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Mole's Progressive Democrat

The Progressive Democrat Newsletter grew out of the frustration of the 2004 election. Originally intended for New York City progressives, its readership is now national. For anyone who wants to be alerted by email whenever this newsletter is updated (usually weekly), please send your email address and let me know what state you live in (so I can keep track of my readership).

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Location: Brooklyn, New York, United States

I am a research biologist in NYC. Married with two kids living in Brooklyn.

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  • Sunday, February 20, 2011

    From GreenAmerica.org: Ten Easy Ways to Cut Your Energy Use In Half

    I have been connected to GreenAmerica.org since they called themselves Co-op America and had a catalog to buy cool things from. Here is a recent article from their website: (not all suggestions will fit everyone's situation, but do what you can and you will save energy and money)

    10 Easiest Ways to Cut Your Energy Use in Half

    1. Turn Off the Lights
    Save 2%*
    Be mindful about shutting lights off when you leave a room. If you have a forgetful family member or roommate, paste reminders on the switchplates or consider installing motion-detector switches.

    ADVANCED: Replace your bulbs with CFLs or LEDs.

    2. Install Ceiling Fans
    Save 19%
    Install Energy Star ceiling fans in the rooms you use most often. They’ll help keep you cool in the summer while your AC works less or not at all. In the winter, switch them to turn clockwise to circulate the warm air rising up to the ceiling back down into the room.

    ADVANCED: Go with a white roof or install a greenroof, which will prevent heat loss through the roof in winter and cool your home down in the summer.

    3. Show Your Fridge Some Love
    Save 4%
    The refrigerator is one of the biggest energy-users in your home, and if it was built before 1993, it’s a huge energy hog. Clean the coils on your fridge every six months to keep it running efficiently, and take up unused space with jugs of water, which will hold in the cold better. Eliminate a second refrigerator, if you have one.

    4. Wash Clothes in Cold, Let Them Air Dry
    Save 9%
    Washing clothes in cold water gets them just as clean as hot, and cuts your washer’s energy use in half. Drying your clothes on an outdoor line or indoor rack can save around $100 in energy costs every year.

    ADVANCED: Water and energy use are intertwined: producing energy uses water, and providing clean drinking water requires energy. Take steps to conserve water everywhere in your home.

    5. Upgrade Appliances
    Save 12+%
    Appliances use 20 percent of the energy in the average US home. When it’s time to buy new appliances, look for the most efficient Energy Star model you can find. The biggest energy hogs in a home are usually the refrigerator (particularly if it was built before 1993) and clothes dryer.

    6. Give Your Water Heater a Blanket
    Save 1 - 3%
    Adding an insulating cover to your water heater can reduce heat loss by 24-45 percent. Also, turn your water heater down by ten degrees, if possible. If half of US households did so, it would prevent 239 tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

    ADVANCED: Upgrade to a tankless or solar water heater, and save 14% off your energy bill.

    7. Plug Air Leaks
    Save 12%
    Replacing windows is often the least cost-effective step you can take to save energy, so seal air leaks around doors and windows instead with caulk and weatherstripping. For tips on sealing and refurbishing old wood windows, see our article. Also, consider putting up insulating curtains, pasting low-e film to the window glass, and installing storm windows or plastic window films to further cut down on heat loss in winter.

    ADVANCED: Get a RESNET or Home Performance with Energy Star audit to help pinpoint your biggest energy losses.

    8. Use Your Programmable Thermostat
    Save 10%
    Nearly half of US homes already have a programmable thermostat. Dig out that owner’s manual and learn how to use yours to maximize the efficiency of your heating and cooling systems. Program your thermostat to turn itself down or off when you’re sleeping or are at work or school.

    ADVANCED: Get a RESNET or Home Performance with Energy Star audit to help pinpoint your biggest energy losses.

    9. Air Dry Dishes
    Save 3%
    Using your dishwasher instead of washing dishes by hand can save water, but if you let the drying cycle run, you’re wasting energy and money. Skip the drying cycle and let your dishes air dry. Newer, more effective and efficient dishwashers allow you to skip the step of pre-rinsing your dishes before you load them in the dishwasher.

    ADVANCED: Run your dishwasher (and your clothes washer, for that matter) at night, during off-peak hours. It’s our country’s peak demand that determines the expansion of dirty coal-fired power plants.

    10. "Eliminate Phantom Load"
    Save 5%
    Many electronics still suck energy even when they’re turned off--such as powering that little clock on your microwave when it’s not in use. Unplug your electronics or plug them into a power strip and switch it off to save on this “phantom load.”

    ADVANCED: Use a Kill-A-Watt meter to measure the energy use of appliances and gadgets, even when they’re turned off. You can also keep track of your home’s entire energy use with a whole-house energy monitor.

    * Approximate energy savings based on the average home using 11,000 kWh electricity and 19,000 cubic feet of natural gas per year.



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