The really easy answer to this question is, “Ask your co-op or visit their website.” But where is the fun in that when a world of resources lies a keystroke away?
Welcome to what the Internet excels in – gathering information! I call it the modern equivalent of the library of Alexandria. Indeed, the folks who created the aforementioned library would marvel at what they can find online today. For those looking to educate themselves on conservation measures, the Internet is a veritable cornucopia of information. My search string on Bing of energy conservation (EC) information returned 19,800,000 results. A cornucopia indeed.
To make the most of your searching efforts, we’ll start with a definition of conservation, at least in the way I use it. I am a conservationist from way back. I recycle, reuse, and reduce. For this article I will focus on the reduce aspect as in reducing the amount of energy we use. With that in mind, we can begin.
Why not take advantage of your tax dollars and use federal government sources as a starting point? A wide array of resources are available. You can go to the national laboratories if you are interested in a rocket science approach. But I plan to skip those this time. What? You insist on a reference for the national labs? Okay, here is the place to start: http://science.energy.gov/laboratories/. You have been warned.
For the rest of us, begin with http://energy.gov/energysaver/energy-saver. This site offers a lot of resources and tips on how to save money and get nice rebates on certain types of EC. If you are interested in the complete list of incentives available in the US, NCSU in Raleigh, NC maintains the following site: http://www.dsireusa.org/. Pick and click the state you want to see what is available.
Two more federal websites caught my attention. The first from the Energy Information Agency, http://www.eia.gov/emeu/efficiency/energy_savings.htm, is a page with a wide range of links to sites with EC information. It includes US states, foreign countries, and covers residential, commercial, transportation, and other areas of energy saving. If you want to know what they do to save energy in New Zealand or Iowa, check it out.
The second is https://www.usa.gov/green which is another mashup of links to various information resources on saving energy. Additionally, you can explore other federal resources about disaster preparedness, weather dangers, and wildlife and animals.
Now it’s time to put your state tax dollars to work. Here are the URLs for Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware.
Finally, Old Dominion Electric Cooperative, who supports the cooperatives in VA/MD/DE, have put together an excellent resource as well, EnergizeEfficiently. You will find it here: http://ee.odec.com/.
So far my attention has been focused on the Internet. Realizing that not everyone wants to surf the web to find information, I offer the following for your consideration. Start at your local library. Enlist the support of a librarian in locating books and publications about energy efficiency. One of my favorite magazines on this topic is “Home Energy Magazine.” It can be on the technical side but is always informative.
Another spot is your favorite bookstore. Browse the shelves or get some help in tracking down titles and volumes that cover EC. I cheated a bit and went to Amazon to see what they had in the way of energy efficiency books (Amazon started by selling books, after all). The results gave me 49 about energy efficiency and 819 about conservation.
So there you have a neat little compendium of links and ideas on where to get EC information. Thank you for being interested in recycling, reusing, and reducing. If we all do a little it adds up to a lot.