Science, Now + Beyond

Going green could actually be good for your wallet

POTUS needs to read about these savings.

It seems like common sense to be passionate about the environment. The world is our home, and we should treat it the way we would treat our own homes, by taking care of it and making it last forever.

However, many, including the President of the United States, don’t seem to understand the impact and importance of our own actions on the beautiful planet we live on. I could list tons of reasons why someone should be trying to live more eco-friendly, but I will focus on one that not that many people tend to think about: the economic impact, both widespread and personally.

There’s a lot of money in renewable energy, and the leveled energy cost is very little compared to coal and other harsher resources. When hydropower costs merely $0.08 per kW per hour, compared to coal coming in at about $0.1, it seems strange that someone would ignore those numbers and be hesitant to switch to renewable energy. There are many ways to go green that can save someone money off of their bills. Going green saves companies and citizens money, so shouldn’t that be considered a good thing?

For many individuals, going green means investing in renewable energy, which can deter people, because the personal cost of renewable energy is not cheap. Solar panels alone can cost over $10,000. The rate of solar energy is about 12 cents per kiloWatt and hour, whereas for basic electricity it’s only 4 cents. When it comes down to it though, a difference of 8 cents shouldn’t keep someone from wanting to go green. Plus, going back to the business side of things, investing in renewable energy actually creates jobs.

More renewable energy means a need for more places to create that energy, which equates to more jobs. Coal has come to a place where not much else can be had out of it, while renewable energy is a new frontier with room for growth and the ability to create more jobs than can be imagined.

If you personally can’t afford solar or other forms of renewable energy but still want to be an environmental warrior, there are plenty of ways to do so at home. Cutting down on your shower time is a great way to help the environment and spend less. The average ten-minute shower costs about $2 a person, which may not sound like much until you look at the bigger picture. In total, that’s almost $60 a month a person devoted to showering, and that’s excluding people who take longer showers or shower more than once a day.

If you still want to take a long shower (I’m not one to talk, I love long showers), you could always use a low-flow showerhead, which will save you a significant amount of money and energy if you simply install it into your shower.

Or just turn the water off, while you’re shampooing your hair or soaping up; these small habit changes can make a huge change in the environmental and economic impact you can make.

Another way to save water and energy is to run your washing machine on a low temperature every time you use it. It cleans your clothes and uses less energy, thus limiting your personal impact on the environment.

Or, if you’re running the air conditioner or heat, then be sure to close your windows; you can lose a lot of the energy you’re pumping into the room if you leave them open. According to the Department of Energy, 20 to 40% of energy cost is lost out of open leaks in your house. Though it’s impossible to completely seal every crack and cranny in your house, you can do your part by keeping the windows closed whenever heat or air is on. The same goes for your refrigerator. Don’t keep your refrigerator door open for long periods of time, as you waste energy, and thus money as the cold air escapes and the fridge has to create more.

I may sound redundant, but it’s on us to help save the environment considering that our government isn’t trying to. Whether you switch to solar energy, or just limit your water usage every day, you are making an impact.

Any little thing you do will pave the way for a better and cleaner future for our planet, while also saving you some cash in the long run.

  • Caitlin Herrera

    Caitlin is a journalism student with a double minor in creative writing and technology, arts and media at The University of Colorado Boulder. She is currently thriving in the mountains of New Mexico.