With the passage of the recent stimulus bill, $18 billion is allocated in transforming the United States into an energy efficient country. Billions are being spent not only in the investment in green technology, but in modernizing our infrastructure and weatherizing our homes. Most of the funds are being spent on a large governmental level, however there are things individuals can do to make their homes more energy efficient, and lessen their impact on the environment.

Every year an average American household produces 7.4 metric tons of CO2 per year.  There are basic ways to decrease that amount which require little financial investment. By simply placing curtains in front of windows, it traps the heat in the room during winter months and blocks the sun from heating it in the summer. Check your window frames and seal any cracks you may find. While inspecting your widows, inspect your walls and attic for insulation. Insulation in walls is what curtains are for windows. Instead of using your parents pink fiberglass ones from the 1950’s, try recycled paper insulation. As you continue your house inspection look at your appliances and light bulbs. Get rid of the 1980 microwave and dishwasher and get ones from the last 10 years. You will be surprise how inefficient they are compared with their more modern counterparts. If you haven’t already changed you light bulbs do it! We waste about 10%  of energy through inefficiently lighting our buildings. If nothing else, it will at least pay for itself in your first electric bill. Change the head of all your facets to allow less water to flow out. Less consumption of water means less energy used to transport it and less energy to heat it. You should also consider showering with someone. Less energy is consumed, less water is used, and is always an interesting time. Once you have completed the inside of your house, head outside to your yard.

The landscaping around your house also affects the amount of energy your house consumes. One of the easiest things to do is plant a tree or bushes by the house. The vegetation will provide shade for your house and keep it cooler on hot sunny days. Consider starting a small garden in your yard.  On average,  American foods travels an estimated 1,500 miles before being consumed.  Way more than the energy you will use to walk to your garden and cut the broccoli yourself.

Unless you have lived under a rock for the past 6 months, you are aware of the social consciousness desiring for energy change. The allocated funds from the government will take months, even years, before their changes will provide a lasting effect. However, there are a multitude of things individuals can do to have an immediate impact. Although the government is forcing the market in this direction, it is our responsibility to ensure we have enough energy to continue our way of life. Because if we don’t, who will?