Education on Clean Energy
In addition to promoting clean energy alternatives, MEIC also focuses on education on clean energy to make others more aware of the benefits of renewable energy and the danger climate change poses to Montana and the entire world.
MEIC played a key role in Governor Brian Schweitzer’s Climate Change Advisory Committee that developed a Climate Change Action Plan for Montana in 2007. The final report included 54 recommendations to return Montana’s greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020 and save Montanans a net of $65.8 million dollars.
Educating the public about cradle to grave environmental, economic and climate change impacts of various energy resources is a key component of MEIC’s work.
MEIC recognizes that knowledge is power when it comes to saving energy and provides information on ways that individuals can save energy and use energy more efficiently. Here are 8 easy ways to reduce your own energy use:
- Have an energy audit – NorthWestern Energy offers a free energy audit for your home. They will provide suggestions for saving energy.
- Install efficient lighting – A compact fluorescent light bulb lasts ten times as long, uses a quarter of the electricity, and saves about $40 over its life.
- Choose Energy Star – When replacing appliances, always look for the Energy Star label.The Energy Star label is now being applied to new home construction as well. Go to www.energystar.gov
- Produce renewable power – NWE administers a grant program that can help pay for a solar or wind electric system that still leaves you connected to the grid. Also, Montana offers low interest loans to help finance these projects, and state and federal governments offer valuable tax credits for conservation and renewable energy investments. Visit: www.montanagreenpower.com.
- Support E+Green – If you’re interested in green power, but not quite ready to invest in your own system, NWE offers an option called “E+Green” For just of $2 extra per month, you can make a contribution to support renewable energy.
- Drive green – With gas at nearly $4 a gallon, increasing your fuel economy will yield tremendous savings. Eliminating unnecessary trips, driving conservatively, removing unnecessary weight (and roof racks), keeping your tires properly inflated, and carpooling are all ways to save fuel and money.
- Purchase carbon offsets – Perhaps the fastest and easiest way to become “carbon neutral” is to purchase carbon offset credits. By logging onto a website such as Bonneville Environmental Foundation’s “www.greentagsusa.org,” you can calculate the amount of carbon dioxide emissions you are responsible for each year, and then pay to partially or completely offset those emissions.
MEIC frequently offers ways you can take action by contacting elected officials and decision makers.