If you are making a concerted effort to be ethical with your finances, it makes sense to do the same in other areas too. One area that you will almost definitely want to look at is your energy provider. Traditional energy sources can have a devastating impact on the environment but thanks to a growth in ethical energy methods, you can help the environment by choosing an energy company who use green energy sources.
Why Green Energy?
Most energy sources are not ethical and can do significant damage to the environment. For example, burning coal emits a range of pollutants into the atmosphere, including carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrous oxides. This has an impact on everything from vegetation to the air that we breathe. Oil is much the same as coal in terms of polluting the environment. Natural gas is a marginally better alternative as it does not pollute on the same scale as gas and oil but as a fossil fuel, it is still responsible for dangerous emissions. Nuclear power is not a culprit for climate change and global warming but its emissions contain radioactive waste that can cause extensive damage for many years afterwards.
What Counts as Green Energy?
Finding an Ethical Energy Provider
In the US, most of our energy comes from fossil fuels such as coal, which is known to have a negative impact on the environment. Depending on where you live, you may not be in a good position to use green energy methods in your own home but you can still adopt a more ethical approach to your energy consumption by choosing a greener energy provider.
‘Green’ power. This usually involves paying a bit extra for your energy in return for ensuring that your energy comes from an ethical source. It is by no means a money saving option but it is an important way to make sure that you are being more green with your energy consumption. Your current energy provider may offer a green option so it is worth consulting them first if you are otherwise happy with their service. If they do not offer green power, you will need to look at switching to a different energy provider. The US Department of Energy has a list of green utility providers.
While it is becoming much more popular, there may be some areas in which green power is not yet available. Want to find out more about green energy options in your area? You can search by state through the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). For Canada, you can find out more about green power in your province through the Pollution Probe website. The US Department of Energy has a list of green utility programs available in each state.
Cutting Your Energy Consumption
Alongside finding an ethical energy provider, you can also do your bit for the environment by cutting back on your energy consumption so that you are not using so much in the first place. There are a number of ways that you can do this in your everyday life and in many cases, it has the added bonus of saving money too. Some of the energy saving steps that you can take include:
- Turning down the thermostat on your water heater
- Turning down the temperature slightly on your refrigerator
- Unplugging electrical appliances instead of turning them off and leaving them on standby mode
- Only using the dishwasher and washing machine if you are going to be putting on a full load
- Leaving clothes to dry naturally where possible rather than using a tumble dryer
- Plugging cracks in walls to stop energy escaping and sealing areas where draughts may occur
- Insulating your attic so that less heat can escape through the roof
- Installing low-flow showerheads to reduce the amount of water that needs to be heated for your shower
- Insulating your windows so that less heat can be lost this way
Adopting a green approach to your energy usage is an ideal complement to things like ethical investing. After all, you care about ensuring that your money is not being used in an unethical manner so why not make sure that you are doing your bit to help the environment?
So, what kind of energy do you use? Is it eco-friendly?