When it comes to emissions we often think of cars and factories, but we can’t ignore the impact we can make at home. In much of the northern hemisphere houses are built with infrastructure supporting the burning of non-renewable fuels which destroy the planet. The decisions made by people who are now retired will cost us, but the faster we change houses to renewable the greater the savings for the planet and homeowners. But how can we make the change from subsidized gas to market rate renewables?
Over at the National Observer Seth Klein records how he switched his house from natural gas to all electric. He outlines the process and how one can save money and the planet at home by changing their energy source.
A couple of years ago, my family’s home — a 12-year-old, 1,400-square-foot, well-insulated duplex in East Vancouver — was heated with a high-efficiency gas boiler. The boiler produced hot water for both our direct water needs and for pipes that provided lovely radiant heated floors in the winter. We also had a gas fireplace in the living room we rarely used, and we cooked on a gas stove.
No doubt this conversion has also increased the value of our home, as future owners will not face the inevitable need to fuel swap down the road once robust climate policies are in place, and they will benefit from the upfront capital costs we assumed for the solar panels and heat pump.
New buildings constructed in New York City are not permitted to connect to natural gas for any reason. This makes NYC the largest city in the USA to do so and likely marks a shift in the country for even more cities to adopt a ban on new uses of the fossil fuel. To avoid catastrophic climate change we need to keep fossil fuel in the ground and with NYC banning new buildings from using the world-destroying product it will force the construction industry to adapt.
The measure already has support from Con Edison, a utility that provides both electricity and gas to New Yorkers. The grid “is well-poised to support the transition to heating electrification,” it said in a Novembertestimonyto city council. That’s because the grid usually sees peak demand during the summer when residents blast their air conditioning, it says, and electricity use is typically lower in the winter.
“New York City is taking a massive step off fossil fuels, paving the way for the rest of the state and country to follow,” Food & Water Watch northeast region director Alex Beauchamp said in a statement today.
One thing is certain: we need to get off of fossil fuels as fast as possible. The gas companies want to keep polluting and are paying people to promote the burning of carbon-intensive resources.Gas companies are using influencers to promote gas stoves, when everyone knows that induction stovetops are better in every way.
Because so many people are concerned about how much carbon we dump into the air, there is a burgeoning grassroots movement trying to disconnect everyone from gas consumption. The video above is one such example, and as more people understand the state of our planet more people are switching from gas to electric solutions.
Further complicating things, the gas industry has, for decades, framed itself as a “cleaner” alternative to fossil fuels like coal and oil. “We should probably discuss the name of it: ‘Natural gas.’” says Panama Bartholomy, executive director of the nonprofit Building Decarbonization Coalition in California. “It has been perhaps one of the most successful marketing campaigns that we’ve seen from a large industry to call what is really a dangerous pollutant, something natural.”
If you have a garage filled with tools and other oddities, you can easily make it a little nicer for you and the environment. The next time you do some cleaning you can think about what is clean for the rest of the environment. Of course, you’re going to want to properly dispose of pesticides as you should never use them in the first place. There are more things you can do too, like checking your tools to find out if the tools can be replaced by something with a smaller carbon footprint.
After the leaf blower, you might want to check on your lawn mower, chainsaw, snow blower, air compressor, and generator, if you have them. The gasoline engines in these pieces of equipment spew out greenhouse gases that are as concerning as the crud coming out of leaf blowers.
After decades of effort by environmentalists leaded gasoline for use in automobiles is impossible to buy anywhere on the planet. Last month Algeria ended sales for leaded gasoline which marked the end of the dangerous fuel for consumers according to the UN Environment Programme. All gas burning is bad for people and the planet, but leaded gasoline use was the worst.
Petroleum containing tetraethyllead, a form of lead, was first sold almost 100 years ago to increase engine performance. It was widely used for decades until researchers discovered that it could cause heart disease, strokes and brain damage.
UNEP cited studies suggesting that leaded gas caused measurable intellectual impairment in children and millions of premature deaths.
Most rich nations started phasing out the fuel in the 1980s, but it was still widely used in low- and middle-income countries until 2002, when the UN launched a global campaign to abolish it.