Every year on Earth Day, John Oppermann hears the same question: “How do I green my lifestyle?”
“People are so eager to change,” says Oppermann, executive director of the Earth Day Initiative. “The demand is there, but it can be overwhelming knowing where to start. We made it super easy for individuals to take a big first step.”
The biggest way households contribute to global warming is their electric consumption, much of which is created using fossil fuels and fracking. These methods damage the environment from the way they’re removed from the earth to being burned in power plants.
This is what makes switching to a green energy source the most impactful change you can make to green your household, and with the #CountTo50 campaign, it can be the easiest change you make, too.
Taking advantage of cleaner renewable energy sources is tricky for the average apartment-dweller — it’s not like you can add solar panels to your balcony. But anyone who pays an energy bill can switch from a standard provider to a clean energy one. All it takes is a utility bill with your account number, and logging onto earthdayinitiative.org.
While there, you can also check out the Earth Day Initiative’s complete guide to greener living, with tips for sustainable transportation, food and fashion.
There are no tax refunds for switching to green power, like those for homeowners who install solar paneling. But the cost to switch is minimal, and often nothing. We did the math on an apartment in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn: ConEd provides conventional power at 5.89 cents per kilowatt hour, versus the lowest green energy estimate quoted for the same apartment at 8.29 cents/kwh.
“In some cases your energy bill increases, in others it decreases, depending on what you’re already paying,” he says. “But the increase is often no more than $5 a month, and usually less.” And the more people who sign up for clean energy, the more prices will come own.
“We really need people to raise their voices and take direct action,” says Oppermann, “and send their dollars to something they believe in and switch to clean energy.”