Last Wednesday after work, my parents came over to grab dinner at a nearby restaurant. We left my apartment a bit before 7 p.m., during that strange blue hour when it can be difficult to notice if someone switched on the lights, or if the final beams of daylight are still streaming through the windows.
Later in the evening, we arrived back in my driveway, satiated from our meal. But as we rolled in, my heart sank just a little when I saw a bright glow from the house and I grumbled, “Who left that light on?”
Leaving the lights on certainly has a negative impact on an electricity bill, but that’s not the only reason my parents and teachers taught me to turn off the lights with diligence as a kid. I am proud when I remember to turn off lights, and feel a twinge of guilt when I forget to, because I learned long ago that doing so could save the world from climate change.
To build a cleaner and greener world, individual actions matter, but it’s not enough. To protect our environment on a level commensurate with the challenges it faces requires a lot more than individuals remembering to switch off a light or to turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth.
That’s why I’m excited that today - October 6th - is Energy Efficiency Day. Energy Efficiency Day is a day to celebrate all things great about the fastest and cleanest way to meet our energy needs -- cutting excess waste in our energy system.
On Energy Efficiency Day, my colleagues at Environment America Research & Policy Center and our partners at the Appliance Standards Awareness Project (ASAP) have joined with private businesses, government agencies and energy utilities to share tips and facts that highlight the benefits of energy efficiency. This year, we are further celebrating with an online guide outlining how to reduce energy waste and make your home a more energy efficient one.
The best part? You can celebrate with us! To get involved in Energy Efficiency Day, share information on social media; encourage local officials to recognize the day and address energy efficiency; or simply be a little extra aware of your personal energy usage.
While today serves as an important day for sharing, learning, and educating, it’s also an opportunity to have some fun. Each year, the day has a theme. Previous themes included book and movie puns to get the word out on energy efficiency (some of our favorite book titles from last year are featured below).
This year’s theme is “groan worthy puns and jokes.” Think “dad jokes” or something you might read in a book entitled 50 hilarious jokes for 3rd graders. We’ve come up with some pretty silly taglines for this year's celebrations. They include:
“What do wind turbines think of energy efficiency? They are pretty big fans!”
“It Hertz to see a building wasting electricity!”
And “Why was the refrigerator so tired? It’s always running!”
Follow us on Twitter and Facebook throughout the day to see more fun social media graphics. You can see our jokes in action, share your own, and help to spread the word about the cleanest form of energy: energy efficiency and conservation.
I hope you all take part, and more than that, I hope this day reminds you to feel good about the little things you can do like switching out your light bulbs for more efficient ones; weatherizing your home; unplugging your charging cords when they aren't in use; or using power strips. Whatever you choose, use this Energy Efficiency Day to adopt some simple practices that you can bring forward into every day of the year.
Beyond all that, remember that in addition to our improvements at home we need big, bold policy changes. Our leaders must set efficiency standards for home appliances and provide block grants for weatherization of homes, among other actions. These will make an enormous difference in the way we’re able to build a more energy efficient world. You can call on your elected officials to stand up for energy efficiency by signing our petition. Ultimately, the less energy we use, the faster we can get to 100% renewable energy, and the sooner we can live in a cleaner, healthier future for all.