Can We Ever Reach Net Zero?
By Kathy Henderson, Director of Economic Development, CCEDC
What is Net Zero? According to the World Green Building Council (WGBC), the definition of a net zero carbon building is a building that is highly energy efficient and fully powered from on-site and/or off-site renewable energy sources. The WGBC is dedicated to supporting market transformation towards 100% net zero carbon buildings by 2050.
In most situations, it may not be feasible for a building such as your home, to be able to generate 100% of its energy needs. From the high costs of installing green energy systems like solar or a small wind generator, the starting costs are out of the reach of the majority of homeowners. Others may simply not like the way these features look and if a company wants to install a solar park or a wind farm, then the outcry from the public and environmentalists becomes “not in my backyard” or “this will totally destroy the view”!
All points well taken. However, the reality is if we are going to reduce our carbon footprint, we need creative solutions and people and organizations to “drive the bus”.
What if Carbon County can be that bus driver and what if we can create public/private partnerships to be the guiding light for everyone to follow. How would that look?
It could be as simple as creating government financing programs and tax incentives that assist homeowners and businesses with the purchase and installation of integrated solar systems for their buildings. The technology is there for solar panels that are a part of the roof system or small vertical wind turbines that can generate power without harming birds.
The next time you are driving by a housing development or through our small towns, make note of all the rooftops that could easily accommodate solar panels. Every building, residences and commercial alike, could generate a good portion of and sometimes all of their own power without taking up valuable open space on the ground.
We could encourage manufacturers to locate here to produce solar or wind systems. They would need trained technicians to build, install and maintain those systems. Those employees could be trained in our tech school or community college. In essence, we could help to build an industry that can provide jobs for the future, benefit our citizens and the environment.
Generating your own power is just part of the equation. Buildings and appliances have to be energy efficient as well, but we need to be more aware of the amount of energy we use.
The bottom line is we can all make a difference by doing things a little differently. It doesn’t take much. Challenge yourself to be more cognizant of your energy use and let’s see what a difference we can make.