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how to get everyone to go green?  RSS feed

 
Wesley johnsen
Posts: 96
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what would be a good idea for selling green energy systems to everyone even though there very expensive? i can think of a few. community solar gardens placed on 5% of every farm in the country where people own a share and dont have to pay as much on their electric bill. wood pellet boiler small district heating systems for every 100 homes. should the district energy company be a consumer coop or for profit worker owned company? also i am trying to figure out if with a compelling case would people be all for this type of things to go green since it would be profitable and not cost them very much money if at all. i read some wood pellet district energy systems offer free hookups to the system but you pay a little more on heating but after it is paid off prices drop. trying to figure ways to get away from natural gas which comes from fracking.
 
Denise Kersting
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Location: South Central PA
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I think most mainstream America has so many "things" they feel the need to save for and purchase, that the important things like energy bills are just begrudgingly paid, and many do not want to see any increase even if it would help the environment. For example,  PA  a few years ago de-regulated a bunch of the utilities. People can now shop for services providers by a fraction of a penny difference. I think most in our country are just looking for the absolute minimum they have to pay especially for an item like electricity, that can't be shown off like a big screen tv, or a fancy car. I have hopes that this can change, I for one, chose a supplier that promises 100% offset of my electricity use from a sustainable source, but that is a drop in the bucket, I don't use much electricity compared to most homes in my area. A couple blocks from me is a solar set-up that a local business installed, that might be worthy of mimicking. They took their employee parking lot, and put in a bunch of "carport-like"  shelters, and then added solar panels to all of the carports. The entire employee parking lot is now a solar field, but they still retain the use of the urban parking space. Now their employees get to park under cover, and they get free energy from the structures. I think the more expensive options need to be "sold" to businesses first, and then maybe a trickle down effect may be possible.
 
Glenn Herbert
gardener
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I have to agree with Denise that the majority aren't going to go for something unusual if it involves any change to their ordinary lifestyle or costs anything in the short term.
The solar farm parking lot makes so much sense, yet appears to be rare in practice. I have seen a few cases of industrial parking lots covered with solar panels. The power is generated right where it is used, the cars get some shade, and the ground is already paved and is not degraded by the additional use. Many if not most industrial parking lots have good solar exposure. Commercial parking lots, especially in cities, are likely a more mixed bag, but could be workable.
 
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree
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Wesley - have you checked out Howard John's book Energy Revolution - it deals with many of these issues and has a load of ideas.  (the wrong book is showing on the preview - I'll try to fix it later when I've figured out how the thing works...)
 
Anne Miller
pollinator
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Denise Kersting wrote: I think most in our country are just looking for the absolute minimum they have to pay especially for an item like electricity, that can't be shown off like a big screen tv, or a fancy car. I have hopes that this can change,


DH and I are convinced that most folks live pay check to pay check and beside the big screen tv and the fancy car all they are interested in is their football and beer.

I think to get everyone to go green is by doing it yourself and convincing just one other person by example.   Then if that other person can convince someone ...

My electric company has a solar tour every year.  They have a educational presentations then there is an opportunity to met local solar installers.  Then they tour homes with solar photovoltaic systems and they even have a kids' solar car building workshop.  Plus they even have a loan program that provides up to $20,000 in financing for solar projects. 

We would like to go solar and are planning it in a small way but are not able to finance $20,000 for the fancy system.
 
Dan Boone
gardener
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Location: Central Oklahoma (zone 7a)
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Anne Miller wrote:We would like to go solar and are planning it in a small way but are not able to finance $20,000 for the fancy system.


I think this is the real answer to Wesley's original question, which was "What would be a good idea for selling green energy systems to everyone even though they are very expensive?"

And the answer (it seems to me) is "You can't."  The question seems to assume that people have money but they just aren't spending it correctly.  In reality, most folks simply don't have any "surplus" money that would let them buy the expensive alternative to the cheapest available thing that meets their daily needs.

Sure, there are rich and upper middle class and even middle-middle people who do have that luxury.  But most people are stumbling through economic life with a list of urgent bills and a list of potential catastrophes hanging over them.  "When is that tire going to blow and how am I gonna buy a new one when it does?  Is my cavity going to start hurting again, only this time more than I can bear?"  They pay the essential bills, they *hope* they have enough left over for beer and pizza, and they pray (or whatever they do instead) that the catastrophes don't happen too soon. 

There's just no room in that lifestyle to spend 20% more on electricity because it's the right thing to do.  If you can't make the green electricity actually cheaper, you can't sell it to people who are financially behind, and that's most people.

One of the reasons permaculture offers some hope is that it can enable people to meet some of their needs without so much dependence on mandatory monthly bills.  Maybe I can't afford a $20,000 solar system (I can't) but it only cost me $2.00 to buy hops seeds on eBay; those vines now shade a couple of my windows during the heat of summer, and that big electricity bill is a bit smaller.  Take this to geoff lawton extremes (sometimes I'm tempted to call his more lyrical effusions about abundance "Prosperity Gospel Permaculture") and maybe you can actually relieve people from the financial pressure they're under.  If you've got money in your pocket and confidence that your bills are covered, then you might be amenable to a "pay 20% more for electricity because it's the right thing to do" pitch.  But I really think you have to fix the financial strain before you can sell green anything that costs more than the normal grey stuff. 


 
If you're gonna buy things, buy this thing and I get a fat kickback:
Video of all the permaculture design course and appropriate technology course (about 177 hours)
https://permies.com/wiki/65386/paul-wheaton/digital-market/Video-PDC-ATC-hours-HD
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