It’s been a busy couple of weeks in the ecosphere. Keeping up with what’s happening in green building and on the environmental front would be a full-time job in itself. Here are a few of some of the thought-provoking the articles from the last week.
Nearly Net Zero Energy Home: http://www.jetsongreen.com/2011/04/boleyn-solar-home-happy-valley.html. This is an excellent example of a good looking nearly “zero net energy” house. A zero net energy home is defined as a home that produces the same amount of energy as it uses. This one comes close with a combined electric and heating bill of $263 per year.
US Energy Production Mix 2011 and 2035: http://www.grist.org/climate-energy/2011-04-22-chart-of-the-day-the-u.s.-energy-mix-in-2035: I admit that I’m a numbers geek, so I love these two pie charts on Grist that show the make up of the US energy mix now and predicted for 2035. The big take away is that natural gas will have more of a presence and coal less. I guess my own disappointment is that renewables are still predicted to make up only 11% of the entire energy supply mix. Eleven percent? Can’t we do any better than that?
Living Future Conference 2011: http://www.buildinggreen.com/live/index.cfm/2011/4/29/Postcards-from-the-Unconference: Building Green people are attending the “Living Future ‘Unconference,'” in Vancouver this week. I admit that I’ve never heard of the event, but once I read about it, I will now be paying very close attention. Basically, the conference is a way to bring visionaries together who look beyond “green buildings” and towards how do we rejuvenate cities to be healthy urban environments?
Stop Climate Change — What you can do: http://www.davidsuzuki.org/what-you-can-do/top-10-ways-you-can-stop-climate-change/: From Earth Day, a list of the top ten things you can do to stop climate change. Really? We can stop climate change by eating local/organic and carpooling? The list of actions is symbolic of course — yes you should eat less meat and use the car less and it will make you feel like you’re actually doing something about it, but we should also be putting pressure on governments and corporations to lead by example. The last action: donate to your favourite environmental not for profit organization.
Why use an Energy Monitor: http://blog.practicallygreen.com/2011/04/top-action-save-money-avoid-surprises-when-you-use-a-home-energy-monitoring-device-to-track-electricity-usage/: I couldn’t write a weekly round up without pointing to my own article, could I? For Practically Green’s action: use an energy monitoring device I wrote about why this is an important step. After all, if you’re trying to figure out how to reduce your own energy consumption at home, you have to know what’s consuming all the energy. In the “Comments Section” one reader notes that one watt of power in Massachusetts produces 11 pounds of carbon in the air. It all depends on your state or province’s energy production mix, but it’s a good number to think about. Imagine how much energy is wasted (and CO2 pumped into the air) because we leave TVs and computers on standby all the time.