The Easiest Thing You Can Do This Week To Fight Climate Change (And Save Money)
Welcome to Saving Money with Andrew!
Our electric bill is high. Really high. Our local utility charges almost $0.25 per kWh and monthly bills of over $400 are common. And most of our utility’s electricity still comes from burning fossil fuels, so each kWh we use emits more than one pound of CO2 into the atmosphere.
So we try hard to reduce our household energy use and carbon footprint:
We’ve replaced all our household bulbs (even CFLs) with low wattage LEDs (we find 2700K “Soft White” comes closest to the warmth of an old-fashioned bulb)
We replaced our old electric dryer with a gas dryer, saving over $1000/year.
When it was time to buy new cars, we went with a hybrid for our longer-range vehicle and a lower-range battery electric vehicle (not a Tesla) for everyday use.
We replaced our home insulation (a more marginal investment, but more compelling with the new 30% tax credit).
This week, I made a surprising discovery. We still had two oddly shaped old 60W incandescent bulbs in a basement light fixture that was on most of the time. I estimated these were using 72 kWh per month, costing us nearly $18 and generating about 85lbs of monthly CO2 emissions.
After using Lightfinder (available for iOS and Android, love this app) to identify the bulb type, I went to Amazon, finding a great replacement in a few minutes. 6-watt LEDs were too bright for the basement, so I went with 4-watt. These replacement bulbs use about 5 kWh per month, saving us about $16/month and reducing our CO2 emissions by about 80lbs. This equates to ~$200 and nearly a half-ton of CO2 savings per year, or one-third the emissions reduction as having switched to a hybrid car.
The cost to us? $20 for a four-pack of bulbs that will probably last us a decade. If you have a free 15 minutes this week, I urge you to take a walk around your home, identify any remaining CFL or incandescent bulbs with Lightfinder, and replace them with comparable LEDs.
And now, Andrew’s pick(s) of the week:
Netflix has a winning formula with their series of sports reality documentaries. Drive to Survive is going strong into its fifth season and Break Point is equally compelling. I was skeptical they could do the same for golf, but Full Swing is engaging and watchable, with plenty of drama as the Saudis try to launch LIV Golf and sign away the sport’s biggest stars.
On another topic, I’ve become increasingly unsettled by the gibberish and extremely low-quality content of Facebook’s (and YouTube’s, to a lesser extent) short-form video platforms (Reels and Shorts, respectively). I assume they’re trying to emulate TikTok, also a hotbed of terrible content meant to generate short-term entertainment and engagement. Freddie deBoer takes on this issue in his great post The Bitter End of "Content". I urge everyone to not click on/do not engage with low quality content, even if you hugely disagree with it or it triggers you in some way. Don’t post comments, don’t click on response buttons, because often, It's Bad On Purpose To Make You Click.
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I hope this has been helpful. If you liked it, please share it on social media! Also, please send me your feedback, requests, and success stories.