimization, energy resilience and the use of advanced and distributed energy technologies. Energy awareness includes developing innovative ideas, products and programs to optimize energy resilience.

Clean energy, green energy, and renewable energy are often used interchangeably. These terms all have the same goal - to develop a greener future by using less energy now. These energy initiatives include developing legislation, regulatory proceedings, and implementing programs and projects to encourage both companies and residents to become more energy efficient. For example, encouraging businesses and residents to use solar power is an initiative designed to use less electricity. The highest levels of energy usage typically occur in summer and winter, related to cooling and heating, so it's important to investigate energy use behaviors, while also taking steps to prepare to become more energy-efficient.

Here are some tips to transform the way you use energy:

1. Install automatic light sensors, LED lighting, or a different type of lighting system to reduce waste. Use natural daylight and reduce or eliminate artificial lighting when possible.

2. Take showers instead of baths to reduce the amount of hot water used. In addition, run the dishwasher only when you have a full load. In addition, program the dishwasher to use less water and to air dry dishes.

3. Close your blinds and drapes at night in the winter to keep the cold air out. Likewise keep blinds and drapes drawn during the day to prevent sun rays from entering the home.

4. In the summer, avoid setting your thermostat to a colder setting than normal to cool faster. It will not cool faster and will just use more energy. Likewise, in the winter, lowering the temperature 2-3 degrees can save money as well as save 10% on energy usage.

5. When you leave the room, turn off appliances, lighting, and electrical devices. Install timers to limit energy usage. In addition, paint walls a pale color to increase light reflection in a room.

6. Address heating and ventilation leaks. In the summer, opt to use fans in addition to or in lieu of a central air conditioner. Fix drafty windows and doors to reduce waste. Install dual or double pane windows which keeps heat in during the winter and keeps heat out during the summer.

7. Don’t speed. For every mile-per-hour over 55 mph, the average vehicle loses almost two percent in gas mileage. Also consider switching to electric or hybrid vehicles for personal and professional use.

8. Conduct a simple do-it-yourself energy audit of your home or office to pinpoint where energy is being lost.

9. Reduce waste and install energy efficient electrical devices, such as appliances. Keep roofs a light color so they will absorb less heat.

10. Research alternative energy options, such as solar energy or wind energy for your company or residence.

There are also local, state, and federal programs geared toward increasing energy awareness, so stay connected and stay informed. The State of Maryland has a website to inform the public about Energy Awareness: Energy awareness improvement plans help current and future generations benefit from a smarter, stronger, cleaner and more resilient energy infrastructure and a healthier environment, equitably and inclusively. The goal of energy awareness is to develop sustainable, clean, safe and reliable energy for both companies and citizens. Every contribution to saving energy, no matter how small, will have a meaningful impact, so do your part to increase energy awareness.

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