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Where Is Most of the Energy Waste in the United States?

When you talk about global warming, it’s interesting to understand where the waste really comes from.

If we, collectively as a society, were to focus on a few key priorities to reduce wasted energy, what should those be?

Sure, you can talk about sealing leaks and cracks in your home. That, and a myriad of other small changes in your life help.

But how much of a dent in energy waste and inefficiency does that really put?

So, let’s talk about the biggest areas for energy waste in the United States. And let’s see how you fit into that picture:

1. Reliance on Fossil Fuels

Thankfully, our use of fossil fuels has fallen quite a bit recently. In 2019, coal plants produced about 39% of the electricity we used. And in 2020, that number fell to 19.3%.

That’s quite a reduction!

But, the problem is that about ⅔ of the energy produced by fossil fuels goes completely to waste (vented as heat).

So, 66% of the energy made by a coal power plant doesn’t even make it to your home!

And roughly 90% of all energy produced by coal power plants goes to homeowners.

Don’t feel guilty.

Rather, let this motivate you to positive action. Factor it into every little decision you make as to how you use electricity.

2. Reduce Natural Gas Leaks

Natural gas is now the most common source of energy in the United States.

While natural gas itself isn’t harmful to the environment, it is a fossil fuel that leaks methane when piped to power plants to be burned to produce electricity.

Cost-effective methods for reducing these leaks exist. And they could reduce these leaks by up to 40%.

Methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, is responsible for about 25% of global warming.

While you can’t control what happens in the natural gas supply chain, you can control your energy usage around your home.

3. Use Power Sources That Don’t Rely Heavily on Water

Wind turbines don’t use any water at all.

The production of electricity by solar power does require a negligible amount of water.

Natural gas requires a good chunk of water to produce the electricity you use.

And coal? It’s a water hog. It consumes massive amounts of water to produce the electricity you use.

Do you see the pattern among these three points?

Coal causes massive environmental problems. Natural gas some. And wind and solar? Practically none.

Fortunately, you can take action and help. First, be as energy-efficient as possible in your own home. Consider going solar if you can afford it.

And last, make sure your government representatives understand your concerns and what’s really going on out there.

The global climate can only be changed by massive collective action. And that action starts with you.

Control what you can. And do your best to motivate others and our leaders to do the same.

You’ll feel so good when you do.

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