A few years ago, I read a fascinating story about a cattle rancher. This guy needed someway to let the cattle know when it was time to come in. This wasn’t always at the same of the day so he needed a signal to the bull (leader) of the herd. His solution, an inexpensive pager like many of us used to carry. Hi attached the pager around the neck of the bull. He trained the cow that when it was time to come in, the pager would ring. It worked!!
I’ve felt strongly for quite a while that the next green thing would be something sitting right under our noses. I love it when we take something that is obvious and re-purpose it for something else. I think “The Next Green Thing” is going to be exactly that. We are going to get VERY serious about energy efficiency.
Recently Dr. Paul MacGregor, Senior Vice President, Clean Energy Markets for Nexant, Inc. (www.nexant.com) had the following to say:
The greenest source of energy available to power our economy is energy efficiency. From an application perspective, energy efficiency provides constant “generation” for better utility system operation, has no geographical limits, and is already competitive from a capital cost standpoint. From an environmental perspective, energy efficiency requires no additional resources such as land and water-whereas even renewable energy requires the construction of generation facilities and transmission lines. In fact, since energy efficiency displaces generation over the entire day and not just during the daylight hours as is the case with solar, its environmental benefits are greater-replacing not just cleaner peaking generation, such as gas turbines, but also “dirtier” baseload generation, such as coal plants.
The key to expanding the clean energy contribution to our generation mix is to accelerate and expand the adoption of the greenest form of energy, energy efficiency. The potential impact of energy efficiency was quantified by a recent report by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) indicating that the U.S. can cost-effectively reduce energy consumption by at least 25% to 30% over the course of the next 20 to 25 years.
This is a key concept: The greenest form of energy is energy efficiency. Currently, renewable energy only comprises about 2.5% of the electrical generation. In fact, the demand for electricity is growing almost as fast as the increase in renewable energy. Efficiency is the key for making this happen.
In my area, we are seeing more people get interested in getting a home energy audit. These simple tests conducted by checking air-movement, wall density, and sometimes using an infrared camera show very quick things that can be done to make a huge and immediate impact to the efficiency of a home. Even if you don’t live in the Portland Oregon, Vancouver WA area, there is a ton of great information at Swiftsure Energy Services.