The growing energy burden of air conditioning
As summer heat waves push temperatures into triple digits, countless people sit inside seeking shelter from the sun. Ceiling fans and open windows once provided as much relief as possible, but air conditioning units now reign supreme, blasting refrigerated air into homes, offices and public buildings around the world. While some buildings have enjoyed this perk for years, millions more are poised to make the upgrade, as both supply and demand are fueled by rising global temperatures and household wealth.On the surface, this trend marks a step in the right direction, as more people worldwide will have access to comfortable living. That being said, the sheer scale with which we are adopting air conditioning presents a serious challenge. Although today's AC units are more efficient than ever, they still use as much as 20 times more energy than a ceiling fan, according to Lucas Davis, an associate professor at the University of California, Berkeley. Plus, with countries like China, Mexico, India, Indonesia and Brazil adopting AC at astonishing rates, the world will add 700 million air conditioners in the next 15 years, and as many as 1.6 billion by 2050, a report from the Lawrence Berkeley National Library found. "Five percent of . . .
California shows economic growth while reducing emissions
Traditionally, economic growth and green house gas emissions have gone hand in hand - industrialism remained a key indicator of a community's economic proficiency while green energy critics worried a focus on sustainability would stifle development. However, California has managed to break this paradigm, simultaneously boosting its economy while cutting emissions, according to a new report from nonpartisan nonprofit group Next 10. The report analyzes the economic and environmental output in the Golden State through 2014. Alongside a 1.82 percent jump in gross domestic product between 2013 and 2014, California also reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 1.59 percent per capita, suggesting the two statistics aren't as linked as once assumed. "As the sixth largest economy in the world and an innovator in climate and energy policy, California is forging a decoupling between economic growth and carbon emissions per-capita," Next 10's founder, F. Noel Perry, said in a statement announcing the group's 2016 California Green Innovation Index. Adopting alternative energy sources
These initial findings beg the question: How does a state with such a dynamic economy reduce its environmental footprint without compromising productivity? The Next 10 report suggests a major key for California has been its ability to support its industry with alternative energy . . .
Energy-saving tips for a more efficient summer
Summer is finally here! While the long days, abundant sunshine and warm evenings make this many people's favorite time of the year, it can also be one of the most challenging periods in terms of energy efficiency. In the summer heat, homes lose cool air faster, air conditioners have to work harder and pool pumps and sprinklers are active more often, causing energy loads - and bills - to skyrocket.Luckily, there are a number of simple habits homeowners can adopt to manage their summertime energy usage. Here are a few to get you started: Keep your kitchen cool
For many people, the stove is a staple for home cooking. However, even turning on the element for a few minutes can radiate heat throughout your kitchen, forcing your air conditioner to fight even harder. Instead of firing up the stove, try using you microwave whenever possible. Not only does it contain heat much better than a stove-top element, but it can cook food using two-thirds less energy, according to the California Energy Commission's Consumer Energy Center. Not only is it important to keep excess heat out of your kitchen, but you should also take steps to keep cool air where it belongs. Every . . .