Neighbourhoods in Canada are trying to change the world by focussing on their own street. Across the country there are streets of houses proving that a transition from using fossil fuels to heat and power a home is possible in a country that loves to subsidize the oil and gas industry. And yes, going green saves money too.
The Pocket Change Project provides not only an example of how to convert your neighbourhood but information on how to do it. It may seem like a daunting task to go for fully electric in a place that guzzles gas for homes, but it’s doable and with the guides from Pocket Change it’s easy.
If you’re fortunate enough to own a home then you should you do your part and cut out gas.
When it comes to reducing household emissions, Dowsett is clear-eyed about where he thinks the responsibility lies.
“We who are the affluent ones are the ones who create an outsized carbon problem; people who are less affluent do not,” he said. “I think it’s very disingenuous of us to try and impose austerity on people who are not the problem. We are the problem. We need to change,” he said, before adding with a laugh, “rant over.”
Other Pocket residents echo this sentiment. “I believe that people who are privileged enough have a responsibility to do this,” said Lori Zucchiatti O’Neill. “A lot of people can’t afford to do this, but we can afford to do this. So it’s like, full steam ahead.”
A sustainable home doesn’t need to be off the gird, but for some people interested in sustainability they reach a logical conclusion that off the gird makes sense. Of course, that means not being part of the electric grid and, for some, not even part of a public water system for potable water and sewage. How does one go about creating such a home? Check out the video above for what’s needed to create an efficient off the gird place to live.
Kristina is a structural engineer who designed and helped build this off-grid passive solar home with solar panels, solar hot water heaters, rainwater collection, a composting toilet, and a greywater garden. It’s a pretty impressive and functional Earthship inspired home and she lives here with her partner Matt in Colorado.
Historic sites that attract a lot of tourists know that if they loose their historical look that the tourists will stop coming, so how do you locally produce renewable energy while not looking modern? This question has been answered by the stewards of Pompeii with a simple solar solution. A local solar artisan found a way to manufacture solar panels that look like standard Roman roof tiles. They aren’t the most efficient solar panels but they work and they fit in with the aesthetic.
The traditional PV tiles are made from a polymer compound, which allows the sun’s rays to filter through. The photovoltaic cells are then integrated into it by hand and covered with a layer of the polymer compound. “We can also give it the look of stone, wood, concrete, and brick. As a result, such a solution can be installed not only on roofs but also on walls and floors,” says Quagliato.
Dyaqua’s clients are mainly local councils, owning assets that are subject to artistic or architectural constraints. Approved by the Italian Ministry of Culture, the traditional PV tiles have been also installed in Vicoforte, not far from Cuneo, and will soon be used in Rome’s renowned museum of contemporary art, Maxxi. In the coming months, they will also cover the roofs of some public buildings in Split, Croatia, and Evora, Portugal. Together with Alkmaar, in the Netherlands, the Portuguese city is one of the demo sites that are testing innovative solutions aimed at combining sustainability with the valorization of architectural and cultural heritage, within the European project Pocityf. The Italian company Tegola Canadese is among its technical partners.
Drivers know all too well that parking lots are hot, uncomfortable, and are never the right size. In France larger parking lots will now require shading in the form of solar panels, making the large swaths of asphalt a little more comfortable. The solar panels are projected to provide the equivalent of 10 nuclear power plants.
Imagine if a law like this was passed in North America – we wouldn’t need any other source of energy!
Starting July 1, 2023, smaller carparks that have between 80 and 400 spaces will have five years to be in compliance with the new measures. Carparks with more than 400 spaces have a shorter timeline: They will need to comply with the new measures within three years of this date, and at least half of the surface area of the parking lot will need to be covered in solar panels.
In the UK the average person wants to get off fossil fuels, but the Conservatives in power want the opposite. Obviously this is not good, and it gets worse: the new PM Liz Truss wants to ban solar panels on farms, Conservatives clearly don’t understand how the world works.
The good news comes from research proving that agrivoltaics (agriculture + solar voltaic panels) are a boon to farmers. Solar panels on farms are good for revenue for farms, renewable energy, and the very crops farms are growing. Yes, solar panels on farm increase crop production!
“One study foundcertain peppers will have three times the production,” said Bousselot. “That’s a shocking number.”
As global temperatures rise, the panels can also help to conserve dwindling freshwater supplies by reducing evaporation from both plants and soil.
What evaporation does occur underneath the panels has the added benefit of cooling the PVs andboosting their electricity production, according to Randle-Boggis, a research associate at the University of Sheffield.