Saving Electricity home As seen in Newsweek, Forbes, NPR, the Christian Science Monitor, CNET, PC Magazine, InfoWorld, and everywhere else. About  
Rebates & Tax Credits
for U.S. consumers

Incentives for installing insulation and for buying energy-efficient appliances like refrigerators, washing machines, and air conditioners are often available from local and state governments and utilities. You can see what's available at DSIRE,, and Energy Star.

Related sites:

Home Power Magazine. All about renewable energy for the home.

No-Impact Man. Blog about a family striving to have no net impact. (i.e., What little they use, they offset.) Inspirational.

Off-Grid. News and resources about living without being connected to a utility company.

Mr. Electricity in the news:

"Michael Bluejay runs the outstanding Saving Electricity site that I've mentioned many times before." —J.D. Roth, Get Rich Slowly

Deep Green (book) by Jenny Nazak, 2018
Small Steps, Big Strides: Building Sustainability Habits at Home (book), Lucinda F. Brown, 2016
How much money you'll save with these common energy-saving strategies, Lifehacker, Sep. 28, 2015
Radio interview about saving electricity, Newstalk 1010 (Toronto), April 21, 2015
How much does your PC cost in electricity?, PC Mech, Nov 21, 2013
How Much Electricity Do Your Gadgets Really Use?, Forbes, Sep. 7, 2013
Can my bicycle power my toaster?, Grist, June 10, 2013
Six summer debt traps and how to avoid them, Main St, June 5, 2013
To convert to gas or electric?, Marketplace Radio (NPR), July 20, 2012
8 Simple Ways to Reduce Household Waste, Living Green Magazine, June 29, 2012
Why is my electric bill so high?, New York Daily News, Mar. 27, 2012
Fight the Power, CTV (Canada's largest private broadcaster), Mar. 23, 2012
How to Cut Your Electric Bill, Business Insider, Mar. 20, 2012
Tips to save energy when using your computer, WPLG Channel 10 (Miami, FL), Feb. 23, 2012
How long will it take an energy-efficient washer/dryer to pay for itself?, Christian Science Monitor, Oct. 29, 2011
10 Easy Ways to Lower Your Electric Bill, Forbes, August 23, 2011
18 ways to save on utility bills, AARP, July 9, 2011
How to Save $500 Worth of Energy This Summer, TIME magazine, June 28, 2011
Hot over the energy bill? Turn off the A/C, just chill, Chicago Tribune, June 24, 2011
Cool Site of the Day, Kim Komando (syndicated radio host), May 29, 2011
This calculator shows how much you spend washing clothes, Lifehacker, May 6, 2011
What you pay when you're away, WCPO Channel 9 (Cincinatti), May 5, 2011
Spotting energy gluttons in your home, Chicago Tribune (CA), Apr. 7, 2011
Walnut Creek author has tips for livng a thrifty life, Contra Costa Times (CA), Jan. 24, 2011
Do space heaters save money and energy?, Mother Jones, Jan. 10, 2011
Energy steps to take for a less pricey winter, Reuters, Nov. 10, 2010
Should you shut down your computer or put it to sleep?, Mother Jones, Nov. 1, 2010
Energy saving tips for fall, Chicago Tribune & Seattle Times Nov. 7, 2010
10 ways to save money on your utility bill, Yahoo! Finance, Oct. 2, 2010
Mr. Electricity Ranks Refrigerators & Electrical Wasters, Green Building Elements, Sep. 8, 2010
The case against long-distance relationships, Slate, Sep. 3, 2010
10 household items that are bleeding you dry, Times Daily (Florence, AL), July 27, 2010
Cold, hard cash, Kansas City Star, June 22, 10
Stretch your dollar, not your budget, Globe and Mail, May 18, 2010
Auto abstinence, onearth magazine, Winter 2010
2010 Frugal Living Guide,
Energy-saving schemes yield €5.8m in savings, Times of Malta, Dec. 20, 09
Four ways to reduce your PC's carbon footprint, CNET, Dec 2, 09
The day I hit the brakes, onearth magazine, Fall 2009
How Much Do You Really Save By Air-Drying Your Clothes?, The Simple Dollar, 2010
Enjoy the mild weather, low electricity bills, Detroit Free Press, Jul 18, 09
The most energy-efficient way to heat a cup of water, Christian Science Monitor, Jun 16, 09
Ten ways to save energy, Times of Malta, Jan 3, 09
Measuring your green IT baseline, InfoWorld, Sep 4, 08
Bald Brothers Breakfast (MP3), ABC Adelaide, March 27, 2007
Net Interest, Newsweek, Feb 12, 07
The Power Hungry Digital Lifestyle, PC Magazine, Sep 4, 07
Net Interest, Newsweek, Feb 12, 07
Answers to all your electricity questions, Treehugger, Jul 11, 08 Going Green, Monsters and Critics, Jan 6, 2007
A hunt for energy hogs, Wall Street Journal Online, Dec 18, 06

