Climate action is a pressing environmental and social issue impacting everyone around the globe, but with particularly harsh consequences for developing/impoverished nations. It seems anyone who isn’t puffing up their chest as part of some sort of modern day loyal peasant to the pollution masters can see that the scientists are showing us a pretty grim picture of what’s to come if we do nothing.
So if we agree with the “uneqivocal” finding about human impact by the climate scientists that we should be switching our energy generation away from dirty fossil fuels – then there’s an easy way to do it. Australia already has a national scheme by which you can sign up to get your energy generation from non-dirty generation means.
So there’s a simple but significant step that everyone can take: switching at least some of their home electricity supply to greenpower.
What percentage of greenpower?
There are usually a variety of greenpower plans available based on a percentage of your energy sourced from renewable energy sources. Even if it is to switch to just 10 or 20% of your energy is a worthwhile, but I’d suggest aiming higher than the averages to help drive it up quicker. If your household is demanding higher than the state, national or global averages – then it is driving UP the average rather than helping it stay where it is.
Of course the ideal is 100%, but based on budget that might not be achievable for everyone, particularly with the Coalition seeking to make pollution free again and to undo the good that the carbon price legislation has done so far (it was on track to achieve a 15% cut to emissions).
What do I do to swap?
It’s as easy as ringing up your current energy provider and saying you want to swap to a greenpower plan of whatever percent you want. Or, in my case, having to ring up twice because AGL didn’t set it up properly when I opened the account.
I’d suggest you try going with the 100% plan for a couple of quarters at least – and try modifying your household habits to offset any difference. Yes, it will cost a little bit more money – time to put a small amount toward the cause and take yourself off the pollution grid – in part or in full.
In terms of the costs: the greenpower site reckons that on an average 7000KWh bill – 100% will be under an extra dollar a day. A 10% plan adds just under a dollar a week.
What household energy habits can I change?
- In relation to clothes washing/drying (e.g. use cold water always and hang clothing up to dry rather than using a clothes drier). Don’t do washes with just that one bit of clothing – full loads are better.
- Same with your dishwasher – running with a full load and on the economy setting will help keep costs down. Don’t pre-wash items before putting them in the dishwasher – that completely destroys the energy efficiency over scraping the worst of it off and letting the dishwasher do the rest.
- Dial back your heating in winter or cooling in summer (make your air-con work less by dialling the temperature back a degree or two means each degree Celsius you don’t heat/cool will save you about 10% off your heating/cooling bill – your mum was right when she said to just put on a jumper in winter). Don’t heat rooms you’re not using – block off vents with a bit of cardboard if spare room is not used.
- turn off things you’re not using: lights, computers, TVs, stereos and so on. Electrical devices are power vampires if given the chance.
- have shorter showers – heating water is a fairly energy intensive
- replace any blown globes with LED ones as they need replacing
Conclusion – follow up actions (not slacktions!)
Make the phone-call to your electricity company, ask for 100% greenpower and with a few extra bucks a week you can drive up our renewable energy and vote with your wallet in favour of doing something. Then tell other people about it – your parents, friends and co-workers.. Post on social media to make people aware of it – many people wouldn’t know about it.
As the economies of scale kick in and we stop allowing coal to externalise all the costs: that extra cost will vanish and become a saving. Future generations will of course thank you for doing this.