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Are We Ready for change?

conservation and efficiency have a place in our energy policy, too

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by Kathy Duffy

I believe that the status quo of our existing energy policy fills too many people’s pockets for there to be any real change. We presently subsidize the coal, gas, and nuclear industries to the tune of millions, not to mention such sweet heart deals as the Price Anderson Act nor the lucrative depletion allowance, which is a tax write-off for any of the natural resource extraction industries. (they get a tax break because it’s a finite resource, but they also get to charge more as it becomes less in supply … a sweet deal, eh?) Do we honestly believe that companies that are in the business to make money truly want us to use less of their products?

Funny how alternate energy didn’t become “viable” until it became large scale. Giant wind farms and huge solar arrays that feed into the power grid are touted as “green energy” options. You don’t have to change a thing you do in your home, just check the box that you’re willing to pay more to use ”green” power.

There’s that status quo thing, again.

Am I proposing that everyone should produce their own power, get a windmill or buy some solar panels? No.

What I am proposing is that we be a little, no scratch that, a lot smarter about our energy policy. Wind and solar have a place in our energy policy but so does conservation and appropriate applications and energy efficiency. There are times and places where alternate energy is a good fit, but one size does not fit all, and to improperly place such a system gives the whole thing a bad name. Likewise to go around and stuff insulation into every home without first assessing and prioritizing what needs to be done, is a waste and may cause more harm than help.

With a national mantra of individualism, why should we presume that every house has the same energy issues. That individualism plays out in more than different layouts and presents different heating and cooling challenges. Older homes have the unfortunate problem of being built when energy was cheap and certainly before a great many improvements were developed. My husband was at a conference where it was stated that if we just implemented as code all that we know about building an energy efficient home we would create a permanent reduction in fuel consumption., and have more comfortable homes.

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