There is no one sustainable solution to the energy problem, it is more a case of using combinations of different energy producing solutions to meet modern demands. We have the technological capability, ‘the Future’ is already here – it just isn’t very well distributed yet. This means that as energy demand sky-rockets government policies should include measures for implementing the distribution of sustainable technologies.
It is possible to heat your home from the air by using an ‘air source heat pump‘ and that is true energy independence. My father has installed one in his home and so far the heating and hot water bills are a fraction of what he paid in a quarter with a traditional system. If he linked the pump to a PV Solar panel his heating and hot water would cost almost zero.
The system is simple, it works like a reverse refrigerator and can heat a house because it uses the total floor area at a low temperature rather than small radiators at a high temperature. I am so impressed by the system that I find it difficult to understand why it is not installed in all new housing developments.
New technologies demand new ways of thinking and maybe new locally based power generation with such a system heating an entire terrace of houses could reduce the initial installation cost to such low levels that housing developers would have an economic incentive to ‘go green’. The system could be more efficient: the cold air from the output fan could be harnessed and any inventors reading this might want to look into that.
For all the political ‘green’ rhetoric, those guiding Society continue to delay our transition to a renewable energy economy. Pollution is not the solution and yet five miles from where I live in Balcome, Mid-Sussex (UK), in an area designated as being of ‘outstanding natural beauty’, a company has started fracking. Why? Gas is mainly used for heating and an ‘air source heat pump‘ can do this at lower cost with no risk to the environment.
At this point I probably need to choose my words as carefully as those that promote fracking as a viable operation. To me the arguments that advocate this practice play a game of semantics and generalizations that are not sustainable. I do not go along with the assertion that it is ‘safe’ because ‘it happens deep underground’. The World is not flat: the Balcome drill is perched on the top of a hill and at the base of the valley is the reservoir that supplies water to approximately 806,900 people. 5 million gallons of chemicals will be pumped into a well next to this water supply in the first phase of the fracking process.
These chemicals contain compounds that have been linked to bone, liver and breast cancers; gastrointestinal, circulatory, respiratory, developmental, brain and nervous system disorders (US Environmental Protection Agency) – so nobody is going to get healthier from this operation. As Buckminster Fuller stated, we live on ‘Spaceship Earth’ and we might take that further to invoke the comparison of being on a life-boat and “it should be of grave concern to everyone on the ship if people start polluting the supplies of food and water”.
If you are attending a protest meeting on fracking operations then I have a suggestion: offer the Company executives some bottled water and use the line from Erin Brockovich, “hope you enjoy your water, we’ve had it brought in specially from the holding ponds for you folks”. My bet is that they won’t drink it, so why should you be forced to?
Alex King is an architect and his design Santiago Townhouseʼ won the British Homes Awards in 2011 – Alex King Design / Designalexable, examples of his latest work can be seen at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2yGQhlRz8mc