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Saving Energy = Saving Money

Several years ago, my brother said that the best way to figure out where people spend money is to see what industries make the most money.

A quick look at the largest companies in the world by revenue, and you will notice that 21 of the top 62 companies are oil and gas companies, and another four are electric and gas utilities.

As a comparison, the other major industries in the top 62 companies by revenue are: Automotive with seven companies, conglomerates with six, and retail with five.

Interestingly, the top retail companies, Wal-Mart, CVS, Tesco (a British grocery and general merchandise retailer), Costco, and Carrefour (a French multinational supermarket and department store) are mainly selling low priced items, leading me to think that thoughtless consumer spending is a major contributor to their profits.   A principal aim of MyMoneyPicture is to eliminate thoughtless spending.   

It is clear, however, that oil and gas is by far the largest industry by revenue.
  • Industrial users (agriculture, mining, manufacturing, and construction) consume about 37% of the total world's energy. 
  • Personal and commercial transportation consumes 20%.
  • Residential heating, lighting, and appliances use 11%.
  • Commercial uses (lighting, heating and cooling of commercial buildings, and provision of water and sewer services) amount to 5% of the total.
  • Twenty seven percent of the world's energy is lost in energy transmission and generation.

Energy conservation can provide many benefits for our society from protection from climate change, to increased national security by reducing our dependence on foreign suppliers of oil and gas.

But what I am most enthusiastic about is how with a few changes we can reduce our spending on energy and improve our personal financial situation.

  • Installing electrical outlet insulation prevents cold air from coming in during winter, and cool air from leaving during summer.   You can often get 10 for $1 and it takes minutes to install them.   
  • Change your furnace and air-conditioning filters monthly to maintain peak performance.
  • If you have ceiling fans, make sure you have them rotating in the correct direction for the season.   During the summer you want the fan to blow air straight down, so your ceiling fan needs to run in a counter clockwise direction (as you look up at it). The warmer it is, the higher the speed should be. During the winter, your fan should run at a low speed in a clockwise direction.
  • Here is a wonderful explanation of how switching from incandescent light bulbs can reduce your monthly lighting bill from $50 to $11.73 for CFLs or $7.97 for LED bulbs.

  • Adding a storm door with a retractable screen can help insulate your home in the winter and easily add cooling cross ventilation in the summer.
  • Exterior awnings can reduce summer cooling costs by as much as 50%.
  • Motion detector exterior lighting can save energy, increase safety and deter crime.
  • You can improve your gas mileage by up to 3.3% by keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure. Under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by 0.3% for every 1 psi drop in pressure of all four tires. Properly inflated tires are also safer and last longer.

These are just a few ideas.   It can be fun to try to think of ways to reduce the amount of energy you waste every month.  And the money you save will make it even better!