Most people don't think about insulating their homes until the fall. With winter looming, consumers know that higher heating costs will hit them right where it hurts - in their pocket books.
But guess what? As climate change increases, it is becoming more expensive to cool your home in the summer than heat it in the winter. Here's a copy of my 2012 electricity bill, which shows how much electricity I use month to month and compares 2012 overall to 2011. (I have an electric heat pump for both heating and cooling). I use almost twice as much energy to cool my home in July and August than to heat it in November and December!
All of which is to say that, as we face another blistering summer, now is a smart time to think about insulating your home to keep hot air out and cooled air in.
Tiny, champion Leaf Men. Evil, creepy "Boggans." A talking snail and a comical slug. A handsome rogue who can ride a sparrow faster than anyone around. A teenage girl who tries to run away but learns to ride a hummingbird instead. And a big magical forest that will die unless the Leaf Men, the runaway and the slimy things prevail.
PLUS animation so vibrant and lively you'll feel like you're defending the forest, too - rather than watching it unfold in 3-D.
Team ENERGY STAR, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's program to help kids and families understand why saving energy is important, has launched a contest to encourage kids to tell us in their own worlds why energy efficiency makes a difference.
It also provides
them an outlet for sharing their passion for preserving our environment. This
year ENERGY STAR has partnered with the parents group PTO Today and LG
Electronics to share Team ENERGY STAR with kids across the country. PTO Today
has even brought in the heroic characters from a new summer animated eco feature
film, EPIC, which is sure to excite kids of all ages. The movie, voiced by Amanda Seyfried, Beyonce Knowles, Colin Ferrel, and other celebrities you'll recognize, features a
young girl who finds herself transported to a beautiful natural world, a world
she needs to protect.
The Forum focused primarily on women because women spend 85
cents of every dollar in the marketplace – and we’re not just buying cheese
doodles and diapers. As I say here on CCTV, the national television network of China, we buy more clothes.
More food. More cosmetics and personal care products than men. We also
buy more electronics, more home furnishings, almost as many tools, just as many
cars. Women are spending billions of dollars, day in and day out, year in and
But even with all that clout, we won’t be able to use this
power of the purse effectively until we achieve true gender equity
worldwide, points that both Ban Li, Deputy Counsel of the Shaanxi
Women's Federation, and Liane Shalatek, Associate Director of the
Heinrich Boll Foundation North America, made very powerfully.
Lisa Jackson's luncheon keynote address was the highlight of the day for many people. As a mom, scientist, and long-time public servant, Lisa has a unique appreciation for the impact consumption has on us as individuals and on society as a whole. She spoke movingly about being the first African-American to serve as head of the EPA and how important it is to bring women as well as people of color and low-income populations into the conversations we're having about pollution and climate change.
Lisa noted that her favorite law is the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act because it empowers people to protect themselves wherever they live. She is also proud of technology EPA has shared with the city of Shanghai to help monitor air pollution there.
Lisa agreed that the way we use both the purse and the pocketbook can inspire manufacturers to reduce pollution and energy consumption.
Saving energy is not
just for grown-ups. As EPA’s Team ENERGY STAR has shown, lots of kids have
devoted to energy efficiency, too. They’re not shy about telling you
why, either. In fact, hundreds of kids have entered the Team’s Share Your Story
essay contest . Several of their posts are featured in
this special Team ENERGY STAR bloggers carnival. If you’re inspired by what
even the youngest children have learned about energy and climate change (and
who wouldn’t be?), why not ask your kids to enter the contest, too? The
deadline for submissions is September 17.
Anne at Flour Sack Mama reports, “When I gave my elementary-aged kid a chance to enter the
Team ENERGY STAR essay contest,
explaining that the focus was saving energy, she gravitated, on her own, to
telling how much she loves trees. Sure, she learned the connection from the
story of the Lorax. But I think she gets it, on a deeper level, because
she plays outdoors….Of course, the new Team ENERGY STAR initiative does a great job of
tying one family's household savings into the bigger picture. Less energy used
now means a brighter future for our kids and grandkids and for the place they
need to call home long after the rest of us are gone. At our house, it
truly is the little things that we focus on, like better habits of turning off
those light switches. We also made sure to purchase the Energy Star model
when we needed to replace our dishwasher.”
Shane at Environmental Booty proudly posted the amazing video her young daughter made. The video shows a
simulated conversation between two very “hip” sisters, one of whom has a lot to
learn when it comes to energy efficiency. “My daughter and I, and even her two sisters,
really had fun taking part in the Team Energy Star Share Your Story
contest. Sure, it took finding some time in our hectic lives that was
certainly hard to find. But it brought us all together to go green,
created some fun memories with my girls, and gave my Lexie one more reason to
feel good about herself.”