Get more from energy and pollute less – a win, win if ever there was one

Microbial electrolysis cell making sustainable energy possible
Microbial electrolysis cell making sustainable energy possible

Who doesn’t like a good challenge? The lowering or elimination of emissions is a good challenge, don’t you think?

As it relates, if a circumstance exists where a positive environmental impact can be made, then I tend to support strategies and measures that help such causes along. But doing such at times could be challenging.

I have an electric lawn mower. I traded in the gas-powered version I used to have years ago. Also, as much as it is in my control, I will wait until the weather is cooler and air cleaner before mowing. This could mean the lawn going several weeks before getting mowed.

Next: my fireplace has a gas insert. But, even if the fireplace didn’t and wood could be burned in it, I simply wouldn’t use the fireplace to do the latter.

By adhering to these practices I can’t say for sure what percentage of emissions have been taken out of the atmosphere compared to using the fireplace to burn wood and mowing the lawn using conventional gas-powered equipment to do the same. But, I know there is improvement in this sense.

Economics being part of the equation here, too, I believe I am saving money by adhering to these practices. To know for sure, I would need to do a cost analysis regarding purchasing gasoline to fuel the gas-powered mower versus buying electricity to power up the electric mower. But, one thing I am pretty confident of: the cost of electricity to power the electric mower per mow (it uses a rechargeable battery) can’t be any more than what the cost of gasoline is per mow for conventional mowing. I also refuse to use a leaf blower for after-mowing cleanup. A broom and dustpan work just fine.

Also, incentivization of more sustainable practices would probably get those who are currently sitting on the fence regarding making the clean switch, to make the switch. This would all help.

Beyond this, the type of car driven can make a difference also.

I drive a vehicle that has an ultra-low emissions engine. If the time comes for me to replace the vehicle I’m currently driving, my goal is to replace it with a zero-emissions version. I don’t know that I will make another car purchase, but if I do, that’s the plan.

Unless I take a trip to the coast and I know this may sound silly or may be taking matters to extremes, but if the quality of the air where I live is bad, I typically don’t drive. I wait until the quality of the air improves. If this sounds like I lead a comparatively boring life, then so be it.

No outdoor grilling, no having interior lights on during the day unless I’m in the garage changing the car’s oil, for example, and outside conditions are dark enough necessitating use of unnatural lighting, keeping the thermostat set to temperatures so either the heater in colder climes and cooler (air conditioner) in warmer ones gets used less frequently, and using indoor fans, all helps to save energy, lower my utility bill and pollute less.

I’m certain being retired has a lot to do with it being easier for me to scale back energy use and hence lower my environmental footprint. But, also making a conscientious effort to try to make a difference by doing my part to use energy wisely should help as well.

I figure by doing as much, and although such can be a challenge, much can be gained. Besides, what’s not to like about living such a lifestyle, anyway?

Image above: National Science Foundation

– Alan Kandel