Monday, February 15, 2010

Even Boulder Finds It Isn't Easy Going Green

This article from the WSJ highlights the growing pains in the energy efficiency industry. Boulder, Colorado is walking the path less traveled with respect to creating an energy policy and educating the public on their carbon footprint. The city will eventually be the model to which the rest of the nation looks. All good policy is built on mistakes.

The article also implies the critical need for certified energy auditors (see RESNET) to help homeowners and businesses save the most money on their energy efficiency efforts. I remember one of my energy teachers saying in class, that we need a license to drive a car but we don't need a license to own a home. He was implying that we really don't know how our homes work (see carbon monoxide deaths due to blockage of combustion air) just as we don't know how to drive a car until we are taught. Each home is unique in that it uses energy differently and wastes energy at different rates. A certified energy auditor will be able to examine your home or commercial building and recommend enhancements that will help your home use energy wisely.

Finally, maybe it's time we all looked in the mirror, myself included. I like gadgets - desktop computers, LCD TVs, cell phones, laptop computers, stereo systems, etc. And our society if increasingly becoming dependent on electricity to use those gadgets. We all have to begin to realize the amount of energy each of our gadgets and households consume and then take the steps to reduce the amount of electricity we consume. It's possible if you educate yourself.

And I'll leave you with this one quote in the 4th paragraph of the article:

"What we've found is that for the vast majority of people, it's exceedingly difficult to get them to do much of anything," says Kevin Doran, a senior research fellow at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

I wonder if humans have always been this way. It is certainly possible that we need some sort of existential threat to light a fire under our posterior.

2 comments:

Ben Klaus said...

Because the people won't do it, the govt must make it harder NOT to do it!! ie Gas Tax

Hi Justin!

justin rickard said...

Hey there Ben! Thanks for reading the blog. And a progressive gas tax huh. That's something that's never occurred to me. We could tax coal and natural gas consumption. I remember last summer when gasoline prices where sky high, there was never so little traffic on the roads and the light rail trains were packed. Behavior was altered, well at least until gasoline prices went back down. A tax on our household energy consumption (coal and natural gas) might just work. Although now that I think about it you don't have to drive a car (there are other means of transportation) but you always need heat in the winter time. Since it's a necessity, a household energy consumption tax might not be the right thing. I'll throw this out to other folks and see what they think.

Hope things are treating you well!

-Justin

Wishful Thinking

*Before adding PV, wind, or solar thermal to your residential or commercial structure, the first step is to analyze this structure's energy consumption through a professional energy audit. I'd like to see some public education on the importance of an energy audit for any structure. Remember Smokey the Bear's forest fire shtick drilled into our heads over the last few decades? How about something like, "Henry the House" desperately wanting to know how much energy he consumes and wastes throughout the day?

*With over 300 sunny days a year on the Front Range is it too much to ask for solar PV and thermal modules on every residential and commercial unit (after an energy audit of course)?


*How about affordable plug-in electric cars that go more than 100 miles on a charge with PV and wind powered recharging stations?

*Dreaming of companies large and small adopting business sustainability practices to maximize profits, reduce their carbon footprint, and enhance the lives of their employees and the communities that surround them.

Labels

Abengoa Solar (1) Al Gore (3) algae (3) Amory Lovins (3) anniversary post (1) Arnold Goldman (1) ASES (1) automobile (6) award (3) bacteria (1) bad policy (2) base load (4) battery (4) beer (6) behavior change (2) Berkeley (1) bicycle (1) big business (9) big oil (15) biofuels (39) biomass (3) biomimicry (1) BLM (2) building efficiency (1) carbon capture and storage (1) carbon footprint (5) carbon neutrality (1) cheaper than coal (8) china (1) clean energy (37) cleaner than coal (11) cleantech (29) climate change (2) coal (6) Colorado (204) community solar (4) compost (1) concentrated solar power (17) Congress (6) conservation (3) conserve water (2) consumption (1) covered parking lots (2) CRES (2) CSP (13) Dan Staley (1) demand side management (4) denver (1) department of energy (1) desert (1) distributed power generation (10) DNC (3) DoE (1) doitforthechildren (13) Dr. Dan Arvizu (1) Dr. Ken Swift (1) Dr. Varun Rai (1) editorial (5) education (32) efficiency (11) electric automobiles (9) electric bike (1) energy (7) energy audit (18) energy efficiency (5) energy efficient buildings (62) energy efficient lighting (3) energy independence (5) energy summit (2) environment (5) EPA (4) ethanol (5) externalities (1) financing (2) food (4) fossil fuels (2) fuel cells (3) fuel efficiency (3) futility (3) future thinking (18) gasguzzlersbegone (8) George Orwell (1) geothermal (14) good business (3) good debate (5) good government (79) good thinking (59) grappa (1) green building (1) greengarbage (1) greenhouse gas (1) greenisgood (15) grid-parity (1) HadCRU (1) health (2) high-speed rail (1) Hispanic market (1) homegrown (1) hvac (1) hybrids (3) hydrogen (4) i heart libraries (1) IECC (1) Ignite (2) inaugural post (1) incentives (2) India (1) ingenuity (15) International Energy Conservation Code (1) interview (3) investment (42) irony (1) it'sabouttime (3) jobs (78) kinetic energy (1) Kristen Brown (1) law (6) leasing (3) LED (2) LEED certified (3) legislation (7) light emitting diode (2) localization (21) manufacturing (4) market forces (2) marketing (1) methane gas (5) MIT (8) moo (1) morality (6) morals (1) musings (1) NASA (1) natural gas (11) newyear (1) NOAA (1) nomoredumbpoliticians (9) nomorepetroleum (11) non-originalthought (1) nostalgia (1) NREL (33) nuclear (2) off the grid (1) offshore wind farm (2) op-ed (11) OPEC (1) peak oil (2) petroleumiswaytired (8) photovoltaics (3) piezoelectric (2) policy (33) poopisfuel (4) power plants (9) power purchase agreement (1) President Barack Obama (11) profitability (3) progressive (2) public transit (1) PV (44) renewable energy (2) renewable energy market (1) research (24) ROI (5) RPS (5) Santiago Seage (1) science (23) science is cool (11) Sean Ong (1) second generation biofuels (5) smart design (5) smart grid (12) solar (65) solar cell (4) solar cell efficiency (3) Solar Electric Light Fund (1) solar electric thermal (2) solar gardens (3) solar leases (1) solar market (17) solar thermal (15) solar water heating (1) speed-to-market (2) Steven Chu (1) subsidies (11) suddenoutbreakofcommonsense (24) sun is good (47) Superfund (1) sustainability (46) systems thinking (1) tax credits (22) technology (6) thin-film solar (7) tornado (1) transmission (3) trees (1) triple bottom line (1) United Nations (1) utilities (26) wakeupcall (1) water (3) wearewhatweeat (5) wecandobetter (3) wind (61) World Bank (1) world renewable energy forum (7) WREF 2012 (7) WREF2012 (1) zero energy (3) zero waste (1) zero-energy building (2)

Blog Archive