It's getting easier all the time to run your home on green energy: More than half of all electricity consumers in the U.S. have the option of purchasing some kind of green power product from their electricity provider.
Find out how you can buy green power by visiting the Department of Energy's Green Power Network website, which offers a state-by-state list of green energy providers. (If you can't, contact your local utility and tell it you want to purchase green power.)
Choosing to purchase renewable energy may or may not cost you more. And you won't necessarily receive electricity from your designated source; we can't control how electrons flow through the electrical grid like that. You will know that your dollars are paying for the ongoing maintenance or further development of renewable energy sources like wind, solar and geothermal.
Why bother? Coal, which produces about half of all electricity in the U.S., also produces most of its air pollution, according to the American Lung Association more than any other category of industry. In all, coal-fired power plants release 386,000 tons of hazardous air pollutants, including those that cause acid rain, which still threatens mountain ecosystems; mercury, which contaminates fish and can lead to brain damage in children who are exposed; and ozone and smog, which causes asthma attacks, heart attacks and other serious health problems. Burning coal is also a major source of the carbon dioxide emissions fueling global warming.
By choosing an alternative power source, you're sending an economic signal to power producers, investors and government representatives that clean power is preferable.
Enter your city or zip code to get your local temperature and air quality and find local green food and recycling resources near you.