July 2016 Green Tips: Renewable Energy

We were inspired to read that San Diego, California had set a goal of being completely powered by renewable energy sources and is currently the 2nd in the nation in the use of renewable energy! This month’s Green Tips will answer some questions about what renewable energy is, how cities all over the world are advancing renewable energy projects and policies, and how each of us can include more energy sources like solar, wind, hydroelectric and geothermal into our lives. Here are some tips on energy that is clean, climate resilient and sustainable:


  • What is renewable energy? Renewable energy is power that comes from natural sources like solar, wind and hydro- and geo-thermal power. These energies are clean, meaning they do not add toxicity to the environment. Burning fossil fuels has been the primary driver of climate change and is not sustainable. Since we have become a culture that is extremely energy-dependent, generating the electricity we need is a huge job. Americans use 18% of all the energy globally, even though our population is only 5% of the world’s total. Therefore, adding new ways to generate power without harming the Earth are becoming a higher priority daily.
  • What are the strategies for increasing renewable energy use? San Diego and other cities are building energy and water efficient buildings as a way to integrate renewable energy sources into our every day lives. One aspect of sustainable building has to do with being environmentally responsible throughout the building’s life cycle. That is, through the design, construction, operation, maintenance, and demolition. Eco-friendly buildings cost less to operate and are more popular with the people that occupy or work in them. On a personal level, we can all be more aware of the way our homes and offices use water, energy and waste. For example, start a compost program at work or get a compost bucket and put it in your kitchen.
  • What are clean power companies and how can I find out about my local options? The law in California allows for Community Choice Aggregation, which empowers local governments and some special districts to pool (or aggregate) their electricity load in order to purchase and/or develop power on behalf of their residents, businesses, and municipal accounts. Renewable energy power companies like Sonoma Clean Power are committed to providing clean energy at competitive rates and enhance the local economy and community health. Check out Sonoma Clean Power at: sonomacleanpower.org. There is also a Marin Clean Power company; their website is: www.mcecleanenergy.org. You can find out more online!
  • Can bicycling, walking, and using public transit support sustainable living? Yes, taking cars off the road greatly reduces emissions, which have contributed to global warming and the destruction of the ozone layer of our atmosphere. Each gallon of gas burned emits 24 pounds of Carbon Dioxide, according to the EPA. Not only does getting out of our cars help the environment, it helps our bodies with the exercise. Cities encourage biking and walking by creating and maintaining public paths. And personally, we can take public transportation more often and support legislation for public transportation projects. Get inspired by websites like: www.voicesforpublictransit.org


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