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In Review

The Carbon Buster’s Home Energy Handbook

Slowing Climate Change and Saving Money

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by Godo Stoyke. 171 pages, paperback. New Society Publishers, 2007.

You’re nearly at the end of this issue of Earth Island Journal, and if you’ve read all the previous pages, you’re either so depressed that you want to just turn off the lights and curl up under the blankets, or you’re energized, informed, and ready to fight excessive energy consumption. Although the first choice is a great way to conserve energy, we’d really prefer that you choose the second option, and we’re ready to help.

Off the top of your head, you could probably think of at least five ways to conserve energy. Turn the heat down. Turn off the lights when you’re not in the room. Use energy-efficient lightbulbs. Make sure there are no drafts in your home. Ride a bike, walk, or use public transportation instead of driving a car. Presumably, if you’re already eco-conscious, you’re already doing some of these things. Of course, there are hundreds of other ways to conserve energy. Getting a copy of The Carbon Buster’s Home Energy Handbook: Slowing Climate Change and Saving Money is probably one of the easiest. With this handy guide in hand, you’ll waste less of your own energy trying to figure out what you can do to make positive changes. The book is loaded with ideas to help get you started.

Not only will you be doing something good for the planet, but you’ll also be doing something good for your bank account. According to author Godo Stoyke, president of Carbon Busters Inc., “A typical family can save $17,000 in energy costs over five years, and exceed the requirements of the Kyoto Protocol in the home arena by 860 percent.”

Stoyke gives two sets of recommendations: one for carbon misers, or those who simply want the best dollar return for saving on energy costs, and carbon busters, whom he defines as those who want the most effective ways to reduce carbon emissions, no matter what the cost. Along the way, Stoyke tallies the total cost savings and carbon emission reductions at the bottom of each page, showing the amount of dollar savings and carbon reductions that can be achieved by following the recommendations along the way.

The book is packed with information, including an extensive appendix, telling you where to get even more information about energy reduction. This feature is both a strength and the only weakness of the book. It gives highly specific information, even naming those brands of appliances that will save you the most. But because the book is so detailed and just a scant 171 pages, there are times when you’ll reach information overload. The dense layout of pages is less appealing and easy to read than it could be. Okay, so you have to use a little of your own energy to get the most out of this book. Curl up under the blankets and have a good read.


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