Oil addiction scorecard #3: Sustainable living in home habits

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Through the latest sustainable living at home series in regards to the British Petroleum mess there has been likening the dependence of the United States on oil as a sort of addiction. Similar to what one may find in an AA layout one can see from the Scorecard just how far the use of oil has seeped into our lives and dictates our routines; it may be surprising to some just how much we each rely on this source of energy. Just as an addict begins to purge themselves of their own drug of choice it is a long process to wean a country so reliant off of the substance but again in keeping with the parallel to AA we can work our way through the twelve steps of sustainable living without oil.

Admitting there is an addiction is the first part but from there actions speak much more volumes than words; there are many facets of oil consumption and along with consumer products and transportation methods covered in separate posts there are home environments and then the global supply chain. When we think about the homes that we live in, we like to feel safe in this environment, a place of security and that which we can hold a great amount of control over. Unfortunately, that security is at times a thin gauze over the reality in more ways than one; in relating to ethical consumption one instance are those currently displaced due to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Yet thinking immediately of your house, avenues to cut your reliance on oil are aplenty; thinking first of the specific kind of energy used to provide heating and cooling and what keep those lights burning bright. It is not feasible for everyone to gain access to the most renewable energy outlets such as wind and solar but at least opting for natural gas over fossil fuel and coal is a step in the right direction.

Still it is possible to take sustainable living home for a portion of your home energy needs with scaled down versions of solar panels and wind turbines. These can be an investment in the short term but could potentially save you lots of money over the long haul and will preserve the environment exponentially. The amount of energy used in the home has perhaps just as much impact and that is why stressing energy saving practices such as using CFL and LEDs lights only when absolutely necessary (you can even purchase a dimmer switch to make lights even more green), grouping electrical cords on a powerstrip and only turning them on solely when in use, keeping the thermostat a few degrees lower in the winters and piling on blankets (doing the opposite come summer time), and outfitting your home with energy saving appliances. To get an even better idea of just how much energy your house is using take an audit and from there make monthly target goals to hit.

All of these are sustainable living habits we must adopt as we titrate ourselves off of oil and how we use it. Those living around the immediate area of the BP oil spill have had their lives substantially altered and unless there are changes made this kind of tragedy will only happen again.

Photo credit: Pink Sherbet Photography