So, what of the above are you trying to doing?
Global Warming, Conservation and the idea of Practical Wisdom
"You can't make a product greener, whether it's a car, a refrigerator or a traffic system, without making it smarter - smarter materials, smarter software, or smarter design." - Thomas L. Friedman - Three-time Pulitzer Prizewinner
"Activists are always warning us about the alleged threats from global warming, but they are usually silent about the much more immediate dangers from global warming policies," said Sam Kazman, general counsel of the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI). Kazman addressed the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., “Restricting access to affordable energy is a sure recipe for increasing poverty, disease and human misery around the world."
Energy and being fashionable is what the conservation movement has turned into. How to get energy, how to provide energy, and the distribution of said energy. It does not matter if the energy is electrical, coal, gas, and all the permutations of the aforementioned. Practical wisdom dictates that in order to provide economical energy, one has to conserve. Several camps are fighting to see who is more environmentally conscience, though not one mentions conservation or something as simple as turning down the thermostat and wearing an extra layer of clothing. Global Warming has become a consumer-driven cause, without help of the government, which if Al Gore is to be believed, “is the worst danger to earth.” If what Al Gore states is true, then should not the government be active in helping consumers move into a generally more efficient way of living, much the same way the United Kingdom has mandated that you must replace a water boiler with a more efficient model, thereby making heating the dwelling cheaper. Instead, what the people hear is their government declaring that they will tear-down some hydro-electric along the Snake and Columbia river for the purpose of Salmon migration as reported in January 15 2008 edition of THE OREGONIAN. As an aside, aquaculture is a more efficient way of harvesting seafood.
There seems to be a general discourse of what it means to be “green,” that is, environmentally friendly as Alan Durning of Sightline Institute, a think tank in Seattle says:
“There is this sort of pastoral ideal that you will live in a place set in parkland like setting like French royalty, and you are a god responsible REI member, and a green Northwesterner. So, your Land Rover has mute Earth tones and you probably buy organic pet food for your Labrador retriever.”
As a consumer, when you buy things in the right color and places you are ecologically responsible.
Another camp that says bestowing environmental honors on a home with a four-car garage that is far from public transit, jobs and shops sends a wrong message, even though it complies with the energy-star building codes. After all, Washington’s biggest source of greenhouse-gas pollution is transportation according to Dennis McLerran, executive director of the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency. This camp wants to put people into one large megalopolis to protect nature from humans, a zoo where people are on display for the pleasure of the wildlife all in the name of environmentalism. This is what McLerran says:
"This is not the kind of development we would encourage from a
greenhouse-gas-friendly standpoint…" "The kind of development we would encourage is connected with transit, and is more dense, within urban-growth areas, and doesn't generate long, single-occupancy car trips."
Again, it is a description of a zoo to keep humans from infecting the environment by not using energy. Conservation is only being hinted at with the phrase, “long single-occupancy car trip,” which can be construed as energy conservation. Does that mean short single-occupancy car trips are okay? However, a large 10,000 square foot house with a four-car garage is not what one would call energy efficient either no matter how efficient it might be. There are times when smaller is better such as when one is heating or lighting a space.
There is so much confusion about what is and what are not environmentally friendly, what is a consumer to do? Most would turn to the government for direction. Here is what the Washington State Department of Ecology states about new green buildings on their website (see works cited):
Learn about green building practices in your area. Green buildings are designed to last longer, use healthier materials, and be less expensive to operate. Green building efforts can help to eliminate waste generated by building construction, and grow markets for healthy, sustainable building materials.
We all depend on buildings to live, learn, and work in. As our state's population grows, we will need more homes, schools, and offices. This ongoing opportunity for Washington's building industry provides living-wage jobs in our communities and plays an important role in a healthy economy.
But buildings can have negative impacts on our health, our wallets, and the environment. For example:
· Residential and commercial buildings used nearly two-thirds of all electricity consumed in the U.S. in 2003.
· Construction and demolition waste made up 34 percent of the solid waste generated in Washington in 2002.
· The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that most adults now spend an average of 90 percent of their time indoors, which means that ensuring quality indoor environments is critical for our health.
Green buildings will be a big part of creating sustainable communities and moving Washington toward a sustainable future
One might say after reading this statement one might ask if the lawmakers have any working knowledge of the sciences or, socioeconomics involved.
Almost three-quarters of all buildings will that will be standing in 2050, have already been built, there is tremendous potential in what has come to be known as "retrofitting" - improving the energy performance of existing buildings – is the most important factor when it came to reducing emissions. The easiest and most cost-efficient course of action is to add insulation, the most efficient is closed-cell foam with an R-value of seven per inch compared to Fiberglass with an R-value of 3.5 per inch, as an added bonus, the foam seals cracks and adds to the integrity of the structure.
Thermal windows and sealing cracks to prevent air infiltration are also doable, but is there more that can be done to make the house more efficient? Energy star appliances do save money and have a very good payback period.
When heating the building, radiant floor heat maybe the best way. The reasoning is simple. The comfort zone of most houses do not extend more than about four feet above the floor. Radiant heat dissipates close to four feet, in other words, the lower part of the room is heated before the upper part of the room, as the floor and furniture become a radiator. More efficient than forced-air heating that creates draft and kicks-up dust every time the furnace turns on. One of the old sayings in the heating business is the ideal temperature is the point where you are comfortable. Lowering the thermostat to a comfort zone and one is able to set the thermostat at a lower temperature, thereby saving money. Boilers to heat the water come in electricity, gas and oil, with the efficiency of the oil nearing 95?while the electrical is 100?To help discover which heating system is more efficient, there are basic heat calculators as the one on Washington State University’s (WSU) website: Another very efficient way to heat a building is a geothermal heat pump. A geothermal heat pump takes heat from six feet underground which is usually about 50 degrees and takes the heat to heat the house. It is physically easier to transport heat than to create it, and the heat pump takes advantage of that. Again, a calculator like the one the WSU provides shows that (see works cited).
Again, if global warming is the single-biggest threat to humanity that we have, why is the Government not doing something to help decrease our carbon output and energy dependency? Why is the government not offering incentives so the low-to-middle income people can also afford the energy-star appliances rather than the middle-income people and above can afford them? Government credits are not enough, if a water heater breaks, a consumer goes to the local hardware store and gets the water heater the person can afford at the time, not one that will send a credit 8 to 12 weeks in the future, and the credit still doesn’t cover the initial cost. At the very least is appears the only reason the state cares about the environment is because the states with sales tax are benefitting from the high prices of efficiency. Again, if global warming as an emergency is as dire as some people would have you believe, then should not the Energy Star products be subsidized and tax-free? So much for a global emergency. There are those that wonder how we will pay for the improvements. The government puts a lien on the house for whatever the improvement so when the house is sold, the Government recoups the money spent at no real cost to the homeowner.
What is happening is the Government is passing “feel-good” legislation in the form of making Compact Fluorescent Lights mandatory by 2012, as proposed by California Assemblyman Lloyd Levine. The CF bulbs may last longer and use less electricity, but the mercury used inside the bulb will come back and bite us in a couple of years when the CF needs to be replaced. What should be mandated is the Light Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs. As bright as a 60-watt bulb, and uses only $12.00 of electricity over there 60,000-hour lifespan. Compare that with the estimated cost of $360 for the same conven
Answered By: M_DragonKnight - 4/13/2008