Half Plan

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Welcome to Good Dirt Radio, reporting on positive change, taking root.

The numbers are in. Conservation of energy is proving to be the lowest fruit on the eco-tree.   With costs soaring, it makes sense to save energy because many simple conservation efforts can pay for themselves in a short time… and can reduce climate-changing emissions.

The toxic coal power plant business prospers because there is enormous demand for cheap power.  An honest reckoning for many people is realizing that ‘them is us.’  Some experts claim that most consumers could reduce their energy use, by as much as half. This would keep millions of tons of toxic emissions from being burned into the air each year, helping solve the climate crisis.

One such expert is Gary Reysa, from Boseman, Montana.  With 30 years experience as an aero-space engineer, he’s made it his passion to engage the public with these issues through his website, which averages 4000 hits per day, and by publishing articles.  He is the author of the Half-Plan, an innovative program to help people conserve energy and money… right at home.

Reysa:  Well, the aim of the Half Program is to reduce energy consumption drastically and this of course directly correlates with greenhouse gas reduction.  Virtually all of our energy is produced from sources that result in greenhouse gas emissions. So, in rough terms, if you can cut your energy use in half you cut your greenhouse gas emissions in half.  And these numbers can be quite large.  In our case, the total Half Program reduction was about 32,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per year.  

Reysa explains how he started his program.

Reysa:  The Half Program is our family’s attempt to cut our energy use and greenhouse gas emissions in half and this is for space heating, electricity, transportation, water heating, nearly all of the energy that we use.  And our motivation for doing this was a concern about climate change and greenhouse gas emissions and how little seems to be getting done in the US about that.  Part of the Half Plan is going through a little bit of a planning process and deciding which projects will offer the best payoff for your particular home and circumstances and skill levels and so on.  And this can make a huge difference in the outcome.  Some projects pay off very, very well and some pay off rather poorly.  The whole crux of the half thing is to plan your list of projects so that you pick the ones that will pay off best for you, save the most energy and save the most greenhouse gas.  

We asked Reysa for examples of simple, cost effective solutions that can save energy.

Reysa:  So for our half program, we did about 20 projects.  And these range from things like more attic insulation, insulating our crawl space, a lot of infiltration sealing, sealing up our heating ducts, things like compact fluorescents, phantom loads, controlling power to our PCs, more efficient appliances like refrigerator and that to real simple things like bubble wrap insulation on windows, venting your dryer inside to recover the heat. And we did a number of solar thermal projects for heating our house and shop.  

Reysa says many energy saving projects, such as cutting heat loss through windows, can have as little as a one-year payback.

Reysa:  In our case we have large window areas and we’ve found window treatments like thermal shades, bubble wrap insulation, and multi-wall polycarbonate inside storm windows that have reduced our window losses by at least half.

Reysa summarizes the results and benefits of the Half Plan.

Well, for us, the Half Program has cut both our energy bills and our greenhouse gas emissions in half.  Its been very painless, easy to do.  And if this kind of a program were widely used in the US, if for example, a hundred million US families could each target a reduction of about half of their greenhouse gas emissions, it would reduce total US emissions by about 25%.  It’s probably the most cost effective way to reduce greenhouse gas and it’s directly within your control. You don’t have to wait for the government or anybody else, to do anything….these are steps you can take right now.    

For more ideas about the Half Plan and energy conservation, please visit our website at gooddirtradio.org.

Many power companies now offer green power at a slight premium.  With the climate crisis in mind, we urge you to consider calling your provider to switch to green power.

I’m Tami Graham and I’m Tom Bartels.  Thanks for joining us on Good Dirt Radio…digging up good news….for a change.

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