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Center for Environmental Education and Sustainability Center for Environmental Education and Sustainability

“Among the most important issues today are tackling climate change and transitioning rapidly to a new energy economy that is based on conservation, efficiency, and clean energy.  Our Center joined KySEA to be a part of a network of individuals and groups using their combined resources and voice to effect legislative change in Kentucky. We believe all citizens and the Commonwealth will benefit from a clean energy future that will strengthen the  economy, protect the environment, improve health, and create jobs.”  - Nancy Givens

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November

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Nov 30, 2011

What's a Meter Geek?

by Nancy Reinhart — last modified Nov 30, 2011 01:17 PM
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By Sam Avery, of Avery and Sun, a KySEA group member

When was the last time you looked at your electric meter?  If you’re like most people, you don’t even know where it is, but if you’re a Meter Geek, you’re likely to answer: “This morning.”

I became a Meter Geek the day I hooked up the PV system on my own house.  I just stood there watching the numbers bounce around.   Dan joked: “Where’s Sam…?  Oh, he’s over playing with his inverter.”  I still check it every day or so.

But I’m not the only one.  I just got an email from Dennis and Wendy:  “Yesterday morning the electric meter read one kilowatt hour less than the day you all hooked up the panels. I doubt that we will ever have to pay more than the basic rate again. Thanks. It is a great feeling.”

And then there’s Don.   (We installed his system a couple of years ago.)  He had one of the old rotating wheel meters.  He called me up one day to tell me that, with the sun shining and just the right number of lights on and the coffee maker brewing, he could run outside and watch the wheel come to a perfect balance.  It tried to edge one way or the other until the coffee was ready, and then it resumed its backward march.  He used to invite friends over just to stand outside and watch it with him.

When you install solar, you get rewired.  You pay attention to things you did not notice before.  You watch what the clouds are doing, how the shadows play, and wonder how many kilowatt-hours you’re likely to produce today.  You think about the sun bringing life into your home.  More importantly, you think about where the new energy is going.  It’s yours – for free – but there’s only so much and you don’t want to waste it.  You want to have enough for how you live but you want to live by what is there.

The most important thing about being a Meter Geek is that you begin to see energy as energy – not just as a bill you have to pay.  You stop converting it into dollars.  It falls on your roof, you gather it up, and turn it into lighting, music, vacuum cleaning, computing, televiewing, or coffee brewing.  You’re not buying anything – and not mining or burning anything, either.  And you’re paying attention to how energy flows through your life.  If you don’t have a way to produce energy and you’re trying to conserve, it’s all yin and no yang – it’s all going one way and you’re trying to slow it down but you can’t make it stop.  But when energy flows both ways you see the yin and the yang.  You feel the balance. 

The reason I’m raising this topic now is that I am about to have the consummate Meter Geek experience.  The day I installed my system – the day I became a Meter Geek – my electric meter read 3432 kilowatt-hours.  That was November 2007.  The PV system has been cranking out kwh ever since, more than I have been using, and today, Aug 25 , the meter reads 00008.   By the time you read these words it will have gone to 00000, and I have no idea what happens after that!  It’s another Y2K.  I’m a little afraid it will read 99 million or something, and some computer will spit me out a bill for $ 9 million or so.  I have no idea.  I’ll be finding out soon, but you won’t find out until….

Nov 14, 2011

KySEA Groups Discuss Upcoming Legislative Session

by Nancy Reinhart — last modified Nov 14, 2011 04:27 PM

About half of KySEA member groups attended a meeting in Lexington on Monday, November 7th, to discuss the upcoming 2012 Kentucky legislative session.

Thirty three representatives from 23 KySEA member groups participated in lively discussion about how to move the Clean Energy Opportunity Act forward this session and about how to support other opportunities that might arise to advance clean energy in the state.

The group heard preliminary findings about a Health Impact Assessment from the Kentucky Environmental Foundation, which shows the health advantages for Kentucky of moving to clean energy.

Curtis Stauffer, of Metropolitan Housing Coalition, also presented about a recent report from the Metropolitan Housing Coalition, entitled the 2011 State of Metropolitan Housing Report. It looked at a variety of factors surrounding affordable housing in the Metro Louisville area, focusing particularly on approaches to providing fair and affordable housing that uses less energy.  

Housing and CO2

He showed the graphic above to highligh that denser housing types in transit oriented developments are significantly more energy efficient than less dense housing types in suburban style development.  And, green, energy efficient  building practices- significantly reduce home energy use in all types of developments.

Those present at the KySEA meeting agreed that Kentucky needs better solutions both in building new homes and retrofitting existing homes in order to lower people's energy bills. With electricity rates rising across the state, this will be a topic of much consideration during the next session. And the Clean Energy Opportunity Act, supported by KySEA offers some of those solutions.

 

Nov 01, 2011

Kentucky Sustainable Energy Alliance Meeting

by Nancy Reinhart — last modified Nov 01, 2011 11:17 AM

Monday, November 7th, 2011
10 am to 4 pm
Northside Library Branch
1733 Russell Cave Road
Lexington, KY


The Kentucky Sustainable Energy Alliance will host its fall meeting on November 7th. The agenda will include:

-Preview of the 2012 legislative session: Perspectives from key KySEA members including a green energy business and an affordable housing provider, as well as opportunities to plug into KySEA's legislative work

-Overview of the Clean Energy Opportunity Act

-Two exciting presentations on reports related to clean energy by Metropoltan Housing Coalition and Kentucky Environmental Foundation.

Bring a brown bag lunch. We hope you will join us.

Please RSVP by clicking here.

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Clean energy stories
Randy's run Randy's run

Clay County, Kentucky resident Randy Wilson ran for the board of his electric cooperative on a platform of affordable energy, better energy choices, and good local jobs in 2009. Randy was the first person to oppose a sitting Jackson Energy board member since the co-op was founded in 1938. Before running for office, Randy was an active member of the Kentuckians For the Commonwealth’s Canary Leadership Network carrying a message throughout the region about the need to transition away from coal and towards clean energy.

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