cheapest way to reduce co2

We have (at least) two huge problems facing us.

  • Climate Change (too much CO2 is being emitted)

  • No Money (we’re all in debt)

Logically, we should spend our limited resources to the best effect. So, what is the best bang for our buck ? The parameter to measure is Tons of Carbon Dioxide (avoided) per Dollar…. the lower the better. So, here are a few of the common things we can do to reduce energy usage.  The spreadsheet shows most of the calculations (contact me if you want to know more details), but what is missing is the usual energy savings return on investment. This figure is all about environmental good. It just so happens that environmental good is good for your pocketbook.

So, please let’s spend our money wisely. Hint: Electric cars are cool (not as cool as pluggable hybrids), but they are not the best way to spend our money if we want to reduce carbon dioxide.

* There are many other energy and carbon dioxide reducing strategies not mentioned here.

Aloha… Whole House Fan & Solar Attic Fan Rebates from Hawaii Energy!

We at AirScape are happy to learn of the first whole house fan rebate available in Hawaii! (link) Offered to Hawaii Energy customers, the rebate offers customers $75 back on a whole house fan purchase and $25 back on a solar attic fan purchase. It’s great timing for this type of incentive, because summer is approaching and these efficient natural cooling solutions can help reduce your need for A/C – thus saving you money and sparing the environment.

Get them while they last, though, as the application states it is effective for purchases made from April 1st to June 1st, 2011. We hope for more rebates to roll out soon in Hawaii for all sorts of energy-saving and energy-producing technologies with the recent progress of SB 1520, which would have been left to die if it weren’t for a great showing of public support. Thanks to Hawaii Energy and the Blue Planet Foundation for their efforts to help secure a clean-energy future!

walking uphill

As I was walking up a very steep hill this morning, I devoted my remaining oxygen to calculating my energy output. Once fully oxygenated, I rechecked the numbers and came out with a work output of 168 watts.  This figure is just the energy to lift me up the 170 foot rise over 2 city blocks (10 % average slope as it turns out).

Me walking uphill

So how does this relate to energy, and its inherent value ?  If I worked at that energy output rate for 40 hours per week, 52 weeks per year, for 5 years, I would have produced 1,747 kWh.  As it turns out, a barrel of oil contains about 1,700 kWh of energy (if transformed at 100% efficiency).

Reference: Barrel of oil equivalent

Trains and coal strange bedfellows

We love railroads. Who can’t love their efficiency. BUT… They like coal. They really like coal. According to this report 44% of railroad car traffic is coal. And coal is dirty. It’s dirty in terms of carbon emissions. It’s dirty (but can be cleaned) in terms of particulate emissions. It’s not all that wonderful in terms of mercury dispersal either.

So, which way do you think railroads will lobby (they are corporate “citizens” after all).  Will they throw their weight towards laws which reward efficiency => win for rail transportation. Or will they throw their weight behind more coal burning => still good for railroads.?

Solar Loves Whole House Fans

There are a couple of trends that will affect solar photovoltaic installations:

  • Newer electrical rate structures encourage conservation (tiered rates)
  • ‘Energy Security’ is a powerful motivator
  • Photovoltaic rebates require house efficiency check-ups

We think  solar energy gathering is great. The idea of  getting electricity essentially for  free energy has certainly captivated our imaginations. Even though the cost of photovoltaic panels is dropping very quickly, the investment is still considerable.  Our crystal ball tells us that electrical energy is very, very versatile and will be in demand as electrical cars come on stream and coal fired electrical power plants start to show their ugly side. (coal burning)

As the demand for clean electrical energy increases, its value will certainly not go down.   In fact, if the validity of predicting cheap energy such as the famous line is any guide “too cheap to meter”,then we should get prepared for high prices.

By combining whole house fans solar contractors and  homeowners  can:

  • Decrease the initial investment in PV panels
  • AND/ OR
  • Increase the  Return on Investment for the entire system

If you are considering a heat pump

This article by Henry Gifford, an energy saving specialist discusses why heat pumps are no panacea.  His points, well made, bring home the messages that building envelope efficiency is critical and the importance of examining the entire energy chain –  from power house to your house.  Not that readers of this blog need reminding, but Henry also points out that over half of this country’s electricity derives from coal burning . (BTW clean coal = oxymoron du jour)