Over the past two years, I have been working to reduce the impact of the energy consumed by my home. From creating an energy baseline, to minimizing heating/cooling and lighting loads, I have been able to reduce my energy consumption by over 20% for the household.
Plug loads were planned to be the next main area of focus for further reducing my energy consumption. However, there is a fine balance to be played between the waste created by discarding old appliances and the energy savings available. These trade offs should be weighed individually.
I lucked out that when I purchased my home as it came with recently replaced energy star appliances – and so, although there may be more efficient models available, I have decided to make responsible energy choices for these appliances only when they are in need of being replaced. Additionally, lets face it, new appliances can be expensive – and as someone who recently finished a MBA in September, my bank account is not prepared to make any major purchases unless it absolutely needs to.
In the meantime, I wanted to make progress on reducing the impact in regards to the source of my energy. My energy (including heat) comes solely from the electric grid. Depending on where you live, the energy fed into the grid can come from a variety of sources, including many heavily polluting one such as coal, oil or gas.
The above table shows Canadian provinces and how their energy is generated. Provinces with more energy generated by higher polluting sources will benefit the most from switching to renewable energy – however all provinces will benefit.
Many people think about renewable energy being only onsite (such as rooftop mounted solar panels), but it doesn’t have to be. Options exist (such as Bullfrog Power) to purchase renewable energy remotely, allowing less upfront financial investment or ongoing maintenance with similar environmental benefit. Renewable energy certificates (REC’s) ensure that the same amount of energy you purchase is provided to the grid from a renewable source. This money helps to fund new green energy projects increasing the amount of green energy on the grid, which helps to fight climate change and air pollution.
The best part? I was able to do this for less than $15/month.
What are your thoughts on switching your home over to renewable energy? Do you have any experience with onsite or remote renewable energy? What do you think the largest road block for you would be?
Check out previous entries about My Home Energy Project.
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