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Hi – a 2021 update,

This site started some years ago when the discussion about renewable energy was new and interesting. When there was room for discussion and individual action.  That time has now, in early 2021, passed us by.  Action is needed at a national and international level.  And it needs to happen fast.  

For that reason I am in the process of building a new site at 1biosphere.net to address that whole topic.  My basic argument being that we know we are in trouble and we know how to fix it.  But we, as yet, don’t have the individual or political will to face the facts and do what is necessary.

I am leaving this site as a historic collection much of which is outmoded, with a few items still relevant.

What do you want to do about “energy”

What can an individual do to lower energy usage, and shift to “greener”, “sustainable” energy sources?

  • in their own home – with a focus on the North East USA (…but don’t go away – you can still look if you live some other place…)

Our approach is to take a “realistic” look at what is real and what is hype, what is effective and what is sales talk. There is so much information, and mis-information, out there that it seems silly to start another web site on the same subject (some 13.4 million hits on energy, realist).  But the aim is to work through this in an orderly fashion, based on what you want to do. We will try and explain our reasoning as best we can and welcome your feedback.

We also want to create a discussion on what we can learn from other parts of the world.  Germany and Australia, at different ends of the world and in different climates, have done much to use renewable energy resources.  We have homeowner experience from those two countries and want to build on that experience.

Home, sweet home

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Here is an old house in NJ,USA showing heat loss through poor windows and minimal insulation

“Why” do you want to do something about home energy consumption?

  • Build a new house?
  • Upgrade your current one?
  • Save money on electricity, gas and oil? That seems like a no-brainer, but if you’re happy with what you are spending now, and are comfortable, why change? To save money something will need to change, and most likely, you will need to spend some money up front. Just a warning…
  • Be independent – of the gas and electricity company, the oil suppliers, and all the rest of them? That’s a much different approach with a lot of different outcomes.
  • Build value for the future? Make your house more valuable, more attractive for when the market turns around and it’s time to sell?
  • Save the planet? Make it a worthwhile place to live for the grandkids? That is a much bigger issue, one we probably can’t solve by fixing the house and driving a Prius, or a bicycle even.

go to detail on energy at home

Community

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Everyone wants clean energy. Nobody wants turbines in their backyard.

Want to raise hell in your town meeting? Want your town to stop using diesel spewing trash trucks? How about zoning for wind turbines? Getting a permit to drill a geothermal well?  We’ll try and look at some of those items.

Anyone who has dabbled in this area knows that the NIMBY and BANANA effects are the major considerations here.

  • NIMBY = Not In My Back Yard
  • BANANA = Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anyone

The world

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Lots of oil around. Do we really want to waste it?

Energyrealist is about individual action, and we don’t presume to advise how to solve the problem at a national or international level.

The common wisdom is that “every little bit helps”, and if you just change your lights to CFL’s and unplug the charger for your laptop all will be fine.  An extra inch of insulation will save so many supertankers of oil, and so forth.  The real problem is of course much bigger than that.  The realistic statement should be “if everyone does a little, we’ll achieve only a little.” (*Paraphrase of the motivations from “Sustainable Energy” by David JC MacKay – here is a Apr ’09 interview with MacKay)

We need to do a lot, to achieve a lot.  To achieve a lot you need to give input to decision makers.  You need to know the issues and form an opinion.

The trouble is that everything is connected to everything else. The other trouble is that politicians are connected to everything. And the other trouble is that every lobby is very skillful at pushing their agenda to the politicians.

We will build up a list of sites and contacts to help in that process.

go to detail on energy for the world

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