Recently we have been asked about the best ways to reduce our carbon emissions. Here’s one list of answers from Science. I bet you could do at least one of them, and I suspect you will be surprised by some of them.
Updated March 28, 2018:
Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) is a bulk energy purchasing program intended to lower costs and transition to greater use of renewable energy for residents and small businesses in cities, towns, and villages that decide to participate.
As a member of the Rochester People’s Climate Coalition (RPCC), ColorBrightonGreen.org has committed to support this program because of the carbon cutting opportunities it offers.
Community Choice Aggregation is a program that has been advocated locally by the RPCC who has partnered with Joule Assets, whose principals helped make this program a reality in Westchester County. A local CCA has the ability to provide residents and small business electric customers a locally chosen alternative to the state-mandated utility—RG&E, National Grid, or NYSEG—for energy supply. A local CCA can represent the best interests of consumers by providing choices for lower, fixed prices and cleaner (100% renewable or 100% carbon free) energy.
In order for residents and small businesses to benefit from this program, their local government has to first pass a local law to authorize them to participate. To date, the Villages of Lima, Scottsville, and Brockport and the Towns of Geneva and Brighton have passed those local laws. In addition, the Villages of Lima and Brockport along with the Town of Geneva have advanced to the second step in making a CCA real by selecting an administrator—the team of RPCC/Joule Assets. The Town of Pittsford, potentially in collaboration with the Village of Pittsford has scheduled a CCA public meeting for Wednesday, April 18, 2018 to inform residents and Town Board members about CCA and potential Administrators. At the April meeting, two potential CCA Administrator organizations (RPCC/Joule Assets and Good Energy) will give presentations about CCA and their administrative implementation plans. Other municipal governments with an interest in CCA include the Cities of Rochester and Canandaigua, the Town of Irondequoit, and the Village of Honeoye Falls.
For more information on Community Choice Aggregation, visit the Rochester People’s Climate Coalition Website.
Our clothes dryers are the third biggest energy gobblers in our homes (after the furnace and hot water heater). Hanging some or all of our wash on an indoor or outdoor line is good exercise. Every dryer load skipped saves as much energy (and emissions) as not driving 5 miles in a conventional car. If you need to use a clothes dryer, do it in the off-peak demand hours (Monday-Friday 9 PM to 7 AM, or on weekends).
Join SunCommon New York for a Sip n’ Sun at Zebb’s in Brighton. Enjoy a drink on us and learn about affordable solar in Rochester. Contact Mary for more information or to RSVP.
When: Wednesday, May 17, 2017, 5:30 to 7:30 PM
Where: Zebbs Deluxe Grill and Bar, 2890 S. Clinton Avenue, Brighton, NY
PathStone serves as the Community Based Organization for NYSERDA’s Green Jobs Green NY Program in the Finger Lakes area. They offer free assistance in applying for these programs, advice on how to make your home more energy efficient, and technical knowledge to help individuals communicate with local contractors participating in these programs. PathStone is your “Energy Coach!” Here is a summary of the programs:
- Home Performance with Energy Star: Helps homeowners start saving energy with a free or reduced cost energy audit, low interest loans (3.49-3.99%), and a 10% rebate on eligible measures.
- Assisted Home Performance with Energy Star: Provides income eligible families with matching grants of up to $5,000, as well as a free energy audit and low interest loans.
- EmPower New York: Offers income-eligible families and individuals Free cost-effective electric reduction measures. Some homes may also be eligible for free heating reduction measures as well. EmPower NY assists families and individuals who fall below 60% of the Area Median Income (AMI).
- NY-Sun (Solar Electric): Multifaceted approach aims to lower energy costs for all New Yorkers by increasing solar power capacity and the efficiency and reliability of the electric grid. Public-private partnerships help make installing solar technology more affordable for all New Yorkers while scaling up New York’s solar industry.
PathStone can also offer small business owners and local governments assistance in finding the right energy efficient program to suit their needs.
More info: To participate in these programs or for more information, contact: Scott Oliver, 400 East Avenue, Rochester, NY 14607. (585) 442-2030, ext. 204. Contact by email firstname.lastname@example.org. Also see the Pathstone Website.
We have been purchasing wind power from RG&E. This allows RG&E to buy electricity generated by wind mills. It is supplied in the routine way. This doesn’t save money (you have to pay a very small extra amount) but it does help to reduce greenhouse gases. You can get more information on the RG&E website.
Technology is a cool thing. These power strips will automatically turn off whenever a 10%+ drop in current to the main outlet is detected, and automatically turn on when an increase of 7 watts or more in power to the main outlet is sensed. In other words, plug your computer into the main outlet, and its peripherals into any of the other six. When you shut down your computer, all of the peripherals will also turn off. When you turn on your computer, the peripherals will all turn on. You can buy it from the Energy Federation Inc. web site and other places.
Make sure your dishwasher is full when you run it, and use the energy-saving setting if your washer has one. This lets you air-dry the dishes. In addition, you can turn of the “dry” cycle manually.
Not using heat in drying can save 20 percent of your dishwasher’s total electricity use.
Buy energy efficient compact fluorescent bulbs for your most-used lights. Although they cost more initially, they save money in the long run because they use only 1/4 as much energy as ordinary incandescent bulbs, while lasting 8 to 12 times longer. And fluorescents put out an equivalent amount of bright, attractive light.
Only 10 percent of the energy consumed by ordinary bulbs generates light; the rest just makes the bulb hot.
If every U.S. household replaced one standard light bulb with a compact, energy-efficient fluorescent, we could save the same amount of energy as a large nuclear plant produces in a year. In a typical home, one compact fluorescent bulb can prevent the emission of 200 pounds of CO2 per year.
When it comes to heating and cooling, smaller is better!
Oversize your furnace and it will turn of and on a lot. These things run most efficiently when warm. I know it is counter-intuitive, but sizing them so they will run and run is most efficient, and is also most comfortable. New furnaces pull so much of the energy out of the fuel that they don’t blow very warm air.
Sizing can create huge problems for your A/C. In humid climates one of the big advantages of A/C is they remove humidity. This has dramatic indoor air quality benefits. Reduced humidity reduces the potential for mold problems. To effectively remove humidity lots of air needs to run across the cold coil. An oversized A/C unit cools the air so quickly it doesn’t have time to remove much humidity. By cooling things quickly you have colder indoor surfaces with a high humidity environment. This can actually increase mold risk as the risk of condensation on solid surfaces has been increased.
When replacing equipment it is a good idea to get an energy audit. This process will determine missed insulation and air sealing (Envelope) opportunities, and make sure you don’t oversize your new equipment. By performing improvements to your Envelope at the time of equipment replacement you can often move to smaller equipment.