Engineering‎ > ‎


Energy.  It's what makes everything in our modern lives go 'round.  The obvious things: cars, trucks, boats, planes, trains, buses, fans, air conditioning, heating, lighting, TV, Internet, radio, computers, cellphones, watches.  But, also the discrete and more subtle things: food, water, trash, furniture, buildings, roads, paint, salad dressing bottles, beer bottles, beer cans, cans of soup.  EVERYTHING takes energy to make and many things take energy to maintain.

Our species as a whole uses more energy currently than is even fathomable.  So, I've written up a few ways that you can save some, and a significant "some" at that!  Not just your normal "turn the thermostat down a few degrees" or "clean your air filter".  These are genuine ways to save energy that will directly save you money and indirectly the environment.

1) Buy less stuff

   Our society's green movement tells us that to "be green," you have to buy something expensive: a Prius, organic food, recyclable containers, etc.  But, what "green" really is is not buying more stuff at all!  Just imagine how much money you'd save if you didn't buy a new cellphone/digital camera every other year, or a new computer/car every three years.  And the beauty of not buying new stuff is that all of the energy and materials (and energy that went into making those materials!) that were used to build your old stuff doesn't go straight into a landfill after a few years.
   So, the next time you go to reach into your wallet, ask your these questions first!
  1. Is this item going to work for the next 10 years?
  2. Will this item continue to make me significantly happier for the next 10 years?
  3. If this is a replacement item, have I tried to fix the old one?
  4. Can I accomplish the goal that buying this will serve without spending money?
  5. Can I borrow this item from someone or buy it used?
If you answered "No" to questions 1, 2 or 3, put your money away!
If you answered "Yes" to questions 4 or 5, put your money away!

And even it isn't obvious to put your money away after you ask yourself these questions, put it away anyway!  I've found that simply waiting a few weeks can let you accomplish what you want without spending money or let you find a less energy-intensive way of doing it.

And lastly, always try thinking

"If you want it, grow it, raise it, built it or fix it yourself."

For more information on buying less stuff, try the Mr. Money Mustache blog and then the Early Retirement Extreme blog.