Much of the world has become completely reliant on electricity. In fact, without electricity much of the modern-day comforts we enjoy would no longer be possible. Unfortunately, many people overuse or waste electricity, resulting in negative impacts both on the environment and the pocketbook. Saving energy through simple measures, such as turning off lights in unused rooms and turning down your water heater, can provide you and the environment with a wide range of benefits.
One of the most immediate benefits of saving electricity is the amount of money you will save each month on your utility bills. Each time you turn on a light or take a shower, you use energy, which your utility company keeps track of with meters installed on your home. By using less electricity, you are charged less money each month.
Another benefit of using less electricity is the positive impact you can have on the environment. Most electricity comes from energy produced by fossil fuels such as oil, natural gas and coal. These fuels are naturally found in the earth and in most cases require drilling or mining of the environment to be made available. These extraction processes come with many risks of environmental contamination from mining operations, drilling leaks or explosions, such as the catastrophic oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.
Using less energy also reduces the amount of transportation needed to move fossil fuels from their drilling or mining site. Every form of transportation requires fuel, including trucks, planes, trains and boats. The most common form of fuel for these vehicles is crude oil in the form of gasoline. When gasoline is burned to create energy, greenhouse gas emissions are created. These gases, such as carbon dioxide and methane, trap heat in the atmosphere, contributing to global problems such as climate change, states the Environmental Protection Agency.
Once fossil fuels are transported to a power facility, some are burned to create electricity. For example, coal is ground and mixed with hot air in order to burn at a high heat. The heat from the coal is used to heat boilers which power turbines and create electricity. Unfortunately, burning the coal--like burning gasoline in a vehicles--creates greenhouse gas emissions. By reducing the amount of electricity you use, you reduce the amount of electricity that needs to be produced, thus reducing greenhouse emissions and positively affecting the environment.
Reducing your electrical use can also benefit your health. For example, turning off the television may encourage you or your kids to go outside and play or do something more active. Choosing to play board games instead of video games--saving electricity in the process--helps increase the health and happiness of your family by providing time together.