Welcome to Day One of the Going Green program here at Casa Burbanista! Our first change is easy to implement - if you happen to live in the right area.
It is to simply change your energy supplier from a coal-burning or other traditional, resource-sucking energy source to a renewable energy source such as wind, solar or biomass. I made this change last fall and it immediately lifted a buttload of guilt off my shoulders whenever I would accidentally leave a light on or need to dry clothes in a hurry. Here are some snippets from my original post on the subject:
Conventional electricity sources include coal, nuclear, oil, natural gas, and large hydropower facilities. These sources supply about 99% of the electricity used in the United States today. Many of these sources of energy would not be economically competitive if we were to pay their full costs, including damage to the environment and human health, security risks, and long-term storage costs.
These costs are borne by society, but are not reflected in our energy bills. They are paid for in other ways: higher health insurance premiums and defense expenditures, and long-term depletion of resources. Incorporating these external costs into the price of energy to give consumers accurate information on the true costs of energy is one of the most important challenges in creating a sustainable energy future.
My previous supplier of electricity was Dominion Power, whose energy source is mainly coal and nuclear. In fact, Dominion is spreading across the US, and is planning three new coal-fired power plants, one in Virginia, one in Ohio, and a mega-plant in an undisclosed location.
Fortunately, due to energy de-regulation you may be eligible to choose where your energy comes from. Yes, it's true! The US Department of Energy has a very user-friendly website that lest you click on your state to find companies that offer "green power" in your state. The results will include utility green pricing programs, retail green power products offered in competitive electricity markets, and renewable energy certificate (REC) products.
Now you might be thinking, yeah, that's green and all, but won't it cost more?
The short answer? Yes. A few cents per kilowatt hour. However, I know that Dominion, at least, has recently announced they will be increasing their rates by 18% soon, so the increase might not be so great. Plus, I PROMISE to bring you enough energy-saving tips over the next couple of months that will more than make up the difference!
What if there are no alternative energy suppliers in your area? Well that just sucks. Go grab your handy-dandy list of representatives and write them each a short letter asking them what they are doing to facilitate alternative energy options in your region.
What if you've already made this change? Congrats to you! But that means you get stuck with a harder assignment: You need to go talk to your employer about changing their energy supplier.
What if you need help finding an alternative supplier and you don't live in the US so all the informative links I gave do you no good? Hmmmm, this one's trickier. Lord knows I'll be no hope, since I'm already on vacation! Why not try hopping on the Yahoo! Group and asking for help... that's what it's there for!
Good luck with this change! Hope to hear some discussion on the group. Have a safe and sane Fourth of July, my American friends. I'll see you all on Monday.