Home is Where the Start Is

About the author: Maria T. Vargas joined EPA in 1986 and is EPA’s ENERGY STAR® communications and brand manager.

Having worked at EPA for over 20 years, it’s exciting to see that Earth Day still commands attention as people come together to learn how to better protect the environment. This year, on Earth Day we encouraged all Americans to do more to help fight global warming this year by pledging to make changes in their home at the new Change the World, start with the ENERGY STAR website. I think people often forget that each of us can make a difference in protecting our environment and helping reduce greenhouse gases is no exception!

Maria VargasI try to bring the energy-saving practices that I’ve learned at EPA into my own home as much as possible. We’ve changed all our bulbs to ENERGY STAR qualified compact fluorescent bulbs, and we’ve installed a programmable thermostat to automatically set back the heat and air conditioning when we are not at home. Since heating and air conditioning can account for as much as half of the energy used in a home, we’ve upgraded our system to a high efficiency HVAC model and keep the filters clean and the ducts sealed to make sure it is running at peak efficiency.

My kids are great about remembering to turn off the lights in their room when they leave (OK – most of the time!), shutting off the TV when we are not watching it and turning off the water while they are brushing their teeth. And my hi-tech husband is a good sport, too — he agreed to wait for the new, more stringent ENERGY STAR television specification before he bought the wide-screen LCD TV that he had his eye on.

Take the Energy Star pledgeTo see what you can do in your home, take the ENERGY STAR Pledge now and see how you can save energy, save money on your utility bill, and help fight global warming. It is a great way to make every day Earth Day.