Archive for the ‘Climate Change’ Topic

EV Recap

Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017

Awesome turnout in Friday Harbor for the Electric Vehicle (EV) Car show!

EV Variety_Edited

There was a phenomenal turnout of OPALCO members at this weekend’s event. Many supporters of energy efficiency and conservation, as well as renewable energy advocates, were present to learn about current OPALCO programs, and future projects.

We learned about the different benefits of owning an EV in the islands, and the different varieties available now from different car manufacturers. Those featured on Saturday included Nissan, Chevrolet, Tesla, Mitsubishi, and BMW. Spectators also got a chance to look at the differences between 100% electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, like the now-familiar Toyota Prius.

Row of EVs_Edited

Along with highlighting why it makes sense to own an EV in San Juan County, OPALCO was there promoting renewable energy, and getting members to sign up for information about our upcoming Community Solar project, expected to break ground in 2018.  More information on this project will be available during the OPALCO Annual Meeting on Saturday May 6th, and we’re looking for interested members to sign up for our email distribution list.

If you want to be involved in Community Solar, please contact us at (360) 376-3571, or send an email to energysavings@opalco.com to get signed up!

EV Car show in Friday Harbor

Friday, April 14th, 2017

Electric Vehicles are driving the future!

Friday Harbor EV Car Show Final

When islanders purchase new cars, we are more frequently buying electric vehicles (EVs) than a traditional car, with an internal combustion engine. On San Juan Island on April 29th, 2017, in partnership with the San Juan Islands Conservation District, we are going to highlight some EVs you might see driving around, including hybrid cars, plug-in 100% electric vehicles, and some truly unique local endeavors.  You might see a Toyota Prius or two, a Nissan Leaf, some cutting-edge Teslas, and even a vehicle built by local students in Friday Harbor.

Help us celebrate our uncanny ability to save energy, and embrace new technologies, making us a clean and environmentally friendly community!

EV vs ICE Efficiency Comparison

Green Home Tours Part 2

Monday, October 24th, 2016

 

 

montesorri-pv

We had a FANTASTIC time with the San Juan Islands Conservation District this month with the Green Home Tours.  Participants got to see local homes and businesses on the cutting edge of energy conservation and efficiency, as well as buildings using tried and true methods, getting back to the basics.  Here are some green highlights from the different sites we visited:

 

Lopez:

  • Straw bale construction, earthen plaster, solar hot water heat, and lots of photo voltaic systems.

 

San Juan:

  • Energy Star rated appliances, weather resistive barrier wrap, in-floor heating, heat recovery ventilator.

 

Orcas:

  • Water catchment, smart thermostats, LED Lighting, Solar Education (with PV Array on site!), Electric Vehicle Charging station.

 

One item that was common at almost every single building we visited (including low-income residential housing, state-of-the-art commercial businesses, and cutting edge high-end design) was Ductless Heat Pumps.  The majority of energy used in San Juan County is used for heating, and Ductless Heat Pumps are a hyper-efficient way to get the job done.  Learn how to cut costs and reduce your carbon footprint by investing in a DHP, and monitor your savings using SmartHub – our FREE tool to manage your OPALCO account and monitor your energy usage.

Want to see some of the places we visited on the tour?  Interested in adding your home?  Go to www.GreenHomeSanJuans.org and view the Interactive Map!  Thanks to all that participated, and getting involved!

 

Annual Report – Win a $50 Bill Credit

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

OPALCO’s 2015 Annual Report is ready for your reading pleasure. We want you to know who we are and what we are up to. So much so, in fact, that if you read the report and take the Treasure Hunt quiz, we’ll enter you to win a $50 bill credit. Go for the gold!

Rep. Jeff Morris on Appliance Efficiency and Coal Plant Exit Strategy

Monday, April 6th, 2015

 

WA Representative Jeff Morris shared some recent state legislative action, with these highlights:

1) Appliance Efficiency

The 2015 House of Representatives passed Rep. Morris’ bill to set higher efficiency standards for appliances sold in Washington. House Bill 1100 will require appliances to be manufactured with better energy saving mechanisms in order to be sold in Washington. Inefficient appliances waste energy – costly for Washington families and our environment.

California has already established higher efficiency standards. If we don’t catch up, Washington could become a dumping ground for low-efficiency, outdated appliances that manufacturers can’t sell in other states.

His bill is now sent on to the Senate, where he hopes for speedy passage.

2) Creating an ‘Exit Strategy’ for Coal Plants

Morris also introduced a bill that would give state utility companies a pathway for closing down coal plants and phasing out coal-fired energy generation.

Despite state, federal and consumer pressures, the transition for utility companies to end coal energy generation is more complicated than simply closing coal plants. Market instability and financial burden caused by the removal of a large energy source eventually falls on consumers, which could escalate rates for those now dependent on coal.

Morris says,“If we expect our utility companies to end their use of coal, we need to give them a viable exit strategy that protects consumers.”

His proposed legislation wouldn’t force the closure of any plants and instead provides a cost-effective pathway for utilities to do it themselves.

Note that many states with low-cost electricity, like West Virginia, burn cheap, dirty coal. This chart of carbon footprints clearly demonstrates that hydro power carbon footprint is about 250 times cleaner than coal. OPALCO electricity comes primarily from very clean, renewable hydro power, as shown in the 2013 Fuel Mix report.

Energy Carbon Footprint

WA Representative Jeff Morris represents the 40th Legislative District that includes San Juan County and parts of Skagit and Whatcom Counties.  Jeff has been a strong leader on energy initiatives, including energy efficiency and renewable energy policy. 

For more information about both bills, click here.  To learn more about ways you can improve the energy efficiency of your home (including upgrading to efficient appliances), visit our OPALCO Energy Savings website.