Everyone seems to be talking about “going green,” but that can mean different things to different people. For some, it’s buying local food and vegetables, so they don’t have to be trucked here from far away. For others, it means biking when they can, rather than driving. Still others take bigger steps, like installing a rooftop solar PV system, or buying an electric vehicle (EV). Whatever it means to each of us, there are things we all can do to be greener.
Greenhouse gas and other harmful emissions come from three main sources: 1. transportation, 2. electric generation, and 3. homes and buildings. If we want to become greener in these three areas, here are some ideas for making a difference in 2022.
On the Road:
Auto (and truck) designers are building more efficiency into their vehicles every year. From aerodynamic improvements to the rise of EVs, efficiency is the name of the game today. So, what can we do to be greener and more efficient with our vehicles?
Good: Change the oil regularly, keep it tuned up and drive our vehicles more efficiently.
Better: On the next purchase, buy a more efficient vehicle (one with better MPG).
Best: For your next vehicle, consider buying a hybrid, a plug-In hybrid or a full battery electric vehicle (visit www.NHEC.com/drive-electric to see incentives for members purchasing EVs and Level 2 EV Chargers).
If you follow how electricity is being generated in New England, you are seeing a continuous increase in the amount of renewable energy in the mix. We expect this trend to continue as more large-scale solar PV and off-shore wind turbine projects are installed. This means that the renewable electricity we use in our homes and businesses will continue to be an important and growing part of the New England power supply mix. So, what can we do to encourage the development of more green energy?
Good: Support the continued gradual increase in renewable energy.
Better: Join New Hampshire Electric Co-op’s Renewable Choice program and purchase “blocks” of renewable energy credits for a monthly fee as low as three dollars. These REC purchases support the development and operation of renewable energy from local solar and wind facilities.
Best: Install solar PV on your home and sell excess capacity to NHEC at net metering rates. Visit www.nhec.com/solar-net-metering for details.
Homes and Buildings:
Most New Hampshire homes and buildings are heated with fossil fuels. But increasingly, we’re seeing more and more property owners installing highly efficient heat pump technologies, including heat pump water heaters and air source heat pumps to heat and cool. A typical oil boiler is about 86% efficient. A propane furnace is about 95% efficient, while an air source heat pump is more than 250% efficient! They’re a great way to heat and cool a home for most of the year. For the very coldest days, using the existing oil or propane heating systems still works best. What else can we all do to make our homes or businesses greener?
Good: Hire a professional to tune up your heating system every year.
Better: Replace all lights with LEDs, and buy ENERGY STAR appliances when purchasing new ones (Check NHEC.com for available rebates).
Best: Hire a professional to perform an energy audit on your home or business to identify ways to save energy while providing a list of recommended improvements. Consider installing heat pump systems for water heating and HVAC. Visit www.nhec.com/save-energy to see if your home qualifies for an audit and weatherization, or an incentive for heat pumps.
We hope you will see our ad in this edition of the Green Energy Times and check off as many “Go Green in 2022” ideas that you can. As 2021 comes to a close, all of us at the New Hampshire Electric Cooperative wish all of the Green Energy Times readers and our NHEC members a very happy, healthy, safe and green New Year!
Some Helpful Links:
Electric Suppliers: https://www.puc.nh.gov/Consumer/energysuppliers.htm
ENERGY STAR Products: https://www.energystar.gov/
Federal tax Credits: https://www.energystar.gov/about/federal_tax_credits
Tom Belair is a member of the Energy Solutions team at New Hampshire Electric Cooperative, a member-owned electric distribution co-op serving 85,000 homes and businesses in 118 New Hampshire communities.