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Showing posts with the label efficiency

Solutions at Home

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How often do you find yourself looking outside for solutions to our environmental crises -- Federal regulation, conservation of wildlands, and the greening of industry.  These are all efforts that need to be pursued, but I end up spending so much time reading NEPA analysis or sending in public comments on proposed projects that I may lose sight of what is truly within my power to change.  That is why it was refreshing to learn that the US Green Building Council, and the Sierra Club's My Generation Campaign and San Gorgonio Chapter sponsored a home energy efficiency seminar in Southern California.  The seminar is part of a series that will focus on increasing awareness of efficiency and local clean energy (i.e. rooftop solar) solutions in underserved communities.  I hope to have advanced notice of future seminars in this series, and I will advertise them here on the blog.

In the face of environmental disaster -- particularly energy sources that destroy our wildlands and pollute ou…

Solar Trends Show Wildlands Sacrifice is Not Necessary

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Solar energy is a rapidly growing piece of the energy pie necessary to kick our habit of dirty fossil fuels, but trends in solar energy growth so far, and an abundance of suitable spaces for solar panels in our cities and on already-disturbed lands suggests there is no need to sacrifice our open wildlands.   

Making Progress Without Desert Destruction
Solar energy generation has grown to over 5,100 megawatts in the United States according to GTM research -- enough to replace roughly nine Reid Gardner coal power plants. How did we reach this goal?  A good chunk is from rooftop solar, while most of the larger solar facilities contributing to this number were built on already-disturbed lands.  Most utility-scale projects that are destroying desert wildlands, such as BrightSource Energy's Ivanpah Solar project, are not included in this number because they are not yet plugged into the grid.

Looking to Already-Disturbed Lands
Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Agency made a mapping…

Energy Efficiency vs. Desert Destruction

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It is easy to overlook the power each individual can exercise simply by switching off lights that are not being used, upgrading appliances, or unplugging your cell phone charger.  A July 2009 study by McKinsey and Company found enormous energy efficiency potential in the United States, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory packaged that data in a map that helps us understand just how much money and electricity we could be saving if we lived more sustainably and built more efficient homes and appliances.

The 30 cities with the most potential energy efficiency savings could cut a combined 261,107 gigawatt hours (GWh).  To put that in perspective, that is the equivalent of shutting down dozens of dirty fossil fuel plants.   That energy savings is also the equivalent of nearly 241 desert-destroying solar projects like BrightSource Energy's Ivanpah Solar facility, which has already decimated 5.6 square miles of pristine Mojave Desert habitat.

Why are we destroying grasslands in …