Yellow Canary

Energy Efficiency


Regardless of what kind of energy we use, using energy efficiently matters. With smart and careful use of energy by individuals, business and government, we will be able to turn-back the croaching threat of global-warming and enjoy our world and the conveniences we have come to depend on.

A carbon footprint is the measure of the amount of carbon dioxide -- the major man-made global warming greenhouse gas -- that goes into the atmosphere as you go about your daily life. Almost everything you do affects it: turning on a coffee maker, driving a car, buying food and taking a ride on a passenger jet.

Reducing Your Carbon Footprint: 7 June 2006
Erik Daehler loves to travel. But every time he gets on an airplane, he knows his carbon footprint gets bigger. "It's had a horrible imprint on my carbon footprint," admits the 30-year-old physicist and aerospace engineer from Southern California . . . Air travel accounts for about 3.5 percent of the human contribution to global warming, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The good news is you can offset -- if not eliminate -- your carbon footprint by making choices that can even save you money. [READ FULL STORY]
cite: by: Clayton Sandell,

Traveling Responsibly, Traveling Green: 13 April 2007 Podcast: Tom Arnold of joins podcast host David Lytle to explain terms and concepts like carbon offsets, and to talk about why we're still a long way off from truly sustainable travel. Listen in to understand how your travels impact the environment, and how you can responsibly plan future trips.
cite: By The Frommer's Staff

"What do I give up to do that air travel?" asked Daehler. "Well, maybe I won't use the heater as much this winter."

Nearly Painless Saving Energy Tips

Stay tuned . . . this section will grow as we find more tips - or as you email your tips to us at


Make sure your fridge and freezer run efficiently by defrosting regularly and setting to the right temperature. This will keep your CO2 emissions, and your bills, to a minimum.

Fill up your washing machine: Using full loads will keep your weekly wash number down, saving you money on water, electricity, soap, and helping the environment too.

Electronic Equipment

Unplug Un-Used Electronics: Even when electronic devices are turned off, they use energy. Save over 1,000 lbs of carbon dioxide and $256 per year.

Hot Water

Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings: Types of Water Heaters, Selecting a New Water Heater, Water Heater Efficiency, Comparing the True Costs of Water Heaters, Upgrading Your Existing Water Heater

Switch to a Tankless Water Heater or Solar Water Heater: Your water will be heated as you use it rather than keeping a tank of hot water. Save x lbs. of carbon dioxide and $390 per year

Insulate Your Water Heater: Keep your water heater insulated could save 1,000 lbs. of carbon dioxide and $40 per year. Also insulate the first 6 feet of the hot and cold water pipes connected to the water heater.

Drain a quart of water from your water tank every 3 months to remove sediment that impedes heat transfer and lowers the efficiency of your heater.

Take Shorter Showers: Showers account for 2/3 of all water heating costs. Save 350 lbs. of carbon dioxide and $99 per year.

Install aerating, low-flow faucets and showerheads.

Repair leaky faucets promptly: a leaky faucet wastes gallons of water in a short period of time.

Ceilings & Walls

Up to 35% of the heat generated in your home is lost through your walls. Installing cavity wall insulation could cut your fuel bills $130-$200 per year and save large amounts of CO2 from escaping into the atmosphere.

Save$40-$60 on your fuel bills and a tons of CO2, by fitting 180mm of ceiling insulation - it will only cost you a few hundred dollars, but will stop the 25% of heat from your house disappearing through the roof.

Windows & Doors

Switch to Double Pane Windows: Double pane windows keep more heat inside your home so you use less energy. Save 10,000 lbs. of carbon dioxide and $436 per year.

Exterior Doors: can contribute significantly to air leakage in a home—as well as some heat transfer—if it's old, not properly installed, and/or not properly air sealed. This can result in energy losses.

Adding a Storm door: This can be a good investment if your existing door is old but still in good condition. However, adding a storm door to a newer, insulated door is not generally worth the expense since you won't save much more energy.

Heating & Cooling Systems

Install an energy efficient boiler: If your boiler is over 15 years old it may not be energy efficient. Upgrading your furnace or boiler from 56% to 90% efficiency in an average cold-climate house will save 1.5 tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year if you heat with gas, or 2.5 tons if you heat with oil.

Check your ducts for air leaks. Look for sections that should be joined but have separated and obvious holes. Safe duct repairs require a licensed heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning contractor. [ Improving the Efficiency of Your Dust System (pdf) ]

Heat pumps with outdoor coils: The location of the outdoor unit may affect its efficiency. Outdoor units should be protected from high winds, which can cause defrosting problems. You can strategically place a bush or a fence upwind of the coils to block the unit from high winds.

