We will be adding to our Action page over time. But you can start by reducing your use of energy created by fossil fuels—electricity (75% of Colorado electricity comes from burning coal), natural gas, and gasoline. Determine your carbon footprint and work conscientiously to reduce it.
Take quick, low-cost actions
- Turn things off and turn things down.
- Turn off lights, computers and appliances when not in use.
- Turn down water heater temperature to 120 degrees.
- Make sure every light in your house is a compact fluorescent light bulb. CFLs use 75% less electricity than old style incandescent lights.
Influence your government officials–join an email alert network to take action at appropriate times. Consider one of the following, or find others.
Learn more and share what you learn
- Visit our Solid Science page
- Visit our Web Links page for faith-oriented websites
- Make a daily climate blog you web browsers home page; suggestion: Climate author Joe Romm’s www.climateprogress.org
Find your carbon footprint
- Your carbon footprint is a measure of how much CO2 (the most problematic greenhouse gas) is generated in your home and your transportation choices. Use a carbon calculator to find yours! Some calculators address other greenhouse gases (e.g., methane) as well and give you a “CO2 equivalence” number.
- Carbon calculators don’t all measure exactly the same things. For example, some omit air travel, a major source of CO2. Find one you like an use it consistently for an accurate indication of your reduction efforts.
- Try: Environmental Protection Agency or Iowa Interfaith Power and Light’s Cool Congregations family calculator. Or “google” carbon calculators.
- TIP: contact your utility company for a report showing your electricity and natural gas usage for an entire year.
Educate your congregation
- Ask us (303 429 5792) to do a presentation or workshop for your congregation on climate changes basics, actions you can take, or saving energy at home.
- Post reminders to staff, volunteers, congregants and janitorial services to turn off lights. Post instructions if necessary.
- Post instructions on how to use heating and cooling equipment and programmable thermostats
- Label all controls for heating and cooling equipment
Demand that the government make climate change a priority
- Ask federal, state and local governments to buy climate-friendly vehicles and products. This would help commercialize new technologies and provide an enormous boost to alternative energy. We can’t expect China, India and other growing countries to act until our own government recognizes the threat, and that will not happen until ordinary citizens demand change.
- Contact your US Representative and Senators to make sure they DON’T support blocking the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases.
- Sign up for a legislative alert network to learn the issues and know when it’s vital for you to contact your legislators. We like the Environmental Defense Fund’s network.
Explore great internet resource sites
- Recharge Colorado, the website of the Governor’s Energy Office, has hundreds of tips for reducing energy and a wealth of information on rebates for energy efficiency improvements.
- Xcel Energy has web-viewable video clips on saving energy and more as well as information about your own account and usage history.
- Use Google to search for energy efficiency or climate change action websites.
- Clean filters on heating and cooling equipment
- Close natural circulation air vents during heating season (no sense in losing the heat you paid for)
- Check that optimizers are working properly
Work with nature
- Get seasonal tips from Energy Outreach Colorado: Summer Winter
- Plant deciduous trees, especially on the south- and west-facing sides of your building or home, to reduce heat gain in the summer but allow heat gain in the winter
- Xeriscape to minimize lawn maintenance and watering
- Use ecologically-benevolent lawn care services if possible
- Use drapes, curtains, shades, blinds and/or screens, especially on the south- and west-facing sides of your congregation and home, to block heat gain in the summer, and open them up in the winter to let in the sun
- Install and set programmable (also called setback or clock) thermostats
- Use ‘Smart’ power strips to turn off peripheral equipment when the main unit is turn off
- Use motion sensors to turn lights on and off based on when an area is being used
Control your energy
- Have an energy audit of your home and/or workplace, house of worship. Benefits include: increase comfort, improved aesthetics, financial savings, pollution reduction, climate change reduction.
Tune up your home cooling plan.
- Cool your home using cross ventillation; place fans in windows to draw in evening cooling air on one side of your home, and fans on the side blowing OUTWARD to suck out accumlated warm air. Close windows and blinds during the daytime and open in the evening when outdoor air is cool.
- Evaporative coolers (swamp coolers) use much less electricity than air conditioners.
- If you have an air conditioner, contact your utility about demand response programs. When demand for electricity is expected to exceed supply, utilities can cycle your air conditioner on and off. The utilities offer this program to avert blackouts. You save money by reducing your air conditioning: your utility may offer a lower electric rate for permission to cycle your air conditioner, or give you credit on your electricity bill. Contact your local electric utility for more information.
Improve insulation and windows
- Cellular shades and insulated drapes can produce big savings in both winter and summer. In winter, shades up in daytime, down at night. In summer, shades down in daytime and up at night.
- New windows are expensive, but may improve comfort and reduce energy bills. But caulking to prevent air leakage around the window frames can also be a big help at lower cost.
- Insulate water pipes.
- Insulate, insulate, insulate!
Seal air leaks
- Caulk or weatherstrip as needed.
Purchase clean energy
- Ask your electric utility if it offers a green power product. Green power from your utility may cost a small amount more, but it reduces greenhouse gases. Xcel customers can purchase carbon-free wind energy through Xcel’s Windsource program. Ask your electric utility for details.
- Install solar panels. For more information, contact the Colorado Solar Electric Industry Association.
Purchase clean energy credits
- Your congregation (and you as an individual!) can purchase clean energy credits from the marketer of your choice, but know that not all clean energy credits are alike. Some marketers use credits to help finance new clean energy projects – adding clean energy to our nation’s power mix. Some (like NativeWind) use the credits to finance projects on Native American land only – helping Native Americans. Some marketers are certified by a third party. Some marketers recycle the credits without investing in new projects. Clean energy credits are also called renewable energy credits (RECs), green credits and green tags. They are generally associated with wind, solar, biomass and small hydro projects.
- Colorado has its own carbon credit program, the Colorado Carbon Fund, linked to the Governor’s Energy Office. The funds donated fund carbon reduction programs here in Colorado.
- Many carbon credit programs qualify as tax-exempt donations because they contribute to the general good and are administered by non-profit organizations.
Cut transportation emissions
- Buy a fuel-efficient car; take mass transit; and, when you can, bicycle or walk to work.
- Transportation contributes about 40% of climate-changing emissions. Apart from saving money, using less gas decreases our reliance on unstable Middle Eastern suppliers.
Support green companies
- Buy products from companies that are trying to reduce their own impact on the climate. Companies can do this either through programs that reduce carbon emissions or by enabling consumers to cut down their own emissions (which now average 20 tons annually per person). If consumers demand climate-friendly products and practices, companies will deliver.