the short list

In 2008, Gerald T. Gardner and Paul C. Stern published an article in Environment Magazine called “The Short List” in which they describe actions households can take to reduce energy consumption.

Their beef with other lists: Previously, no distinction had been made between higher-impact actions (usually focused around efficiency) & lower impact actions (based around curtailing, or consciously going about changing a repeated action). Their response: Develop a list that provides actions a household can take. Rank them based on impact & feasibility while limiting financial investment. The result: A wonderful article & helpful guide to reduce your environmental footprint, your energy costs & total U.S. energy consumption by nearly 11 percent.

Keep in mind: The savings listed below are approximate, based on what you already have in place. Also keep in mind: Their estimated savings for investments (heating & cooling units, vehicles, etc.) are based on the idea that existing units are used until they no longer function at their optimal levels.

Rather than explaining all the benefits & easiest steps to you, I wanted to post the main table that they established–one which provides a range of commitment & cost levels, a mix of repeated & one-time actions. Take a minute to read through the list, feel good because odds are you’re doing one of these things already, & then pick a next task to attack. Many of these tasks are already becoming widely acknowledged, like

(1) How hard is it to check the air in your tires? And who would have guess that it could account for 1.2 percent of energy costs?

(2) Don’t like those goofy-looking light bulbs everyone tells you will save money? Would you like them if you realized they could cut your energy bill by up to four percent? (Not to mention they’re nearly ten times more efficient than the incandescent bulbs.)

My suggestion (that uses energy)? Print this list & put it on your fridge. Make it an effort to work through the list by 2013 (or if you’re renting, talk to your landlord about what can be done to improve your building’s efficiency). Check out the rest of the article to see the other tables, their ideas & the savings that could continue stacking up for you.

I came across this article in the required reading for my Human Behavior & Energy Consumption course, one that I think will provide many Being Conscious blog post as the semester roles on, & one that I think will prove most useful to my career after leaving graduate school. I hope that this chart brings you some fresh ideas on energy savings, or at least a better lens for making energy decisions.


About meganbetz

human geography PhD Student at Indiana University; wife, reader, writer, baker, gardener
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One Response to the short list

  1. Pingback: energy | francofile

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