How to go green in the best way is a question many serious-minded people ask themselves. Green living habits and environmentally friendly practices are worthwhile and should be encouraged.
Finding ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle are the cornerstones of a greener lifestyle, as is attempting to repair any damage done to the environment by our lifestyles. It is the latter goal that has given rise to the proliferation of carbon offsets.
Carbon offsets have become part of the current green lingo. In broadest terms, a carbon offset is a payment made to compensate for carbon emissions. In principle, this payment is directed toward an action or technology that precisely reverses the carbon emissions caused by something done by an individual. For example, a 500-mile flight on a Boeing 737 airplane produces a relatively well-defined amount of emissions. Divide that amount by the number of passengers, and you can calculate the greenhouse gas contribution by each individual on that plane. Continue reading “Why I Don’t Buy Carbon Offsets and Why You Shouldn’t Either”
This is the first entry in a 3-part series called, “Solving the World’s Energy Problem.”
The world has an energy problem. This energy problem began developing the moment that man invented fire. At first it developed very slowly, imperceptibly, when there were very few people in the world and humans were relatively uncivilized. At that time, much of the energy expended by humans was energy spent on activities for survival.
Times changed, and humans grew in numbers and in technological prowess. Eventually, mankind learned how to burn fossil fuels – coal, natural gas, and petroleum – to produce energy in ever-increasing amounts. These fossil fuels were plentiful and could be extracted from the ground cheaply. To this day, civilization on earth runs largely on the burning of fossil fuels.
It is useful to put into perspective how these fossil fuels came about. Coal, gas, and petroleum are all the result of long-dead plants and animals that were converted during millennia into the deposits of fossil fuels that remained buried under the ground until mankind discovered them.
So here is the all-important question. What was the source of the energy that produced these fossil fuels?
It was the sun. Continue reading “Solving the World’s Energy Problem – Part 1”
After making sure that the attic was well insulated, that windows were caulked and drafts were blocked, and getting my family to pay attention to how the thermostat was set, I was ready to try a bigger, and consequently more expensive, experiment.
I decided to install solar panels on my home.
Was it worth it? Well, here are the results.
My home is fairly large, a little over 4,000 square feet (we have a big family that needs quite a bit of space), so the photovoltaic solar panel array that we installed was commensurately large. Where I live, our electricity usage is charged in three tiers. The lowest tier covers what is considered a small baseline usage, the first 250 kilowatt hours in a given month. The second tier comprises the next 500 kilowatt hours, and the third and priciest tier is everything over tiers one and two. The solar panel array was sized to target and largely eliminate the third tier in the summer months when the air conditioning would be running the most. In months in which the solar panels generated more electricity than we used, we got a credit for the power we sent back to the grid, effectively selling that power back to the utility. I admit, I really enjoyed those days when I could go out and see my electric meter spinning backwards. Continue reading “My Experience With Solar Panels”