I’ve been complaining loudly this week about how ineffectual Earth Hour is and as a result how much I hate it. I despair that this massive, well organised and well funded marketing machine has set their sights on getting people to turn their light off for one hour, once a year. Anyway, this is an old hobby horse of mine, and if you want to hear more, follow this link to my TEDx talk from last year.
What can we do then? What concrete actions can we take, and could Earth Hour promote, that would contribute to de-carbonising our economy and making our lives more energy efficient?
Buy GreenPower. This commits your electricity retailer to purchasing enough renewable energy to cover your use. This is a cost and effectively subsidizes renewable electricity sources. It is additional to the mandatory renewable energy target and audited by a federal government agency. I trust it absolutely, noting GreenPower is a product, and many electricity retailers have “green” supply options, which might not all be renewables. If everyone was on GreenPower Australia’s decarbonising job would be done.
Contribute to a community renewables project or put solar on your roof. Community renewables include: Hepburn Wind, SolarShare who I volunteer with or this excellent project in Freemantle. If you want solar on your roof use an accredited installer sourced through the Clean Energy Council.
Buy more efficient appliances. Chances are if your fridge is more than ten years old you should replace it, and the energy saving will cover the cost of a new fridge in 6-10 years. You can compare the efficiency of all sorts of new appliances here and there are calculators to work out how much you can save. I encourage you to leave the sticker on these appliances, or move it to the back, so you can make comparisons later and understand how much energy different things use. The star system is an indication of how efficient a unit is compared to a standard, which is updated periodically. To get a feel for how much different appliances use, compare the kWh figure, the number printed in the middle of the sticker. As an example, our fridge uses 320kWh a year, while a big plasma TV is closer to 450.
Ride your bike more!