Proper operation of your heat pump will also save energy. Do not set back the heat pump's thermostat if it causes the backup heating to come on; backup heating systems are usually more expensive to operate. Continuous indoor fan operation can degrade heat pump performance unless a high-efficiency, variable-speed fan motor is used. Operate the system on the "auto" fan setting on the thermostat.

Turn the heat down!: Turning your thermostat down by just 2°C you'll cut as much as 10% off your heating bill - if you and your friends' households all did this you could save 3.6 tons of CO2 per year. (There are also some health benefits to maintaining lower temperatures/higher levels of relative humidity than most "cold weather" homes maintain during the winter.)

Keep the temperature fairly constant: short term & frequent changes will use more energy. Do set back the temperature at night.

Keep your furnace/boiler clean: Oil-fired boilers should be professionally cleaned and tuned once a year. Gas-fired equipment needs to be checked every other year. Clean or replace furnace filters once a month or as needed.

Keep the hot air flowing! Clean warm-air registers, baseboard heaters, and radiators as needed. Make sure they are not blocked by furniture, carpeting, or drapes.

Drapes and shades: Keep them open on south-facing windows open during the heating season to allow sunlight to enter your home; close them at night to reduce the chill you may feel from cold windows.

Close off unoccupied rooms: Turn down the thermostat or turn off the heat for those rooms. Except: do not turn the heating off if it adversely affects the rest of your system. For example, if you heat your house with a heat pump, do not close the vents—closing the vents could harm the heat pump.

Turn ventilating fans off as soon as they are no longer needed. In about 1 hour, fans can pull out a house-full of warmed or cooled air.

On the Road

Buy a Hybrid Car: The average driver could save 16,000 lbs. of CO2 and $3,750 per year driving a hybrid.

Bank of America to Offer Hybrid Car Rebates 7 June 2006
Bank of America Corp. plans to roll out a pilot hybrid vehicle purchase plan for employees [June 7 2006] that could eventually make it the nation's largest corporate sponsor of the fuel-friendly cars and sport utility vehicles. Initially, [it] will be limited to about 21,000 bank employees working in Los Angeles County, Boston and Charlotte, N.C., where BofA is headquartered. But eventually as many as 175,000 employees in the U.S. could be eligible, spokesman Michael Chee said.
cite: By John O'Dell,

"This is a very good thing, helpful to the bank employees and to those who want to see hybrids succeed," said Ron Cogan, San Luis Obispo-based publisher of Green Car Journal. " And because this is such a big company," said Cogan, who consults for the auto industry on alternative-fuel and low-emission technologies, " other businesses will be watching to see if it works. So it could help spur more of these programs."

Reduce your driving emissions and the amount you spend on fuel as well as wear and tear on your car:

  1. Avoid hard acceleration
  2. Keep your speed down
  3. Only make essential car journeys
  4. Walk or cycle on short trips
  5. Share car journeys with others
  6. Work with your school to reduce the school run
  7. Make sure your car is serviced regularly
  8. Check your tire pressure every week
  9. Travel before or after the rush hour to avoid congestion
  10. Travel light and remove unnecessary loads and roof racks

Businesses Can Save Energy & Money

United Illuminating's Energy Conscious Blueprint and Energy Opportunities: The United Illuminating Company, 157 Church Street, New Haven, CT 06510, 877-WISE-USE (877-947-3873).
These UI Programs pay cash incentives to commercial and industrial customers who build energy-efficient technology into their facilities. Energy Blueprint is for new construction and renovations. Energy Opportunities is for retrofits in existing facilities. Contact Information: Roy W. Haller (203) 499-2025 - e-mail

New York Coffee Company Now 100 Percent Wind Powered: May 10, 2006
Wayne, PA - Monkey Joe Roasting Company, a New York based coffee bean roaster, today announced a wind energy purchase equal to 100 percent of its energy use. Supplied by wind energy marketer and developer Community Energy, Inc., Monkey Joe Roasting Company has committed to a five year purchase.

Monkey Joe Roasting Co. is an authentic coffee roastery and coffee bar, located in Kingston, New York offering coffee from the world over. Equal to their passion for coffee is the company's commitment to improve the lives of people in coffee producing communities and to offer a variety of socially and environmentally responsible products. Compared to the average generation mix in the New York electric grid, the environmental benefit of Monkey Joe Roasting Company's five year wind energy purchase is equivalent to offsetting more than 200,000 pounds of carbon dioxide, or planting more than 14,000 trees. [READ FULL STORY]

Gabe Cicale, owner of Monkey Joe Roasting Company said, "We had concerns at Monkey Joe about the amount of greenhouse gases our businesses generated every time we made a latte. Our customers tell us they appreciate that the coffee shop's purchase of wind power allows us to offset our carbon footprint."