‘Green energy’ sources promoted by Toledo Zoo programWritten by Duane Ramsey | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Earth Day was celebrated last weekend with a special program at the Toledo Zoo that included exhibits that provide information about green energy products and environmental causes by numerous companies and organizations.
Green Energy Ohio, a nonprofit, environmental organization dedicated to promoting sustainable energy policies and practices, was distributing information about its causes and work.
“Green energy is becoming more mainstream, but we’ve only scratched the surface with it,” said Bill Decker Sr. of Decker Homes in Lambertville. His company participated in the Earth Day event April 21 at the Toledo Zoo. Decker also made a presentation on energy efficient homes at a Green Build Energy seminar April 18 conducted by the Home Builders Association of Greater Toledo for its members.
In a 2006 survey, 86 percent of Americans would choose one home over another based on its energy efficiency. The leading incentive for 84 percent of respondents to pursue energy efficiency was lower monthly utility rates, according to the survey taken for the National Association of Home Builders.
However, 78 percent who were polled said that nobody discussed energy efficiency with them during the home buying process. Decker said that home builders must do a better job of selling energy efficiency to their customers.
“The American people want green energy. It’s just not easily available yet,” said U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur. “The inertia of past technology will not allow it to come through as fast as the public wants it.”
Kaptur is a proponent of using alternative and renewable energy sources of power.
“The communities that will flourish in the 21st Century are the ones that take advantage of alternative energy sources,” Kaptur said. “We need to take a look at our special assets of sun, wind and water related to Lake Erie as sources for alternative energy. Research shows that the most powerful gusts of wind in this area occur at the center of the lake.”
Kaptur is planning to convene a meeting of energy stakeholders from the U.S. and Canada to discuss the issues of solar, wind and wave energy related to the lake. She wants to involve the state and federal governments, port authorities on the lake, Green Energy Ohio, and the Canadian-U.S. Study Center at Bowling Green State University.
“My purpose is to talk to Americans and Canadians about the incredible resources of solar, wind and waves to be used in an environmentally friendly manner to power ourselves into the future,” Kaptur said.
Renewable energy standards would help, but there aren’t any such standards in Ohio. Kaptur and Decker believe that renewable energy standards would help expedite the use of green technology in the state.
DTE Energy of Detroit recently introduced a renewable energy option, the GreenCurrents program, which allows residential and business customers to buy energy from renewable sources.
Renewable energy options are not offered by First Energy in Ohio, but could be made available if enough customers wanted it, said Mark Durbin, spokesman for First Energy, parent company of Toledo Edison.
Consumers can now choose the company that supplies their electricity through the Ohio Consumer Choice Program offered by utility providers. They can choose the source that supplies the generation portion of their electricity.
“Renewable energy is typically more expensive than traditional generated electricity,” Durbin said.
“Solar costs a lot of money, so you need to have a more energy-efficient home and solar comes after that,” Decker said. “It’s about our having an obligation to educate the public about energy efficiency.”
Jeffrey Rich, an applications engineer for First Solar, Inc. in Perrysburg, volunteered at the Green Energy Ohio exhibit at the Zoo’s Earth Day.
The company produces solar panels for systems that generate power for homes, commercial and industrial buildings.
“Solar system and installation costs need to be reduced to produce renewable energy at lower rates,” Rich said. “Solar – or wind – generated power is still more expensive than traditional electricity generated by today’s power plants.”
“Green Tips” were passed along to people at the Zoo’s Earth Day.
Home Depot gave away 1 million compact fluorescent lamps on Earth Day across the country. The lamps use only about a quarter of the energy used by incandescent light bulbs and can last as much as 10 times longer.
Ohio policymakers, business and institutional power users, energy professionals, community leaders and consumers are expected to attend a one-day clean energy workshop April 30 in Columbus.
The Ohio Renewable Energy Showcase is co-hosted by Green Energy Ohio and the Ohio Department of Development’s Office of Energy Efficiency.