Mining diasters and oil spills
Between the Upper Big Branch mining tragedy in West Virginia; the on-going Deep Water Horizon explosion, fire, and resulting ecological disaster in the Gulf of Mexico; all the talk of global warming; and the Obama administration’s push to find alternative energy sources, you can’t pick up a newspaper or turn on the television nightly news without hearing about fossil fuels and energy conservation. I’m no engineer or scientist so I’m not qualified to speak to all the pros and cons of different energy sources, which sources make the most economic sense, and the best alternative fuels going forward. But as president of Carolina Green Energy Systems (www.carolinages.com), I know more than a little about what happens to those fossil fuels after they come out of the ground and what we can do to promote energy conservation and reduce our need for producing and using fossil fuels. That’s the business we are in.
How do you think those fossil fuels are used once they are processed? I bet most of you said transportation – gas and oil for your car, jet fuel for those airplanes you see flying overhead, and diesel fuel for those big rigs driving up and down our highways. If that is what came to mind, you are in the majority of most Americans. And you would be wrong. Transportation accounts for only a little more than a quarter (28%) of our energy use in North America.
What about all those enormous factories out on the edge of town? Wrong again. Industry accounts for a third of all energy usage in America – more than transportation, but still not the biggest consumer of energy.
The largest consumers of energy in North America are buildings – your home, the stores where you shop, and the office where you work. They use almost 40% of all energy produced in America today. Like so many other things, energy conservation should begin at home. Sure, the idea of owning one of those fancy hybrids or a totally electric vehicle can be pretty appealing, maybe even a little glamorous. But if you really care about saving energy and getting the “biggest bang for your buck”, the best way to start is by weatherizing your home. Not only will you be helping the environment and reducing our dependence on fossil fuels, in most cases you’ll save yourself a significant amount on your energy bills.
At Carolina Green Energy Systems, we have Building Performance Institute (BPI) trained and certified analysts on staff. BPI is a highly regarded nonprofit organization that considers a building as a total system. BPI considers the heating and cooling system (HVAC); doors and windows; HVAC ductwork; insulation in floors, walls and the attic; moisture in the air and structural components; and a variety of other building components and conditions to optimize them so that they work together and you get the maximum benefit and minimum energy usage.
We start with an energy audit using the latest technology like blower-doors, duct-blasters, monoxers, endoscopes, and infrared cameras. The energy audit tells us where to start. A post-audit assures that we’ve met our targeted savings and that we haven’t missed anything. We have seen many homes with grossly oversized heat pumps that were unnecessary had the home been properly insulated, the ductwork sealed and the doors and windows caulked. Believe it or not, an oversized or improperly sized HVAC system can be an energy waster and do a poor job of heating and cooling your home. How big is big enough? I’ll talk about that at a later date. We feel so strongly about the importance of the energy audit, if you use us to weatherize your home, we will credit you for the audit regardless of who did it! Add that to the tax credits and rebates already available.
So, if you want to do your part for the environment, reduce our need for fossil fuels, and save some money in the process, consider calling a qualified professional for an energy audit and make your home a healthier, more pleasant, and more energy efficient place to live.