Energy Use

We all need energy to get things done. Whether we’re commuting to work, cooking our dinner, checking our e-mail or washing our clothes, all of us are using energy all the time. We need lights so we can see at night, hot water heaters so we can take showers and baths, refrigerators to keep our food and drinks fresh and cold. We all need energy to power our daily routines.

The energy we use comes from a lot of different sources, but every energy source falls into one of two groups: renewable or nonrenewable sources. Renewable energy sources are those that can be replenished or replaced in a short period of time. Energy from the sun, the wind and agricultural crops are examples of renewable sources of energy. Nonrenewable sources are those that we use up but can’t replace very quickly. Examples include oil and coal.

Knowing where your energy comes from, and whether it’s renewable or not, is an important first step toward figuring out your carbon footprint and, ultimately, reducing your personal contribution to climate change.