Developed by Susan Bilo, Energy Educator at Gallatin College
Use of coal, natural gas, and petroleum to generate electricity, operate buildings, and power transportation contributes the most to climate change. Take these steps to use energy and water more efficiently and invest in renewable energy.
- Call your utility and inquire about energy audit and efficiency programs. For Northwestern Energy, sign-up for their Efficiency Plus (E+) service. Call 1-888-467-2669, and follow-through on recommended energy-saving strategies for your home or business. http://www.northwesternenergy.com/save-energy-money/save-energy-and-money
- The U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Saver booklet provides money-saving tips. Learn how easy it is to find efficient appliances, equipment, and fixtures by looking for Energy Star and WaterSense labels: https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/services/energy-saver-guide-tips-saving-money-and-energy-home. Commercial buildings can be retrofitted for energy savings: https://www.energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2013/12/f5/business_case_for_energy_efficiency _retrofit_renovation_smr_2011.pdf
- After implementing energy and water efficiency measures, invest in solar electric (photovoltaic), wind, or other renewable energy systems to power your home, business, school, and transportation. Find professionals near you on the Montana Renewable Energy Association's website: http://montanarenewables.org/
- New construction provides the most efficient and cost-effective opportunity for designing and building net zero energy (NZE) or net positive energy buildings. Examples including Living Building Challenge (https://living-future.org/lbc/), Zero Energy Ready Homes (https://www.energy.gov/eere/buildings/zero-energy-ready-home), New Buildings Institute (https://newbuildings.org/), and Net Zero Energy Coalition (https://netzeroenergycoalition.com/)
- Buy or lease a hybrid, plug-in hybrid, or all-electric vehicle (EV). EVs are more efficient than internal combustion engine vehicles, come in all shapes and sizes, and can be fueled with renewable energy: https://pluginamerica.org/
- Use your zipcode on the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency website to learn about loans, rebates, grants, and other incentives for your project: http://www.dsireusa.org/