Energy Star

Green New Deal: Inserting Realities into Radical Proposals

The Green New Deal proposed this month in Congress calls for radical changes to how we get our electricity. The non-binding resolution introduced by two progressive Democrats as reported by NPR suggests the energy sector can be converted to 100% zero-carbon power within 10 years while at the same time eliminating future nuclear power plants.

Can the U.S. realistically eliminate generating electricity from natural gas, coal and possibly nuclear sources in the next decade? According to the Energy Information Agency, here are the present sources of power generated in the U.S.: Natural Gas 33%, Coal 29%, Nuclear 20%, Hydroelectric 7%, Wind 7%, Solar 2%, and Biomass 2%

As you can see, 64% of current power generated releases carbon. Nuclear power does not directly emit carbon into the atmosphere and receives mixed to negative support by environmentalists. Currently, renewable wind and solar only accounts for 9% of power generation.

So it is not realistic to propose converting the entire power fleet in a decade to renewables only. Senator Diane Feinstein from California, which leads the nation in renewable power generation, said the Green New Deal must be modified to be more realistic, provide funding such as a carbon tax, and not have such an ambitious timeline. Most of the news coverage showed her defensively debating with children.

I believe that the Green New Deal is timely for creating the debates needed to move the United States from being the second largest emitter of carbon (China is the largest) to leading the future of green power generation and that rational realism, such as including new nuclear technologies as reported in Forbes, needs to be adopted in future legislation and energy planning.

Home Energy Audits Can Save Energy and Money

Although we bought a new home three years ago with several Energy Star features, the temperature of the upstairs room above the garage is not comfortable much of the year. So we began investigating the source of the problem.

Xcel Energy provides electricity and natural gas to our home. They offer up to $200 in rebates covering about two-thirds of the cost of having a home energy audit. They also provide an approved list of qualified auditors. We selected a local company that brought several tools to measure items like air flow, insulation, heating and ventilation. They installed a fan on the front door to look for air leaks - we found a large hole in the upstairs room going into the interior roof where a door jam was located. I easily patched the hole using spray foam. Using simulated smoke for air flow and an infrared camera showing thermal gradients, they found that while air flow does properly go from the kitchen and living room out to the garage, the roof is not well ventilated. We are looking into the insulation blocking air vents and adding a fan on the roof.


Revolutionizing a Low-Carbon Energy Economy Worldwide: the arguments of Climate Change and Changing Public Opinion

As the United Nations climate change summit begins in Paris, there are optimistic signs of new initiatives. President Obama announced that 20 countries will double their R&D budgets over the next 5 years for clean energy with Mission Innovation. These countries on five continents produce 75% of the world's carbon emissions. Government investments are being made along with private-sector capital such as the Bill Gates led group of billionaire investors creating the Breakthrough Energy Coalition.

While many people remain skeptical that humans can cause global climates to change and if the billionaire investors and numerous governments who are calling for low-carbon energy sources is still not convincing -- consider some of the simple arguments that I have been making for decades. By the way, this controversial topic of global warming became the topic of great debate in my family:

* Burning coal and other fossil fuels causes air pollution smog which can emit radioactivity.

Look what's going on in China: Being outside for 1 hour can reduce your life expectancy by 20 minutes! And cold air inversions trapping pollution is common in many US cities like Denver!

* Scientist have known for 120 years that greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide can cause warming and cooling of the atmosphere!

* Recall the concern and ultimate ban on chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) that caused huge holes in the ozone? I've seen Australian children required to wear sun hats due to increased cancer risk.

* What will happen if we do not take action? Are we seeing an irreversible global meltdown? I am amazed that many business channels  like Bloomberg are now advocating the science of climate change!

* Scientist like to discuss the uncertainty - will the earth warm 2,4, 6, or 8 degrees as various modeling scenarios are used to predict? However, the financial markets and politicians want absolute certainty before taking action. I've felt for a long time that by the time scientists can prove global warming it might be too late - consider that Plate Tectonics is still considered a theory

So what are some of the things that we can all do to help  reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions while saving money?  According to EPA there are many things we can do including replacing light fixtures, insulating your home, buying Energy Star appliances, and using water efficiently.

Check your energy provider to see if they offer home energy audits. Xcel Energy provides up to $200 in rebates for having energy audits conducted. Two 250 megawatt power plants have NOT been built in Colorado as a result of energy conservation!

Contact us at Conserve & Pro$per to take action!


Do you want to save money on electricity bills?

There are many ways to save money on electricity bills. The simplest and most important thing we can do is replace the central air filters often. Check out USA Today with information from Consumer's Reports. Are you using Energy Star appliances and LED lighting? 

In our area of the Redlands, Colorado, people like to see the night sky and many people make an effort to turn off lights at night. Not only can we see the stars, we are also saving money and helping to reduce pollution from electric generation!  

An energy audit to find where hot or cold air is being lost is available to homes and businesses, so give us a call to find out how you can save money at Conserve & Pro$per LLC (970-260-8915).