By Nina Wu
Taking the Hawaii Clean Energy Pledge online is easy enough.
You click, you put in a name, email, zip code and click a few boxes pledging to: Use hot water in your home more efficiently; Reduce energy used for lighting; Make your refrigerator more efficient; Find energy saving ways to cool your home; Save energy when doing your laundry; And ask others to help and take the pledge.
More than 400 local residents have taken the pledge, so far.
We have a solar water heater, so check. We use CFLs, so check. We have an EnergyStar fridge, so check. We don't have air-conditioning but just ceiling fans and floor fans at home, so check; We line-dry most of the time, so check; Tweeted this and blogging this, so check.
But there's a lot more we probably could do to help Hawaii reach its goal of 70 percent clean energy by 2030. A solar PV system would be nice. We have some areas of the home — like outdoors — which aren't using CFLs. We could probably update the washer one day to see if there's a more energy-efficient model.
Believe me, sometimes I wish we did have air-conditioning because our home isn't positioned to get the natural tradewinds. Maybe we should look into a whole house fan.
"In order to help Hawaii reach 70 percent clean energy usage by 2030, 30 percent of the effort needs to come from everyone in Hawaii reducing their personal energy use," said Mike Kelly, general manager of Cox Media Group.
The website's goal is to help residents learn more about how to reduce their energy use at home. If you take the pledge, you will receive an email series teaching you "5 Things You Can Do in 5 Weeks to Conserve Energy at Home," and be entered to win monthly prizes like a solar-powered attic fan.
Check out the Kids Corner, too – it has some great educational material for parents and teachers as well as kids, with answers for questions like: What is energy? And where does energy come from?
Kanu Hawaii is also running an Energy Challenge this month at www.kanuhawaii.org/energy. It's a four-week challenge looking at ways to audit your energy use, adjust appliances to use less energy, get out of the car and explore new modes of transportation, and share what you learned with others.
Participants who make an online commitment get a chance to win a free solar water heater from RevoluSun, home lighting retrofits from Energy Industries, and $400 in gift certificates from City Mill.