Posted November 1, 2013
by Jerry Alatalo
Today is Sunday November 1, 2013. What does he mean by “when every day is Sunday”? What it means is that people have solar panels on their homes and workplaces, passive solar heating through placement of south-facing windows, skylights erasing the need to turn on the lights during daytime, and other energy producing and saving products and strategies in place.
Simple placement of windows on south-facing walls of homes and buildings saves owners from 30-40% on heating costs. Does the home you live in take advantage of southern walls and windows in those walls? Do your family members’ homes have passive solar energy collecting, south-facing windows? How about skylights? Does the single story building that you own or work in have skylights? Or the schools where you live?
Passive solar and installing skylights are two of the low-tech, energy efficiency avenues to what Amory Lovins, the fellow in the following video, has coined “negawatt” savings. Amory Lovins has been an advocate of a “negawatt revolution” for decades, negawatt being defined as a unit of energy measured in watts saved.
Mr. Lovins had been out of my mind until Ralph Nader recently mentioned his name in an article. I had a slight knowledge of him through readings in years past, understood he was a leader in energy efficiency advocacy through his founding of the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), and that his efforts were always seen as logical and reasonable. When Mr. Nader reminded me of Amory Lovins, I thought it would be a positive thing to post an article about him.
A little about Amory Lovins. He was born in Washington, D.C. in 1947 and spent his childhood in Maryland and Massachusetts. He attended Harvard from 1964-66 then transferred to Oxford University in England, where he studied physics and other subjects. He didn’t graduate because the university declined his request to pursue a doctorate in energy.
He went on to publish six books on energy-efficiency, energy-saving products, and the promise of newly emerging technology. He became an environmentalist, working with the Friends of the Earth, until in 1982 he, along with his wife Hunter Lovins, founded the Rocky Mountain Institute in Colorado, USA. The video below comes from RMI’s YouTube channel, and their web address is rmi.org. RMI has grown from 1982 to now in 2013, where the organization has a staff of 85 and a budget of $13 million.
Amory Lovins advocates a “soft energy path” for the United States and nations around the world. Soft energy includes solar, wind, biogas, geothermal, and other forms of energy production. Mr. Lovins has focused on energy efficiency and renewables’ production in the vicinity of where the energy is used. His efforts have included sharing of information which allows purchasers of energy using devices to learn about energy-saving/efficient device options and their existence, where to buy them, and the best energy-saving devices available.
I equate his level of influence in the world to that of the late Hermann Scheer of Germany, both in a league of major contributors to energy freedom for the people of both their countries and countries around the Earth. Lovins, Scheer, Nader and many others have correctly identified the tremendous technological potential of renewable energies and are strong believers in the positive consequences of largest-scale implementation of new and developing products and technology.
There are a few reasons that I have decided to share energy-related information here. First, let me share that years ago I read a book, the title of which I can’t recall, where the author pointed out that major oil and gas corporations were “sitting on” patents for the most advanced renewable energy technologies. I would submit that renewable technologies are in effect “censored”, blocked, and criticized for one reason. It is a simple reason: at a certain point after a home or commercial building owner installs solar or other technology-the time comes, that point where the installation cost(s) have been recouped-and from that point forward the energy produced is free.
One can easily see why renewable energies are not in operation on the ground in the USA at the largest scale when viewed with profits of traditional energy corporations’ stockholders in one’s awareness. Renewables have a “catch-22” status in America, being a “winning” proposition for the people but a “loser” for the owners of oil. gas, nuclear, and other traditional energy corporations. Ultimately it is a sad situation because profits have become placed above the interests of the majority of the people.
The real, great promise of renewable energy has been suppressed and needs to end.
Hermann Scheer called solar power “the energy of the people”. He conveyed before he passed away in 2010 that the actualizing of renewables’ real benefits would entail a “war” of sorts-a war between the people and entrenched profit-driven corporate power and the individuals who want to maintain the profits-the energy status-quo. My guess is that Amory Lovins is intimately familiar with the work of Hermann Scheer, and understands fully the type of effort required for world energy production change.
Hopefully this piece will increase awareness and accelerate a real paradigm change in the world regarding renewable energy and its presently available, implementable, waiting-for-installation state. Perhaps from reading this men and women will take action(s) which help accelerate such a worldwide change. Perhaps communications which may have not taken place will take place. Persons reading this will contact the Rocky Mountain Institute and receive information which leads to the start of a business installing solar panels on homes, commercial buildings, and schools. Or the start of a business installing south-facing windows, or skylights.
Perhaps someone reading this will contact their federal representative and suggest legislation which allows for a renewable energy industry boom, which occurred in Germany with the leadership of Hermann Scheer, after he led the draft of laws guaranteeing economic gains from renewable energy investment, through feed-in tariffs that paid those investors, small and large, an unalterable amount for their energy production.
In Germany, because people who install solar panels on their homes have a guaranteed payment for excess energy production, there are solar panels on homes and building as far as the eye can see. Businesses which build solar panels and related products, businesses which specialize in installing solar panels, and retail stores have begun with legislation that focused on renewable energy development.
For more information visit the Rocky Mountain Institute’s website: rmi.org.
All that is needed for the United States of America to create an economic boom in renewable energy is legislation that mirrors German legislation. The reality which the American people must deal with is the choice of lawmakers in Washington, D.C. to maintain the status-quo of traditional oil, gas, nuclear, and coal corporation owners.
Right now, the lawmakers in Washington, D.C.-the United States Congress-have decided to deny the American people a renewable energy, economic boom and most significant: free energy.
- Dot Earth Blog: Exploring Solar, Efficiency, Gas and More with Amory Lovins and Joel Makower (dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Amory Lovins: As the Age of Fossil Fuels Ends, It’s Time for a New Fire (seaofinfo.com)
- Introducing Samsø, A 100% Wind-Powered Island (jbsnews.com)
- Solar Farm Developer/EPC Offers Partnership Opportunities (prweb.com)
- Rocky Mountain Institute Releases Solar Cost Reduction Roadmap (prweb.com)