A. Energy – what is sustainable energy?
Our ultimate goal is to meet our energy needs with energy that offers climate protection (i.e. does not emit climate change emissions); does not have toxic emissions or other unintended consequences; uses renewable fuels; and supports the local economy.
When thinking about our energy needs, it is helpful to remember that we need three types of energy: electricity, energy to heat our buildings, and energy for our vehicles. The Greenfield Energy Audit suggests a 3-step plan to achieve this goal, as noted below.
It should be emphasized that 2/3rds of our energy needs will most likely be met by reducing out energy use (#1 below). One sixth of our needs will be met with renewable energy (#2 below), and the final one sixth will be met by efforts and technologies not yet clearly identified (#3 below).
Let's start by looking at our energy use in 2008. Greenfield’s Energy Sources
Now let's assess our options, using our three-pronged strategy:
Choosing the Right Renewable Energy Source is an Ongoing Learning Process
Hydro: to generate electricity
Solar: passive solar heating, hot water, and electricity (photovoltaics)
Wind: to generate electricity
Geothermal: to deliver heating and cooling and generate electricity
Biofuels & Hydrogen: transportation and heating
Biomass (wood): for heat, electricity or transportation fuels
Other Emerging Technologies