Home Sustainable Okotoks 10 Branches of Sustainability 3. Energy Management
3. Energy Management
We all breath the same air. What we do in Okotoks has direct bearing on the quality of life of future generations everywhere. Widespread poverty and dependence on subsistence agriculture make third world countries the most vulnerable to climate change - a sad irony given it is developed economies that are contributing the lion's share of emissions linked to climate change.
As National Geographic stated in its September 2004 article on Global Warming - we need to get to zero emissions to stabilize the CO2 that's already in the atmosphere. Even if we were to stop CO2 emissions now, we are committed to warming. We'll have a better idea of the actual changes in 30 years. But it's going to be a very different world. Sure - the earth has heated and cooled before - independent of human impact. But it's the speed of climate change we need to concern ourselves with. The geopolitical, environmental and social consequences of rapid climate change are profound. Water just may be the weapon of choice in the latter portion of the 21st century. It's a new world our children and grandchildren will have to navigate.
Your Energy Use
Buying Smart: Understanding EnerGuide and EnerStar Labels Energy Information Links:
Details on how to save energy around the home:
In the Laundry Room
Your Space and Water Heating
Around the Kitchen
Lights and Electronics
What Can You Do?
If you can afford alternative renewable energy technology then please be the initiators in this growing green economy and buy 'green'. If you can't currently afford to buy alternative energy or energy technology for your home, then conserve what energy you do use. No matter if our energy is 'green' or not we all should be using less!
Energy Conservation Tips
Buying Smart (Information from NRCAN)
Home Appliances have two price tags - one is the purchase price, and the other is paid out month after month, year after year, in the form of your utility bills. That second, on-going price tag is why it's so important to consider the operating costs as well as the purchase price when buying an appliance. All home appliances must have an EnergyGuide® label that estimates how much electricity, in kilowatt-hours (kWh), is needed each year to run the appliance and to heat water, based on the yearly cost of gas or electric water heating.
Before you go shopping, explore the EnergyStar® models. This label appears on appliances that are the most energy efficient products in their class, and may be found on washing machines, refrigerators, dishwashers, video tape recorders, televisions, computers and room air conditioners. Manufacturers and retailers can voluntarily place EnergyStar® labels on those appliances that meet or exceed standards set by Natural Resources Canada.
For the most information on Canadian Energy Standards and Rebate programs go to Natural Resources Canada website:
Green Energy Alternatives - Success Stories
Drake Landing Solar Community - An Innovation in Alternative Energy Use
"The world uses 320 billion kilowatt-hours of energy a day - 22 bulbs burning non-stop for every person on the planet. Within the next century - humanity could use three times that much. Fossil fuels have met the growing demand because they pack millions of years of the sun's energy into a compact form, but we will not find their like again. Plenty of contenders for the energy crown now held by fossil fuels are already at hand: wind, solar, even nuclear. But the successor will have to be a congress, not a king."
(National Geographic, August, 2005)
It seems so easy to say we can draw energy from the natural energy source in our backyard. The challenge...a cost per kilowatt hour still four times higher than non-renewable resources. At present levels of efficiency it would take 10,000 square miles of solar panels - bigger than Vermont - to satisfy all of the US's electricity needs. However, we also know that we're running out of healthy atmosphere faster than we're running out of fossil fuels. The more we diversify our sources, the better.
Alternative energy is catching on in parts of the developed and developing world where it's a necessity, not a choice. Solar power is making inroads in African communities lacking power lines and generators. In developed countries, there's a sense that alternative energy - once seen as quaint hippie enthusiasm - is no longer alternative culture. It's edging into the mainstream.