The cost of ‘going green’
By Francine Charles | Thu, July 12, 2012 - 12:03 AM
The latest buzz phrase “going green”, can stir up many images.
For some it’s a costly alternative suggesting that you purchase all these huge energy-saving devices; for some, it’s changing your “entire” lifestyle to “save” the environment; for others, it’s something big companies need to do to stop polluting the environment and “killing us all”.
But if one just spends some time “googling” online, it’s clear that going green is simply making the choice to change the way we do some things, changes that would help to preserve or protect the environment.
And if you spend time doing a few things differently, you’ll soon realize that it’s not just friendlier on the environment, but it becomes easier on your pocket.
I was recently involved in a project where I met everyday Barbadians who had stopped “googling” and started “doing”. They were making incremental lifestyle changes that were redounding to energy reduction and, best of all, to fairly significant cost savings on their electric bills.
One of those couples, Kenneth and Juliette Straker, live in Flagstaff, Clapham, St Michael, with their three children. They invested in an energy monitor that was able to identify where they were using the most electricity.
However, the monitor, a little gadget perched on their kitchen counter, was not the big find; it was the discovery of how much electricity they were burning just because they weren’t aware.
Kenneth explained: “We made it a family affair. The energy monitor helped us to see where we needed to cut down, and we simply started turning off lights that we weren’t using at the time. Turning the television off completely, rather than leaving it on sleep was a big saver, as well as turning off both the computer and the actual computer monitor.”
This family also went the extra mile and combed the market to find affordable solar panels, and that clinched it. According to Juliette: “With the little things we were doing around the house to save energy and the use of the solar panels, we reduced our electricity bill by 50 per cent in no time. We were able to share the first savings we made with the children, because their role was vital.”
In fact, the couple got an added bonus. Because they had included the children in the first few months of their “going green” project, they also made the lifestyle change. To date, the children still walk through the house each day, checking to see where they might be “wasting” electricity.
For the Strakers, “going green” has brought cost benefits to their family even earlier than they had expected and, at the same time, this family is doing the “right thing”; making their contribution to preserving not just the environment, but the planet collectively – and the issues are undoubtedly real.
“Going green is no longer a choice I think. Everyday people also have to play their part, not just the big companies. I am not sure how things got this bad, but it’s clear from all I read and understand that something has to be done to stabilize our natural resources.
If not, things will be very tough for our children and their children,” said Kenneth.
Francine Charles is guest writer for Major Events Caribbean Inc.
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