Posts Tagged ‘energy’

A fatal explosion at a coal mine.

A disastrous oil leak from a deep water off-shore drilling platform.

An explosion from a ruptured natural gas line in Texas.

What next?

I really think that these events (tragic as they are) should be a wake up call to America that our fossil fuel resources are getting more difficult, more expensive, and more dangerous to recover. I know that the reality of the situation is much more complicated, but we need to start shifting our infrastructure and economy to using more sustainable energy. And I’m not just saying flood the roads with electric cars, because where does the electricity come from that powers them?Coal burning power plants? ¬†Right now, probably. Hydrogen fuel cell cars have the same issue. What power was used to produce the hydrogen in the first place?

Ethanol is no good for many reasons, but here’s one I think is ironic. The US government started subsidizing corn for ethanol production much more than soy beans. Farmers growing soy had no room for corn, so they stopped growing soy and started growing corn instead. Yea, rake in that money! But…the demand for soy was still there. Brazil stepped in and said, ” No problem! We’ve got tons of room to grow soy…just as soon as we cut down all this pesky rain forest getting in the way!” And so the world lost more of the most efficient carbon sinks around, tropical forests. An “alternative” fuel created to minimize carbon’s impact has in fact increased it. All while driving up the price of food and taking up valuable agricultural space that could be used for something else.

We need a fundamental shift from fossil fuels to to truly renewable sources. And when you think about it, most energy is ultimately solar energy (tidal is from the moon). Biomass gets energy directly from the sun, wind energy is just the difference in high and low zones created by heating from the sun, even fossil fuels are old plants and animals broken down into their individual elements (hydrocarbon).

I know that converting our entire grid to renewable sources will be tremendously expensive in the short term, but I believe we will be much better off as a country in the long term. Would you be willing to pay more to guarantee that your power came from renewable sources?

img_16731As you can see by my latest utility bill, my decision to replace our 83 year old gravity-fed, 200,000 BTU, – 50% efficient, Octopus furnace with a new 95% efficient one is already paying off.

Just look at January 08 and January 09. Our daily average was 54% better than last year. Compare 230 therms to 115. Needless to say, I’m very happy with the result. The new exterior insulation we had blown-in also contributed to our energy saving. With that project alone, we reduce our carbon foorprint by 14,000 pounds. And who says being Green doesn’t pay off?

OUT WITH THE OLD IN WITH THE NEW

We got a new stove today. I mentioned I wanted to get a new one at work because I read that 60% of the total energy used per year in gas stoves is just having the pilot lights lit all the time. So this guy at work mentions that he happens to have a gas stove with electric ignition sitting in his garage that he wants to get rid of.

Now my problem is how to get it to my house because my little Suby won’t fit a stove in it. So I tell my uncle who has a Suburban and he says he’ll help me if he can get MY old stove because his is even worse than mine! So after much shuffling, we get the new one in and when I try to hook up the new hose to the old gas fitting, it’s too big. So I ran to the Depot and grabbed a new fitting and also my new favorite tool. A Milwaukee Sawzall! Yeehah! That thing is a beast. I needed it to cut my old furnace apart which is 400 lbs of steel. It cut like butter.