There are 110 million families and 27 million small businesses in the United States whose collective energy use is a national problem. James Hansen, one of the early scientists who sounded the alarm to congress in 1988 made a point of saying "the biggest worry isn't what we put in our cars, but what we put in our power plants". It is consumers and small businesses who use the electricity that these plants create, and account for the majority of energy waste in our society.
There are two articles which compliment this introduction. The first speaks to changing our attitude on energy saving (what we feel) and the second to our awareness on energy saving (what we know) - in particular knowledge of energy efficiency, energy conservation and energy waste. I do encourage readers in our community to read these articles.
Our attitude to energy will determine the decisions we make and the actions we take over the next years. For example, if we feel energy efficiency is important, we will think about energy and are more likely to invest our money in an electric car than if we do not.
Caring about energy and thinking that an electric car will save energy may result in you wanting an electric car. Here is the issue. Wanting an electric car does not make an electric car the correct vehicle for you to buy. Without accurate knowledge (awareness) on electric cars , the availability of charging stations, battery life, commuter profile etc. you will be vulnerable to sharp sales people and making decisions that feel right, but are not right for you.
Accurate knowledge is critical to making good choices. A wrong decision is does not become a good decision because it felt good! I can easily imagine a situation where we all correctly think (attitude) that there is a serious energy crisis, but have no useful knowledge (awareness) of what need be done about it. Investigative journalism is at an all time low, while media marketing and hype is at an all time high. As a well known author said a few years ago "we have lost the ability to read" - and because we do not read, we are easily deceived by what sounds good, or even worse, just looks good!
It is a great sadness to me that people who do not care about energy saving (have poor attitude) are seldom attracted to an energy saving scam. It is not that they are too wise to get caught, it is that they do not get attracted to the appeal for saving energy in the first place.
So where can we go to learn about saving energy in a free and unbiased way. I hope that you will work through our guide on saving electricity where we link to real people and their experiences. We live in a world where so much of what the media presents to us is little more than marketing and political manipulation. It is not right when people who decide to care about energy find themselves the unwitting victim of a scam.
On a lighter note, as I encourage you to reflect on your energy attitude, and your energy awareness, I was reading a posting on a friends web site Tired of Feeling Guilty in which she comments "As a mother of two, I have guilt that keeps me up pretty much every night of my life for things I could have done or said better, a class I should have them enrolled in, or a million other things I feel I should be doing that I’m not ... The truth is that I’m tired of feeling guilty about what I’m not doing. So today, I’m going to give myself a little pat on the back for the things that I am doing to try to make a difference – no matter how pitifully small they may seem to those who do so much more than me.
The smart grid is on its way at last. There are now a number of exciting technologies that will help us monitor and manage energy consumption. But better than this, there are now products, like smart thermostats, that can automatically act on the data being received. If we focus on these products, and please avoid any talk of power factor correction (it is a scam for almost all consumers) you will SAVE energy.
It is good to be reminded that life is a process of progress rather than perfection. I encourage you to give yourself a "break" for the things that you have not done. We cannot change what is behind us, but it is not helping when you allow it to be a burden to what lies ahead.
To all those saving energy each day, please remain persistent for what you are doing does matter!
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