Change lifestyles to cut energy use, report urges

January 22, 1994|By Karen E. Ludwig | Karen E. Ludwig,Contributing Writer

People were urged to help save energy by changing their lifestyles and by writing to Congress about energy policy in a report released yesterday by the Maryland Public Interest Research Group (MaryPIRG).

"With the ice and snow and frigid temperatures upon us, most people are just trying to keep warm. Unfortunately, staying warm is often hard on your pocketbook and on the environment," said Carl Perry, field organizer for MaryPIRG, a nonprofit, nonpartisan consumer and environmental advocacy group.

In a separate appeal, the Maryland Department of the Environment yesterday asked people to avoid using fertilizer to melt ice because that would pollute streams and the Bay.

The report, "Top Ten Ways To Save Energy, Money, and the Environment: A Citizen's Guide," encourages conservation by insulating homes, buying more efficient light bulbs, curtailing use of hot water, minimizing driving and using fuel-efficient cars. However, it says such steps are not enough.

Instead, MaryPIRG wants people to urge government decision-makers to break from what it calls "the misguided energy policies of previous administrations."

Energy use and production is the largest source of pollution in the nation, according to the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, a national lobbying office for state public interest groups. Environmental problems such as acid rain, urban smog, global warming and oil spills result from U.S. reliance on fossil fuels, the group says.

The report notes that from 1948 to 1992, 16 percent of federal spending on energy research and development went for improved energy efficiency and renewable sources of energy. During the same period, 84 percent went for research and development of nuclear and fossil fuels.

Polls show that Americans largely support energy efficiency, the report said. However, the nation continues to be an "energy glutton," relying heavily upon polluting sources of energy such as oil, coal, gas and nuclear power.

"Our current energy policies threaten our environment, our public health, and our economy," said Mr. Perry.

He urged support of a House measure introduced last November by Rep. Constance A. Morella, R-8th, and others that calls for a shift in federal energy policies.

House Concurrent Resolution 188 calls for a 30 percent increase in the energy efficiency of the nation's economic output, a tripling of the use of renewable energy sources by 2010, and a $1 billion shift in federal energy spending over the next two years.

ENERGY-SAVING TIPS

* Keep heating and cooling equipment clean to avoid wasting energy.

* Use efficient appliances.

* Install compact fluorescent light bulbs.

* Don't waste hot water.

* Insulate your house.

* Replace your gas-guzzling car with a fuel-efficient one.

L * Walk or take mass transit. In warmer weather, ride a bike.

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