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Why is it important?

The United States, like most industrial countries, relies heavily on coal, oil, and natural gas for its energy. These fossil fuels are non-renewable, which means they use finite resources that will eventually dwindle, becoming too expensive or environmentally damaging to retrieve. This makes energy reduction an important part of sustainability since our energy footprints can cause detrimental effects on the earth.

Fossil Fuel Facts

  • Fossil fuels include coal, natural gas and oil. The current statistics show that globally, fossil fuels provide for over 85% of all the energy we consume.
  • Americans use about 18 million barrels of oil every day.
  • A liter (around a quart) of gasoline is the result of about 20 metric tons of ancient organic material deposited on the ocean floor.
  • Coal provides over 23% of global primary energy needs and generates around 39% of the world’s electricity. Almost 70% of total global steel production is dependent on coal.

Ways to reduce your energy use

  • Unplug electronics and appliances when not using them; many of them have “standby” modes that still use energy even when they are not in use.
  • Wear more/less clothing in your room during the warm/cold months to reduce energy used for heating/cooling
  • Turn off your lights when leaving your room!
  • Wash your clothes in cold water
  • Buy energy efficient LED bulbs
  • Walk, bike, carpool, or use mass transit!

What could your event look like?

  • Hold an event where you and your residents calculate your carbon footprints and look into actions to reduce them!
  • Plan a scavenger hunt to find wasted sources of energy on campus!
  • Host a presentation on sustainable transportation methods (bus routes, Tar Heel Bikes, walking tour).
  • Have your residents take the Carolina Green Pledge!
  • Plan a walking tour of energy efficient building on campus!

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Resources for energy reduction

  • Carbon Footprint Calculator:
  • UNC Sustainability Resources:
  • Carolina Green Pledge:
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