October is Energy Awareness Month, a national effort to underscore how central energy is to our country’s prosperity, security, and environmental well-being. As a renewable energy producer, Waste Management thinks green every day, and is encouraging New Yorkers to take a few simple steps to conserve energy around their homes.
Remember to unplug appliances or electronic devices when not in use to minimize energy consumption. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), “In the average home, 75 percent of the electricity used to power home electronics is consumed while the products are turned off.”
If you are shopping for new appliances, make sure to look for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star label before making a purchase. Energy Star appliances use between 10 and 50 percent less energy and water than their conventional counterparts.
Replace your light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). According to Energy Star, a qualified compact fluorescent light bulb, which costs just a few dollars, “will save about $30 over its lifetime and pay for itself in about 6 months. It uses 75 percent less energy and lasts about 10 times longer than an incandescent bulb.”
Install a programmable thermostat. Programmable thermostats work by automatically adjusting your home’s temperature to your schedule, keeping it comfortable only when you need it to be.
Seal air leaks. Look for any small cracks and gaps where air is leaking into and out of your home. Energy Star says that between improving insulation and sealing leaks, homeowners could potentially save 10 percent on their annual energy bill.
Maintain your car. According to the Department of Energy, keeping a car in tune and maintained can improve its gas mileage by an average of 4 percent.
For its part, Waste Management is seeking out innovative solutions to convert waste to a clean, renewable energy source and offset the use of fossil fuels.
One process the company uses to accomplish this is landfill-gas-to-energy. Like wind and solar, landfill gas is a renewable source of energy endorsed by the Environmental Protection Agency as an alternative to fossil fuels. It’s produced as waste naturally decomposes inside the landfill. Once captured, the gas is piped to a processing facility where it is filtered, decompressed and then used to power either an engine or turbine. The result is clean electricity for the surrounding community.
Currently, Waste Management operates 131 of these facilities throughout North America, producing 615 megawatts of electricity, or enough to power about 500,000 homes. Together with the company’s 15 waste-to-energy plants, Waste Management’s renewable energy production offsets the use of 23.5 million barrels of oil.
Waste Management, based in Houston, Texas, is the leading provider of comprehensive waste management services in North America. Our subsidiaries provide collection, transfer, recycling and resource recovery, and disposal services. We are the largest residential recycler and also a leading developer, operator and owner of waste-to-energy and landfill-gas-to-energy facilities in the United States. Our customers include residential, commercial, industrial and municipal customers throughout North America. To learn more visit www.wm.com.