Finding Climate Agency

Finding Climate Agency by Electrifying your Life! – Andrew Stone, President

50 years ago in 1974 I came to New Mexico to study architecture and I became fascinated with passive solar heating and adobe architecture. The NM Solar Energy Association was 2 years old then and wars were being fought over oil and us solar boosters knew humanity deserved better.

What we couldn’t know then was that the computer revolution would lead to cheap photovoltaic cells (PV’s) and that we’d have a future where every home could produce and store the energy needed to power our homes and vehicles. 

And we find ourselves in a crazy world where doomsayers who denied climate change are now saying it’s too late and spreading fear and apathy. Personal agency in the climate crisis must be regained to preserve our sanity and to help our friends and family see that a carbon-free world is not only possible, but it’s a great investment!

So, we all must, in whatever way possible, invest in the energy transition – the once-in-human-history moving from fossil fuels to renewable energy. And I promise you, you’ll feel better knowing you did what you could, and you’ll inspire your friends and family to make the transition too.

I’m indebted to Dylan Connelly of Affordable Solar who gave a talk on going from natural gas for heating, cooking and hot water to all electric heat pumps, induction stoves and heat pump water heaters. I started making an electrification plan, the lowest hanging fruit was replacing all of our light bulbs with LED light bulbs. Took us a week to get used to the slight delay between when you turn on the switch to when you see the light!

Energy efficiency is not as sexy as solar and batteries, but it’s the most important first step and results in needing less solar. “Reduce before you produce!” And there are funds available to help you replace drafty windows and doors and even insulate your attic. And moving off of natural gas plugs major holes in your roof! Each natural gas device requires fresh outdoor air intake and has triplewallled flues that go through the roof.

When it comes to choosing electric vehicles, consider if you need that big minivan now the kids have fled the nest. And maybe you are ready to have just one family car and get some E-bikes for local travel. 

One bit of advice I give is “don’t throw away infrastructure that already has embedded carbon if its got years of use left.” Think of the energy transition as a more of a marathon than a sprint. Spread out your investment over several years to maximize the available grants, rebates and tax credits available to home and business owners. EV’s are getting cheaper, heat pumps are getting more efficient and stoves and heat pump water heaters are becoming mass market commodities which also drive down prices.

Together we can bring about a fossil free world, and the reward of “our family did whatever it could to make it happen faster” is a powerful and wonderful feeling of YES WE CAN – the return of Climate Agency.

Learn more about making an electrification plan for your family!