UN SDG #7:  Clean Energy

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Welcome, welcome, welcome! We are going to be the clean green energy machines this week! While 92% of the world has access to electricity, the rate at which people are gaining it is significantly slowing down. And of that 92% a large portion of it is created by dirty, unhealth, toxic means all around the globe. It is our job to clean up the energy use around us, and to minimize the amount we are using every day to be able to meet our 2030 and 2050 Climate goals. So let’s jump into this week’s 3 things: 

Mint Green Challenge: This is a great tie into your last two weeks worth of challenges. Wash your clothes in cold water - 75% of energy from washing the clothing comes from heating the water. Now this works best if you’re trying to be as eco conscious as possible, also as short term budget conscious as possible as this can save you between $100-$200 per year on heating costs. However, if your clothes are pretty dirty or have stains this will be ineffective for you and you should then opt to use the warm setting to wash and then rinse in cold. The warmth allows the stain remover enough energy to activate and clean the clothes, but that isn’t needed to rinse out detergent. And the Hot settings? Don’t ever bother! Not only will it require more energy and more money but it will also break down the strands in your clothes making them break down and requiring you to get new ones more often. It is a loss in every possible area. 

Shamrock Green Challenge: L.E.D.s Let me say that again L.E.D.s everywhere. If you’re like me you’re using Philips Hue color changing LEDs because they are fun but either way, if you haven’t replaced all of your current light bulbs with LEDs please do so now. As in pause this podcast, go get or go buy them and put them in all of your light sockets…I’m waiting…still waiting…Ok, I’ll assume you’ve done that now. If you’re the one person listening who still hasn’t let me explain why you should. The average household has about 15% of its electricity come from light bulbs. If you decide not to change any of your lightbulbs over you’ll be losing about $4500 in electricity costs. So if you don’t want that money feel free to go to the link in the show notes and donate it to me and I’ll gladly take it and do helpful things for the planet with it. But beyond that LEDs are also 90% more energy efficient and don’t give off almost any heat. So make sure to check those bulbs in your refrigerator so you aren’t using more energy stealing that heat away every time you turn on the light by opening the door. Also check your oven light as having an incandescent bulb in there can make the oven temperature inaccurate when baking. 

Forest Green Challenge: This last challenge is going to be more of a mini awareness piece instead so you can keep it in mind when the situation arises since they aren’t exactly little actions. The first of these bigger things I’ve talked about before but I want to add a bit of nuance to here. Consider adding solar panels to your residence. I previously talked about small off grid systems or larger systems that tie directly into our grid. While both are great, what I didn’t mention, and I won’t fully go into now as it would likely be its own full 45 minute episode, is the complexity of adding renewables to our American grid. The US grid is an antiquated, pathwork system that is scarily keeping us in balance between not enough power and too much power every minute of every day. As we add renewables to the grid it makes that harder to do. That doesn’t mean we should stop doing that but I would recommend that anyone adding solar or wind to their property also add a decent size battery system along with it. Until we figure out the future of our grid the likelihood of brownouts and blackouts increasing will continue to get more common. The plus side of this is that there are a lot of companies working on new battery solutions that should bring down their costs and allow us to more easily utilize them and heck, there are even a few Electric Vehicles coming out this year that can act as a two way battery for your home with your renewable system.

I’m pretty sure I’m over my self imposed 5 minute time limit but I want to point out one more amazing technology that I don’t think gets enough time in the spotlight. And that is Heat Pumps. For those of you that don’t know, a heat pump is basically like an electric heater and air conditioner in one but it moves heat from inside and outside your home, either heating it or cooling it. But it does this extremely efficiently and with electricity rather than gas or wood and therefore will keep getting more and more clean along with being cheaper. So whenever your furnace goes out next, or you hear of someone who has had a furnace fail, look into buying a heat pump instead. They cost a little more up front but cost you way less per month in heating and cooling costs.

Similar to this but even more cutting edge I’m going to link to the world’s first air conditioning unit that has no wires and no electricity, just using Nitrogen for power. There will also be two interesting articles tying this week's episode together with last weeks about saving water, battery storage and solar panels on top of a Calfornian canal.

That’s it for this week. Until next time, be green and be seen.

Links from the episode: