When most people think of October, they picture changing leaves, warm apple cider, the quiet of shoulder season, and of course, Halloween. If you’ve made it this far into October without being spooked, allow the Climate Action Collaborative to share some scary stories, bone-chilling facts, and soothing solutions about our changing climate.
If you’re looking for an especially scary story this Halloween, keep an ear out for radio advertisements promoting natural gas as an important tool for achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. Like most scary stories, this simply is not true. The oil and gas industry has a vested interest in natural gas winning the best costume award at the Halloween party, so much so that they promoted the name “natural gas” to disguise what it really is. Peel back the bedsheet, and you’d be better off calling natural gas “methane gas,” since it is composed of 70-90% methane. Methane drives at least 25% of all global warming and is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Spooky indeed!
Eagle County’s Climate Action Plan calls for adopting “net zero or all-electric construction code for new buildings” by 2030 in order to reduce emissions by 50%. As Holy Cross Energy, our superhero this Halloween, gets closer to 100% renewable electricity (they’ll be at over 90% by the end of 2024), now is the time to go all-electric! Phasing out natural gas use in your home doesn’t have to happen all at once. As appliances reach their end of life, consider replacing them with an all-electric model. You can even get rebates on all-electric upgrades from Walking Mountains! Combined with improving your home’s insulation, going all-electric will save you money in the long run, reduce emissions, and improve the indoor air quality & safety of your home. This Halloween, don’t let the scary stories get to you. Going all-electric is even better than king-sized candy bars!
Aside from methane gas, what’s the creepiest creature you’re going to run into this Halloween? Ghosts? Clowns? People who give trick-or-treaters toothbrushes instead of candy? No, it’s an energy vampire! Rather than sucking blood, energy vampires are appliances that suck electricity from your house, even when they aren’t being used. According to the US Department of Energy, energy vampires suck between $100 and $200 of electricity each year, roughly the same price as four of those life-size skeletons you’ve been eying for the front yard.
No need for garlic, there are even easier ways to rid your home of these spooky vampires. Simply unplug non-essential household appliances when you aren’t using them. Done with the hairdryer? Finished making a smoothie? No longer charging your phone? Unplug it! If unplugging isn’t practical, plug your devices into a power strip. Even when they’re turned off, your TV and cable box still consume between 25-45 watts of electricity. When you turn off a power strip, you’ll keep those electricity-sucking vampires away from the TV so you can watch all the scary movies you like.
Not only is October the scariest month of the year, it’s also National Clean Energy Action Month! Take action by committing to be a part of an all-electric future and eliminating pesky energy vampires. No matter if you’re a Barbie, a Ken, a witch, or a pirate, this Halloween, we can all agree that you shouldn’t be a zombie when it comes to energy efficiency. The Climate Action Collaborative wishes you a safe and happy Hallo-Green!
Will Barror is the Climate Action Collaborative Coordinator at Walking Mountains Science Center. The Climate Action Collaborative is working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Eagle County 50% by 2030 and 80% by 2050.