Black Friday and Cyber Monday seem to officially start the holiday-buying season. And boy do people buy a lot! In 2016, Americans each spent around $930 on holiday gifts , and $420 per child, with 56% of them racking up debt to do so! This is equal to a little over $300 billion spent on holiday gifts in the US alone! That’s the GDP of Singapore!
Have you ever planned or attended an event and been shocked by the amount of waste generated? Often, events lack recycling options and even recyclable items, like plastic cups, silverware, and paper end up in the trash and eventually buried in a landfill! With some planning and proper execution, you can turn your special gathering into a Zero Waste Event!
Lighting is a huge part of energy efficiency – turning your lights off can save a lot of money on electric bills. According to the APS Energy Efficiency Guide for K-12 Schools, indoor lights account for about 33% of the energy use in a school – that’s more than equipment, computers, exterior lighting, and motors combined! I did a couple calculations, and by reducing the amount of time overhead lights are on in a typical classroom by 25% (for example, 6 hours a day instead of 8 hours a day), a school can save between $1,000-$2,000 a year!
I got to spend last weekend enjoying the beautiful fall colors and cheering on the University of Georgia Bulldogs in one of my favorite small towns, Athens, GA. The Georgia Bulldogs were playing the University of South Carolina Gamecocks, also known as the “real” USC (at least to me, and just about every other southerner). I attended the University of Georgia as a freshman before transferring to Arizona State to study Sustainability. Even though I love living in Arizona, I sure do miss SEC football!
Have you ever considered how many electronics are located in your home? According to a report by the Consumer Electronic Association in 2013, the average American household owns 28 electronic products. With more and more consumers upgrading devices to the newest smartphone or device, EPA’s 2014 Advancing Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) report shows that Americans generated 3.36 million tons of obsolete electronic products in 2014. This waste is often referred to as e-waste. E-waste is an informal name for electronics that are at the end of their “useful life.”
I was recently up in Northern Arizona, and had some time to explore the great sites in the area. I went into Utah and hiked Zion National Park, walked to Horseshoe Bend, took some beautiful pictures from a few vistas overlooking Lake Powell, and walked around the Glen Canyon Dam and the Carl Hayden Visitor’s Center. I’ve seen dams before, but had not really explored them and how they worked. In today’s blog, I’d like to share some of what I learned about the Glen Canyon Dam and how it provides power to the surrounding areas and states.
At Pierce Energy Planning, we’re all about changing behavior to save energy. One of the key groups we need to empower to change their behavior is students. The EPA estimates that behavioral and operational changes can save schools up to 25% on their energy bills annually. Making sure kids are aware and helping to promote energy conservation messages can help districts see savings on the higher end of that estimate.
How many of you took time on August 21, 2017 to check out the total eclipse? One of our Pierce Energy colleagues drove up to Idaho to view it in the path of totality. I was in the Chicago-area, and saw it at approximately 90% (with my safety glasses of course!). Even if you weren’t in a spot where you could see the full spectacle, it was still an exciting thing to witness – especially since it doesn’t happen very often – the next total eclipse won’t be visible in the continental U.S. until April 2024.
As I approach my last semester of college and prepare for graduation, I am flooded with the famous question, “What’s your plan?”. This simple yet daunting question leaves most soon-to-be college graduates stressed and overwhelmed. As scary as graduation seems, I am eager to delve into the real world, follow my passion, and start a career in Sustainability.