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Energy Tips

Are You Energy Literate?

Understanding energy can help you make informed decisions on reducing your energy consumption.

Our lives revolve around energy. It’s used for everything from producing the food we eat to powering our vehicles, phones, laptops, and homes. But few of us really understand energy. A survey by the National Environmental Education & Training Foundation (NEETF) found that most of us vastly overestimate our knowledge of energy.

 

For example, consider your answers to these questions: Where does electricity come from? How is it produced? How much energy do you use in a day, or a month, or a year?

 

The answers to these questions reflect your level of energy literacy. Why does energy literacy matter? Because learning more about energy, where it comes from, how it’s used, how it’s measured, and how it affects our everyday lives can help us make informed decisions on a global scale about renewable energy solutions and energy production.

 

And on the personal front, energy literacy can help you reduce your own energy consumption — saving you thousands of dollars in electricity bills and ensuring more efficient energy use in the long term.

 

Defining energy literacy.

The U.S. Department of Energy explains energy literacy as an understanding of the nature and role of energy in the world and daily lives accompanied by the ability to apply this understanding to answer questions and solve problems. The availability of energy is dependent on a variety of factors and could potentially run out. That’s why the U.S. Department of Energy developed an energy literacy framework, a set of principles related to what an energy literate person should know. It’s used as a teaching tool to help individuals and communities make informed energy decisions.

 

Understanding energy sources.

There are two types of energy sources: nonrenewable and renewable. Nonrenewable energy sources have supplies limited to what we can extract from the planet. They include:

  • Petroleum
  • Hydrocarbon gas liquids
  • Natural gas
  • Coal
  • Nuclear energy

 

Renewable energy sources can be naturally replenished, such as when the sun shines or when the wind blows. They are key to keeping up with the increasing demands of energy from our growing population. Renewable sources include:

  • Solar energy
  • Wind energy
  • Geothermal energy
  • Hydropower
  • Biomass from plants

Measuring energy consumption.

Energy efficiency means conservation. And conservation means reducing energy waste and making decisions to use energy smarter. But how can we make those choices if we have no idea where energy is being used, and to what degree? That’s where tech comes in: Use technology to measure energy use, then implement changes based on data.  

 

Curb Energy Monitoring is one such example of an easy-to-use, at-home tool. A small energy measurement device attaches to your home’s electrical panel to track real-time levels of energy use per every appliance, device, and room in your home. The data can show where a home’s energy hogs are, if lights or other appliances are left running when not in use, and identify ways to eliminate wasted energy. Curb can even track projected energy expenses and offer suggestions for staying on budget.     

 

Becoming energy literate.

The energy literacy framework defines an energy-literate person as someone who can:

  • Trace energy flows and think in terms of energy systems
  • Understand how much energy they use, for what purpose, and where it comes from
  • Assess the credibility of information about energy
  • Communicate about energy and energy use in meaningful ways
  • Make informed energy use decisions based on knowledge of impacts and consequences

 

You don’t have to be an expert to be educated about energy — you just need access to high-quality, real-time data. Then you can make better decisions about energy use in your daily life, which not only saves you money, but goes a long way to saving our world.

 

Monitor Your Energy Use with Curb

Contact us at Elevation to find out more about Curb Energy Monitoring to see if it’s right for you.