How I drove 410 km for 65 cents in energy

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by Kelvin Hodges

I promised an article on how to act on climate change. So let me start by saying the key to our climate change action is its FUN, its EASY and it saves a bucket load of money!

Part of the climate change issue is CO2; so, what do we do? Well, there are two things: one is to stop making CO2, and the other is to store the CO2 burden, removing it from the air.

To stop making CO2, we start with the easy stuff. Only buy electric appliances: that’s your lawn mower, your weed wacker, your chainsaw, your automobile.

And guess what? It saves a bucket load of money! My girlfriend took possession of a Model 3 Tesla on Thursday (she has even let me drive it, twice). Our first long trip (410km to my brother’s cottage) used 55kwh of electricity. Or $3.58 to fill up. But wait! We charged 38 of those kw on a local free charger (thanks Perth). And 7kw at my brother’s cottage (he paid roughly 45 cents for that power, thanks bro). And the rest we put in at night at our house (10kw at 6.5 cents) thus, 65 cents to take our trip.

And the trip was easy. The car speeds up and slows down automatically in traffic. Nice. Keeps me in the lane when I rubber neck too much. And generally was a peaceful and easy drive.

Have you used an electric lawnmower? My old 24v electric mower with battery is more powerful than my 5hp Briggs and Stratton smoke spewer. My electric whipper snipper: no gas, no oil, no pulling, pulling, pulling to start. And it works just the same as my 4-stroke model. Heck, you’re whipping grass and weeds.

The chainsaw. Well, its so quiet. That’s nice. I don’t know if I’d want one for all-day use. Not yet, anyway. But, for small jobs around the farm – pick it up. Take it to the offending tree. Press the button. Cut. You’re done. Maintenance is down to sharpening the chain. That is so sweet.

What about home heat and cool you say?

We put a heat pump mini split (lotta words there) in our art studio. It cost $2,500, including installation. Now we have a heated and cooled garage/art studio. And, hooked up to solar, heating and cooling for free. Yup. Free.

In place for almost two years, it’s heated the studio to 21.5 degrees, while, outside, it was down to minus 30. And it is strange to get used to the studio being cool enough to use in the summer. The studio is now more comfortable than the house. So, we’re looking at a whole house unit that will also heat our domestic hot water. We have some radiant floors so it’s a bit tricky. Can’t wait for more folks to adopt the heat pump tech and make for more choices. I digress. You can see not creating CO2 isn’t hard. And you save a bucket load of cash.

What about capturing or storing CO2?

Well, let your trees grow! And for those of you who have bigger properties, you too can waste thousands of hours online researching “carbon sequestration.” I know I have. And so has Mark and Bob and … quite a few of us are having fun with this. Mark is growing switch grass. Bob is looking at carbon char. Me, I’m content to read and watch my trees grow.

Well, you thought fixing the planet was going to be hard. Sorry if I disappointed you. By the way, some of you will remember that SO2 (acid rain) problem we had in the 70s. I just want to update you on how well our cleanup has gone. As of 2018, 98% of all the damaged lakes show improvement. Just over half are completely healed! And that is after just 50 years of our society taking action.

We can clean up CO2 too. Join the clean revolution! Save a bucket load of cash!

Next week, I’ll talk about using solar. Hint: it’s not super easy, thanks to government regulation, but the technology is there, and boy, to go from being a renter of energy to a producer of energy while saving big bucks at the same time. Huzzah!

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