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Climate Change

Last update: February, 2015

climate scientists graph

You'd be forgiven if you thought that there's a serious debate among scientists about whether human activity is driving climate change.  That's because the oil industry and other groups have been spending literally hundreds of millions of dollars trying to convince the public of exactly that.  How could one feel the climate is really changing if even the scientists can't agree?

But the reality is that the scientific community has reached a solid consensus on the issue:  There's not a single national or international scientific body that disagrees that the earth is warming, that we're causing it, and that the effects are likely to be catastrophic (e.g., flooding, drought, wildfires, etc.).  And every single survey done of scientists about it shows that the overwhelming majority agree on all those counts as well.  A disagreement between scientists exists only in the minds of those who have bought into the propaganda.  It doesn't exist here in reality.

One of the deniers' tactics has been to try to paint those who believe in climate change as liberals.  (So believing that scientists know a thing or two about science makes you a liberal?)  But the truth is that about most Republicans believe in human-caused climate change. (source 1, 2, 3, 4)  That includes nearly half of Republican legislators, too.  Trust in science isn't the provence of only liberals, not by a longshot.

97–98% of the most published climate researchers say humans are very likely causing most global warming. (source)

For years, climate deniers tried to argue that the scientists got it wrong.  That somehow, the deniers' understanding of science was superior to that of the world scientific community.  (I think the word for that is "arrogance".)  More recently, many deniers have switched to an argument only slightly less ridiculous: that climate change is a hoax.  That is, nearly all the climate scientists in the world are lying about the issue, just to get grant money.  The problems with that idea should be obvious:

  1. We're supposed to believe that nearly all the thousands of climatologists have abandoned their passion for science (which is itself a search for truth), and are intentionally trying to defraud the entire world, just to get some extra grants.  It's more conceivable that Santa Claus will marry the Easter Bunny.
  2. We're supposed to believe that nearly every single body that funds climate research is insisting that they get the "right" results or that they'll yank the research funding.  Supposedly, governments all over the world (not just the U.S.), universities all over the world, and non-partisan private foundations are demanding bad science.  And we're supposed to believe that not only are all these groups are pushing for the "right" answer, but that if scientists don't play along they'll actually be out of a job, that there is no funding available unless one is willing to publish bad science.

    In fact, the truth is quite the opposite: when George W. Bush was president, for example, scientists complained that his administration was fighting them, trying to downplay or exclude their findings. (source)  How could the scientists lie about climate change occurring to get government money when the government wanted the opposite answer?
  3. We're supposed to believe that this subversion of research funding, which would be the most massive fraud in all of recorded history, and involving thousands and thousands of people, has been effectively kept secret somehow.
  4. We're supposed to believe that not only did all the world's climatologists successfully fool most of the public, they also fooled all the other (non-climate) scientists.  That's because the overwhelming majority non-climate scientists believe in global warming just like the climate scientists. But in the eyes of the deniers, non-climate scientists don't really understand the scientific process, they're just stupid.

