by Peter Lehner
According to the latest forecast from Weather Channel meteorologists, most of the country is in for a hot summer this year. This is more than a matter of personal discomfort. It also means skyrocketing energy bills, lost work days due to air pollution, and possibly heat-related deaths. As global warming continues unchecked, scientists predict that summer heat waves will become more frequent and extreme in the years ahead.
Staying cool under this kind of pressure means not only changing the way we produce energy–shifting away from polluting fossil fuels and toward clean, renewable energy–but also being more efficient in how we use it. While summer heat can be a big motivator for reducing your personal energy consumption (who wants to turn on the oven in an already sweltering kitchen?), some of the biggest home energy savings happen without us having to lift a finger. American consumers will save more than $1.1 trillion dollars in energy costs by 2035, thanks to government efficiency standards for appliances.
Household appliances are major energy consumers, and many of the items we use without thinking–computers, battery chargers, washing machines–waste a significant amount of power. The cost of this waste is hidden in our energy bills. Energy efficiency standards for appliances play a critical role in helping people keep costs down and the lights on.