Energy efficiency is an easy way to make a difference on climate

Energy efficiency is an easy way to make a difference on climate
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Over the past week, climate took center stage with students around the world conducting a climate strike, and the United Nations holding both a conference on the existential threat of global warming and releasing a report detailing the damage already done to our oceans.  

While all these events showed promise in dealing with climate change, they also left many asking what they can do next to help stem the tide. 

Tomorrow provides at least one answer. It's Energy Efficiency Day, which is an opportunity to cast a bright (albeit energy efficient) light on one of the easiest ways to contribute to fighting climate change. 

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America can reduce our overall energy use 40 to 60 percent below current levels by midcentury by using better technologies and eliminating waste. This shouldn’t be surprising when you consider that, in 2018, more than two-thirds of the energy we produced went to waste.

Even if we used polluting and dangerous fuels more efficiently, damage from activities such as drilling, mining, pipeline construction, coal trains and the discharge of radioactive waste still do tremendous harm to our world. But when you consider the tremendous amount that is wasted in the production and use of energy, it only makes matters worse.

Here are some actions you can take at home this Energy Efficiency Day to make a difference.

For instance, you should avoid screensavers on your home computers or televisions and opt for low power or sleep modes instead. Or, try changing out your light bulbs for LEDs. (Fun fact: LEDs are the world’s most energy-efficient lighting, using up to 15 percent less energy than compact fluorescent bulbs.)  

Caulking and weatherstripping windows is another simple and effective way to avoid requiring more energy to keep your home at a comfortable temperature. You can opt for energy efficiency-certified products in the kitchen, including refrigerators, microwaves and dishwashers, which have come a long way in becoming more efficient. (Additional fun fact: the average microwave uses more power displaying the time in one year than it does heating your food.)

For those ready to make a bigger commitment, you can buy an electric car Plug-in hybrids or electric cars can reduce smog-forming emissions by 93 percent and are much more energy efficient in general compared to gasoline-fueled vehicles.

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Once you’ve embraced these changes, encourage your neighbors, family and friends to do so as well. Join together with your community to demand better programs to help us all save energy. What is your state doing to address energy waste? Your city or town? Urge our local, state and national officials to do more.

Over the last decade, we’ve made some progress in this area, with energy consumption per capita in the U.S. falling by almost 8 percent from 2007 to 2018. But even as we celebrate, we know that more must be done to reduce energy waste.

Energy savings and efficiency is our cheapest and easiest climate solution. We have the resources. We have the technology. We have the power to protect our planet, our climate and our health.

There is a better way. It’s time to get more efficient.

Rob Sargent is senior director of Environment America's Energy Program.