Climate for Action: Energy Efficiency

About the author: Ashley Sims, a senior at Indiana University, is a fall intern with EPA’s Office of Children’s Health Protection and Environmental Education through the Washington Leadership Program.

My weekly blog is part of EPA’s campaign to engage middle and high school students in a discussion on global climate change and its effects on children’s health. As mentioned before, it’s my privilege to give students the opportunity to express their own thoughts on this issue. I look forward to hearing your comments. Now let’s get started on this week’s topic – energy efficiency.

Some of you may have heard of the ENERGY STAR label – you can find it on qualified light bulbs, cordless phones, and other electronics. If I may say so myself, ENERGY STAR qualified products are great to have because they use less energy, save money, and help protect the environment and health. The ENERGY STAR label means a product has met the energy-efficient standards set by EPA and the Department of Energy.

We use electricity for lighting, operating appliances, and producing hot and cold water. When coal and other fossil fuels are burned to create electricity, greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere. In fact, according to the greenhouse gas calculator on the EPA website, the average household of two produces about 16,290 pounds a year of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Did you know that different power plants use different types of fuel, and a power plant that runs on coal gives off more greenhouse gases per unit of electricity than a power plant that uses natural gas? The build up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is causing the climate to change.

It’s really important for us to be energy conscious and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Here’s what you can do –

  • Get involved today and encourage your parents to replace their light bulbs with ones that have the ENERGY STAR label. According to the ENERGY STAR website, if every American home replaced one light with an ENERGY STAR qualified light bulb, the reduction in greenhouse gases would be the same as taking 800,000 cars off the road.
  • Get your parents to take the ENERGY STAR pledge.
  • Check out how you can save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emission in your own room.
  • Join the campaign to create a new climate for action.

And make sure to let me know what you’re doing to save energy.