3/15/14

Shrinking Your Carbon Footprint

Climate change deniers like Congressional Representative Michael Grimm may not want to hear it, but that "jury's still out on climate change" line is obsolete: the jury came back yesterday. The world scientific community unanimously agrees that climate change is happening.  Well beyond Hurricane Sandy, New Yorkers will be dealing with climate change-driven extreme weather events -- and denial won't help us.

As consumers, we can address climate change by reducing our carbon footprint -- the amount of coal, oil and gas emissions that we are responsible for putting into the atmosphere. Right now, only 2% of the electricity used by the typical New York resident comes from renewable sources. The other 98% comes from a mix of oil, gas, coal, hydroelectric, and nuclear power.

If you own a house or a small apartment building, consider installing solar panels.  For New Yorkers who live in larger buildings, the most convenient way to go sustainable is to switch to wind energy through Green Power Purchasing.  Anyone who rents or owns an apartment, has a Con Ed or a National Grid account and gets a utility bill can choose the source of the electricity being delivered to that service. Choosing a clean, renewable energy source contributes to reducing your carbon footprint and addressing climate change.

When you choose a wind energy provider, Con Ed or National Grid will buy your power from a wind farm, reducing reliance on fossil fuels.  When you call or go online to your chosen supplier, the customer service representative will guide you through the switch. You'll get the same monthly utility bill and you'll be on the same meter.

Some of the suppliers that offer a 100% wind power option are:
Renewable energy will cost you a few cents more per KWh than fossil fuel-generated energy. Average increases in New York utility bills run between $5 and $10 a month. But by choosing 100% wind energy, you're making a decision to divest from fossil fuel and invest in wind power production.  As more consumers make the move to "divest and reinvest", demand will increase and renewable energy costs will come down.

There are many renewable energy suppliers to choose from. Most companies offer a range of plans with different costs and features, so you can choose the options and features that work best for your home or business.  The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) provides useful consumer information about Green Power. You can find NYSERDA on the web.

Switching one household to renewable energy may seem like a drop in the bucket, but according to climate change activist organization 350NYC and the State Public Service Commission, if just 10% of New York households choose Green Power for their electrical supply, it would keep 3 billion lbs. of CO2, 10 billion lbs. of sulfur dioxide, and nearly 4 million lbs. of nitrogen oxides out of the air.

350 NYC wants to hear about it when you make the switch.  Go to 350nyc.org and click on the wind turbine logo to input your information. 

I've been buying wind power through Con Ed for over a year now, and I'm very satisfied with my decision to switch. 

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