But there's a more basic problem with the argument that the worldwide climate science community is intentionally giving the wrong answers in order to get grant money:  there isn't any evidence for it.  Rather, the deniers just state their assumption as though it were fact.  It's a good tactic, because it forces the other side to waste time defending an idea for which absolutely no evidence has been advanced.  Look how much space I devoted to it in this article, even though the argument has nothing at all to back it up.

Another favorite argument of deniers is that the original phrase was "global warming", but liberals switched it to "climate change" because the latter sounds scarier.  In fact, both terms have been in similar use for decades, because, as anyone with even a cursory understanding of the issue knows, the two terms refer to two separate, distinct phenomena.  Global warming is the process of the globe heating up.  Climate change is the disruption of the climate that results from the warming.  It's a rather simple distinction.  When deniers insist that the term was changed for nefarious purposes, they unwittingly reveal a great deal about their lack of understanding. (more)

Yet another myth is that scientists used to believe that we'd have global cooling, but now they're saying it's global warming, so we can't trust the scientists because they can't make up their minds.  The truth is that the idea of global cooling never had mainstream support from the scientific community.  Ever.  That contrasts sharply with global warming, which is supported strongly by scientists of every stripe all over the globe.

Perhaps the most commonly heard try from deniers is "The climate has always been changing."  They say this as though they've made some sort of point.  Indeed, the climate has always changed, but slowly.  The thing is that climate is changing now rapidly, in relative terms.  So their argument is a failure to understand degree.  It's like saying:

  • Bicycles and airplanes are both transportation, so they're both equally fast.
  • Mice and elephants are both animals, so they weigh the same amount.
  • Baby boys and adult women are both human, so they're the same in every other way too.

What most people don't know is that there's been a well-funded machine that's been trying to confuse the public about climate change for decades.  It's the same tactic that the tobacco industry used to fight the science linking smoking with health problems: sow doubt in the public's mind.  As a 1960s internal tobacco company document said:

     "Doubt is our product, since it is the best means of competing with the 'body of fact' [linking smoking with disease] that exists in the mind of the general public. It is also the means of establishing a controversy...” (source)

Not only is it the same tactics, in many cases it's actually the same people.  After Big Tobacco lost in its efforts to deny the science about smoking and health problems, they tried to deny the science between health problems and secondhand smoke, starting in the 1990s.  And many of the people working to attack the science for the tobacco industry, are now the same ones trying to attack the science of climate change, trying to convince the public that the science isn't settled and that the scientists are in disagreement. (source)

One way they sow doubt is to buy some scientists.   Wei-Hock Soon received over $1.2 million from the fossil fuel industry in exchange for publishing papers deriding climate change and testifying to Congress that climate change isn't caused by humans.  And let's be clear: this was definitely a case of the money buying the result, as Dr. Soon described his papers and his testimony as "deliverables", as discovered documents show.  Further, until he was exposed, his papers routinely failed to disclose his conflict of interest, which in many cases violates the ethics guidelines of the journals that published his work.  This is all the more significant because Soon is one of the few published scientists who has dissented from the consensus position.  With so few scientists on their side, deniers' have relied heavily on the work of Soon and a tiny handful of others.  Soon being discredited, now there are even fewer that they can point to. (source)

If you're paying attention, you'll notice that both sides have claimed that money has influenced the science.  There are two differences, though.  The deniers are claiming that virtually all the world's climate scientists have been compromised, while the supporters point out that only the handful of denier-scientists have mostly received funding from big oil and denier thinktanks.  That is, it's plausible that a few scientists could have been compromised.  It's not plausible that nearly all of them were.  Second, the deniers' claim that climate change scientists are lying never comes with any evidence.  On the other side, we have the $1.2 milion that Dr. Soon received from big oil, and the documents in which he described his papers and his congressional testimony as "deliverables".

I'm not a scientist.  And neither are the people who argue with me about climate change.  The difference between us is that I'm trusting the consensus of the world scientific community.  They're trusting Rush Limbaugh and Exxon-Mobil.  Now, I suppose I could decide that the world scientific community is wrong, but I'm just not that arrogant.

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