Thursday, 17 July 2008

Going Green...kind of.

At the risk of starting a political debate (which is not my intention), this is a subject I've been pondering lately.

I saw a story on Sixty Minutes the other night about people building houses to be energy efficient, carbon neutral and generally 'green'. It really interested me, to the point that I've made a little list of things I want to research. Going green isn't cheap when your house is already set up otherwise! But the story was really inspiring. Orientate your house to catch cooling breezes. Use verandas and rooflines to allow in winter sun and keep out hot summer sun. Insulate well. Use solar power. It all sounds so wonderful!

Then yesterday the Australian Government released it's 'Green Paper' regarding Emissions Trading. I admit, I'm not the brightest political mind. In fact, my politics mind is pretty basic and I tend to see things in a detached kind of way I think....dh keeps telling me "it's not that simple". I dunno....I reckon it is. So you can see, I may be way off base with what I'm about to say!

The Green Paper to me, seems all about charging the living daylights out of people for using carbon emitting energy. I can see where that comes into play. Really I can. But wouldn't it be more positive to give people incentives to change to more eco-friendly ways of doing things? In parenting terms, it's like disciplining for bad behaviour without giving any incentive or reward for good behaviour.

I was dumbfounded the other day when a friend told me the LPG Conversion Rebate was being axed very soon. Really? LPG is a cleaner fuel. Why would you not encourage people to do that, if we want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions? I don't get it. They want to charge even more for using petrol and won't encourage people to swap to gas.

We still get a rebate for installing water tanks. But then you get charged a water storage fee for the rest of the life of the tank. Hmmm....not such a great incentive.

I don't know. In my simple black-and-white mind these things just don't make a whole heap of sense. Wouldn't it be better to encourage people to use cleaner fuel in their cars, make solar power on houses more affordable and not charge us for storing our own water...something we're meant to be using less of anyway? Surely they'd be paying us not to use town water?

So....I'm going to start researching affordable ways to be greener. I live at the top of a hill with no big trees over my house....I wonder how solar power really works. And will Tru Energy pay me for putting power back into the grid?!


Belinda said...

Hi Tracy,

I totally agree that the messages coming out of the political arena a the moment in relation to green issues are totally contradictory.

Yes, these things are complex and government have to be careful about how and when changes are instituted but in this case I am pretty sure that is currently not the problem. The problem as I see it is that the Australian people and therefore government still believe we have a choice about this stuff. Public opinion is changing but I am not yet convinced if has got past the "I wanna" stage to the "its gonna hurt but its gotta be done" stage. Until the majority of our community supports the second the government is really unlikely to move... they don't want to be punished at the ballot box for doing the "right thing"

Kind Regards

Left-Handed Housewife said...

I hope you'll post your green research. This is something I've been thinking a lot about, too. And I totally agree that more people would get on board if incentives were offered. Here in the States we seem to have lost that "let's all work together for a good cause" spirit and could really use some leadership on this issue.

Good luck with all this!

Anonymous said...

I'm fairly new to visitng your blog and enjoying it very much. Don't normally comment but wanted to say that I watched that show too and it totally fascinated me. Would love to live in an enviro friendly home like that - so cool!

fmll said...

It's funny you make this post. My boss was commenting on the extact same thing only a couple of days ago. He wants to reduce our companies carbon footprint without just throwing money at the situtation. And guess who is now spear heading that project!! I posted about it the other day.

Excited and daunted at the same time!

Tracy said...

I can't wait to hear how you go with it fmll!

marjorie said...

Tracy, I agree with you. We built an energy efficient house years ago and everyone thought we were nuts. I still think we have a long ways to go to be good at energy conservation. The only energy conservation program I have found offered in my part of Canada are discount coupons on CFL bulbs.