SMUD ACT Program Presents: Why Does Energy Efficiency Matter?

No, it’s not about the ever so teenage anxiety-inducing ACT test.

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I’ve been on summer hiatus this week, from 8 to 3:30 everyday. Despite having a reputation and history of being a tree hugger, I first signed up for this program to have that extra line under “achievements” on the upcoming college applications, and considering that I get paid for $450 to be a tree hugger for 5 days, why not, right? Although my motivation for joining this program can be a little side-eyeing, I left it with a completely different outlook and set of knowledge. 

In addition, to the super-amazing food I was provided with, the amount of things I learned in such a short period of time was pretty impressive as well.

For example, I learned that energy efficiency is in fact, not unplugging everything and live like cavemen, but using the less energy to do the same amount of work (or more). Peak demand, which usually occurs at 5pm, is when everyone electricity use or demand is at its higher, which might often lead to the use of peaker plants. However, peaker plants are expensive, not very environmental friendly, and not very reliable, which might lead to power outages, so the best way to avoid this harm is to shift certain unnecessary electricity uses like doing the laundry to hours outside of 3pm to 7pm. We can do this right? After this program, I feel like an expert on light bulbs. Fun fact: despite the charges (about $8.00 per bulb) initially compared to incandescent bulbs ($.50 per bulb), LEDs are way more efficient, lasts the longest (30 years), and great for the environment (one bulb saves 1/2 ton of CO2 from hitting the atmosphere in its lifetime). In the end, the bulbs will pay for itself in around 18 months! And you can even save up to $40,000 in a 54 LED bulb household. DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY THINGS YOU CAN DO WITH THAT MONEY?!

With all the weird fun facts, statistics, and random screaming aside, after planning an outreach energy efficiency campaign for my school, a quite heavy thinking question is presented:

Why do you think that energy efficiency is important?

Here’s a little glimpse into my mind for the 10 minute duration of me scribbling semi-incoherent words onto a piece of paper:

Contrary to popular beliefs, humans do not own the earth. The earth is not only the home to mankind but the living things in it. It is wrong and completely irresponsible of us to destroy our homes and the homes of things we share our planet with for our own needs. And we need to stop this habit. As climate change continues, with 9/10 hottest years on record occurred this decade, it is important to do our best to preserve the planet we live on. I believe energy efficiency and reducing our carbon footprints is a major factor we need to work on. We’re hurting ourselves, the well beings of other, our planet, and our future.

Beyond the environment, other factors play a big role as to why we should care more about how we use our energy as well, like money. By being careful of how you use your energy, you have the potential to put much money back into wallet. I mean, just by replacing the bulbs in your house with LED, you can save $40,000 or even more, can you imagine what you can do if you make a conscious effort to turn off all the unnecessary energy  usage? It would definitely save you a lot of sweat droplets while looking at the bills.

I’m scared of death, I think a lot of us are. With more pollution and more CO2 emissions, we are beginning to forget how it will affect our health as well. Living in a polluted city or region is especially harmful for people with asthma. Though moving somewhere else would seem like a good solution, many of them will not have the resources to make that transition. Think about it like this, would you want to live in a world where you own children have to be so aware of how/what they breathe that they are almost missing out on life? All because of the damages that you and your generation created? We need to take care of ourselves, but we need to be more aware of others’ conditions as well.

All in all, unlike the many threats that we are familiar with, climate change is something that is slowly approaching rather than dropping all at one. With this slowness, we might not even be aware of it, and becomes too lazy to do something about it. Wouldn’t it be easier to handle it now instead of pushing an even heavier load onto the future generation? We are the major cause of all these damages and it’s our role to fix it.

All the love.

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