I realized the other day that the next realistic steps my household might take to reduce carbon emissions are to carpool more (we commute to work together but could add up to 2 more people in our car) and to move to geothermal heat.
Geothermal systems – even with the rebates – would probably cost $15,000. That’s a ton of money. Even supposing we had $15K to spend on a system (and that’s a big “if”), would it be the best way to spend it? What would truly be the most carbon-reduction-bang for fifteen thousand bucks?
Some initial ideas:
- Help 15 households insulate their attics to R-60
- Buy super-efficient furnaces for several households
- Help 3-5 farmers build hoophouses to produce local veggies through the winter
- Invest in a “neighborhood energy startup” with a gasifier (makes heat and electricity and biodiesel), possibly with a permaculture system of greenhouses, coppice groves, etc.
- Just buy land and start a coppice grove for sustainable heating fuel production, and possibly invest in a pelletizer
- Some kind of education program? I’m thinking the actual return is hard to measure, and it’s not education about global warming that folks around here lack.
Anyone have data on any of these? Or other ideas? bonus points for things that are done once and keep on saving energy and reducing emissions without any further attention or work.