I’m pleased to welcome Barry Cinnamon to BoomerWarrior. Barry is the host of the Energy Show on Renewable Energy World, a weekly 20-minute podcast that provides tips and advice to reduce your energy consumption. (Rolly Montpellier~Managing Editor for BoomerWarrior).
With energy prices changing so quickly — and new technologies ramping up into the marketplace — the “conventional wisdom” about energy is often wrong. I’ve been as guilty as other people when it comes to trusting emotions and public opinion about energy, as opposed to real math and science.
See if you can guess the answer to these ten simple questions:
Energy Saving Myths
- Are electric cars cheaper than gas cars?
- Is rooftop solar expensive?
- Will you save money if you buy new energy saving appliances?
- Will gas prices stay low?
- Is solar for no money down a good investment?
- Are LED bulbs expensive?
- Do electric utilities like customer energy efficiency?
- Is clean coal cost effective?
- Is nuclear power the best baseload power source?
- Has energy efficiency reduced our per capita energy usage?
If you answered “yes” to ANY of these questions, I suggest you listen up to the Energy Show on Renewable Energy World. The conventional wisdom is wrong — and all of these energy saving ideas are myths.
About The Energy Show
As energy costs consume more and more of our hard-earned dollars, we as consumers really start to pay attention. But we don’t have to resign ourselves to $5/gallon gas prices, $200/month electric bills and $500 heating bills. There are literally hundreds of products, tricks and techniques that we can use to dramatically reduce these costs — very affordably.
The Energy Show on Renewable Energy World is a weekly 20-minute podcast that provides tips and advice to reduce your home and business energy consumption. Every week we’ll cover topics that will help cut your energy bill, explain new products and technologies in plain English, and cut through the hype so that you can make smart and cost-effective energy choices.
About the Host
Barry Cinnamon is a long-time advocate of renewable energy and is a widely recognized solar power expert. In 2001 he founded Akeena Solar — which grew to become the largest national residential solar installer by the middle of the last decade with over 10,000 rooftop customers coast to coast. He partnered with Westinghouse to create Westinghouse Solar in 2010, and sold the company in 2012.
His pioneering work on reducing costs of rooftop solar power systems include Andalay, the first solar panel with integrated racking, grounding and wiring; the first UL listed AC solar panel; and the first fully “plug and play” AC solar panel. His current efforts are focused on reducing the soft costs for solar power systems, which cause system prices in the U.S. to be double those of Germany.
Although Barry may be known for his outspoken work in the solar industry, he has hands-on experience with a wide range of energy saving technologies. He’s been doing residential energy audits since the punch card days, developed one of the first ground-source heat pumps in the early ‘80s, and always abides by the Laws of Thermodynamics.
I am wondering is his goal to get people to buy his solar or scare people from energy conservation???? If you just read the questions and next paragraph it seems like buying efficient appliances is not good…. we should keep driving gas cars (by the way I beg to differ, my wife drives a Chevy Volt even in MN winter and even with paying for “windpower” with its extra cost she says we save money compared to buying gas for the miles she drives even if we had very fuel efficient car)….on the other hand the initial investment for an (partly) electric car was much more than I had ever spent on a car before, but then again many of my neighbors drive overly expensive gas only guzzlers….would also argue clean coal is a myth, no such thing so that question is invalid…..
IMO efficiency first. “We don’t have a right to ask whether we’re going to succeed or not – the only question we have a right to ask is: What’s the right thing to do? What does this Earth require of us if we want to continue to live on it?” Wendell Berry
Past tax subsidies to pollute the commons with abandon have hidden and delayed the day of reckoning that is now upon humanity. The carnage can no longer be swept under the rug. Humanity will pay either equitably or not but pay none the less. Space Ship Earth is in peril.
Leif – Space Ship Earth is most certainly in peril. And you’re right. At some point, humanity will need to make things right with nature. If we don’t, nature will do it for us. And nature will not be selective. We will all get a taste of it.
Thanks for your comment. And I love that Wendell Berry quote.
Dumb questions. Of course LED bulbs are expensive — to buy. To operate per unit of energy used? Probably not. Ditto for electric cars, solar panels, etc. Should we go solar! Absolutely. should it be on the grid? not necessarily. Just left my bathroom which does not have any windows but I have a solar tube bringing in light. Didn’t need to turn on my lights. Ditto for my windowless closet with its solar tube, my kitchen with its huge solar tube and my mud room with its solar tube. My two RV and Boat batteries are being charged with solar now. Cheaper than grid electric? Don’t know. But they are used where there is no grid electric in the summer so I use the same technology for winter maintenance.
But why are you concerned about money? Is that concern not the real problem? Maybe you need to do an article about what money is and how it is created and by whom. Now there are some real myths! The whole notion that it costs money to save the environment is part of the problem. The late John Hotson, professor emeritus of economics for the University of Waterloo stated the following:
““As every environmentalist knows, over the last few centuries we humans have created an ecologically unsustainable industrial economy. Unless we radically reform our way of doing things and create a sustainable economic system we are doomed to suffer drastic changes.
“What most environmentalists – and indeed most economists – do not know is that over the last few centuries we humans have also created an economically unsustainable financial system. Unless we radically reform this financial system it will recurringly break down and thwart our efforts to heal this planet.
“Our current financial system diverts us from our real problems to ask: ‘where is the money going to come from?’ This should be the least of our worries. As long as we have vast unmet human needs and idle human and nonhuman resources … finance should never be allowed to stand in the way of doing what must be done.
“Could anything be more insane than for the human race to die out because we ‘couldn’t afford’ to save ourselves.”
Hello Herb – Great observations about how capitalism and economic growth are getting in the way of doing what is right. Money should never be the deciding factor for slowing down our transition to a zero-carbon world. Your last quote says it all: “Could anything be more insane than for the human race to die out because we ‘couldn’t afford’ to save ourselves.”
Thanks for your comments.
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Not sure this particular piece is all that helpful for anyone. The comments on the Energy Show podcast page do a fairly good job of bringing Mr. Cinnamon to task for the myths he’s making while simultaneously debunking myths that many of us already know not to be true (if we know they’re myths, no need to bust them!).
This kind of piece isn’t helpful for people who don’t know better (they’ll more likely believe the new myths as much as the old ones he’s trying to bust) nor for people who do (because they’ll just get frustrated to learn that there are new myths being created by someone purporting to be ‘on the same side’).
EVs and PHEVs are not the same thing. Emissions intensity varies from place to place. Electricity costs vary from time to time and region to region. EVs are actually an incredibly good means of reducing emissions in places like Ontario, Quebec and BC, where electricity generation is already very low-carbon. These subtleties are not addressed in this podcast.
Thank you Ian for your comments. And I do agree with you that the post is not helpful in terms of my climate activism. When I posted it, the thinking was that we ought to make sure we don’t get caught up in the moment with energy savings tips that are not that useful or effective.
That said, I’m sensitive to what readers/followers think of my blog posts. I will listen to the podcast again and get back to you.