A surge in energy and metal prices is offering investors a fresh reminder of how the commodities market can fuel inflation and imperil the post-pandemic economic recovery.
The West Texas Intermediate crude price on Monday settled above $80 a barrel for the first time since 2014 while aluminum futures rose to their highest since July 2008, leading broad gains among base metals. In China, coal futures surged to a record. The availability and cost of these raw materials will have a profound effect on manufacturing.
Escalating concerns about tight fossil fuel supplies as the winter approaches in the Northern Hemisphere has led to a surge in the price of natural gas, coal and oil globally, rattling power generators and other end-users such as fertilizer producers. Meanwhile, a deepening power crisis is squeezing supplies of aluminum, an energy-intensive metal. That comes at a time when the cost of consumer goods is already under pressure from port bottlenecks, supply chain disruptions and labor shortages.
It's clearly time to formulate an energy conservation plan in both our commercial and personal lives. Regardless of your budget or politics, conservation should be on everyone’s mind. I can remember when my girls were young, my oldest would leave the sink running full blast as she brushed her teeth. That made me crazy, and I’ll bet a lot of people do that same thing. That water running down the drain served no purpose at all. The point being that conservation efforts don’t have to be particularly painful. Here are some simple techniques to employ in your conservation plan.
Adjust Your Day-to-Day Behaviors
To reduce energy consumption in your home, you do not necessarily need to go out and purchase energy efficient products. Energy conservation can be as simple as turning off lights or appliances when you do not need them.
The behavior adjustments that have the highest potential for utility savings are turning down the heat on your thermostat in the winter and using your air conditioner less in the summer. Heating and cooling costs constitute nearly half of an average home’s utility bills, so these reductions in the intensity and frequency of heating and cooling offer the greatest savings.
Install a Programmable or Smart Thermostat
A programmable thermostat can be set to automatically turn off or reduce heating and cooling during the times when you are asleep or away. On average, a programmable thermostat can save you $180 per year.
Purchase Energy Efficient Appliances
On average, appliances are responsible for roughly 13% of total household energy use. When purchasing an energy efficient appliance, you should look for appliances with the ENERGY STAR label, which is a federal guarantee that the appliance will consume less energy during use and when on standby than standard models.
Weatherize Your Home
Weatherizing, or sealing air leaks around your home, is a great way to reduce your heating and cooling expenses. The most common sources of air leaks into your home are vents, windows, and doors. To seal air leaks between stationary objects, such as the wall and window frame, you can apply caulk. For cracks between moving objects, such as operable windows and doors, you can apply weather stripping. Weather stripping and caulking are simple air sealing techniques that typically offer a return on investment in less than a year.
These are relatively inexpensive and painless conservation techniques to employ in your plan. Whether you believe in global warming or are a fan of the new green deal we’re facing a global threat of cost and supply chain challenges. Conservation is something we can all do for the good of our economy and enviornment.
Stay Safe Everyone.
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