Too many green labels equal confusion for consumers

There are hundreds of "green" labels out there, providing plenty of confusion for consumers

There are hundreds of “green” labels out there, providing plenty of confusion for consumers

While participating in the recent Sustainable Foods Summit in San Francisco, I browsed the trade show outside the event. One of the first booths I encountered was for Control Union Certification, which is an independent inspection and certification body. In my conversation with their representative, I came across a startling fact.

There are literally hundreds of certification programs out there. It’s a veritable morass of information that is impossible for consumers – and even somewhat educated journalists – to keep up with, much less to understand!

Continue reading

Moving beyond the Reusable Bag and bottle to live Green

The following guest blog is from Ms. Shane Shirley-Smith of EnvironemtnalBooty.com

Okay so you are on board with living a greener lifestyle right? You have your reusable bags and, when you remember, you actually use them. You even picked up a trendy stainless steel reusable water bottle and you’re filling it up before you leave the house and using that too. You are even starting to feel like your efforts to go green are actually saving money on silly bottled water. You’re really catching on to that whole “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle” thing and it’s actually becoming less of a cliché and more of a personal goal. Feels good to go green doesn’t it?

Well don’t get too comfortable with your new found Eco-status…there is more we can all do to move beyond the reusable bag and bottle and really live green.

Continue reading

Apples to Apples: Solar and Wind less costly than Coal and Oil

The following is a guest blog by Tom Rooney of SPGsolar. 

CoalEveryone knows solar and wind power are more expensive than oil and coal.

Everyone except the National Academy of Sciences.

So they put it to the test: They found coal and oil and natural gas are artificially cheap because they impose health and financial and environmental costs that all of us pay for — above and beyond the price. Whether we know it or not.

Whether we like it or not.

Sounds kind of like a subsidy, doesn’t it? It’s exactly like a subsidy.

Apples to apples? Solar and wind are often less expensive than coal and oil.

The Academy estimates that coal and oil drain $130 billion in hidden costs out of our economy. Coal is subsidized to the tune of 3 to 13 cents per kilowatt hour of energy – about 25 to 100 percent of what you pay for power.

The report comes just in time — right after the biggest energy disaster in this country’s history.

And right before a campaign to reduce support for alternative energy which some say requires subsidies and is more expensive than fossil fuels.

Coal and oilPeople like Republican functionary Christopher Horner, whose new book proclaims that renewable energy will “bankrupt” this country and is a “declaration of war against America’s most reliable sources of energy—coal, oil, and natural gas.”

Or the usually reliable Wall Street Journal editorial writer Stephen Moore, who says renewable energy such as wind and solar is a plot between Big Government and Big Labor.

Before I became a card carrying member of this conspiracy and the CEO of a solar energy company, I studied for an MBA at the University of Chicago. There I was lucky enough, on many occasions, to meet the inspiration for many solar skeptics – America’s greatest economist Milton Friedman.

More than just a libertarian icon, Friedman just wanted to know what things cost. Not their price, their cost.

You do not need a Nobel Prize to see the freshman mistake of those who say wind and solar are too expensive to compete with coal and oil: They confuse price with cost.

But still we hear that coal and oil and natural gas are cheaper. Which is like the guy who throws garbage over his neighbor’s fence, then brags about free trash disposal. But really, someone else is paying for it.

The Academy said it was too complicated to estimate the largest hidden cost of energy — the price we pay in sending our best and bravest into harm’s way to guarantee our supply of foreign oil.

You want to put a price tag on that? Go ahead. Just make sure the number starts with a T. And if you throw your garbage over the fence, count that too.

—- Tom Rooney is the CEO of SPG Solar (SPGsolar.com).

Solar's too complicated and expensive? I think not, Mr. O'Reilly

 
The following is a guest post by Mr. Tom Rooney of SPG Solar. It’s also a follow-up to a story I did recently on a soon-to-be implemented solar program in Irvine, California.
 
Last night (Wed.) on the O’Reilly Factor, Bill said solar power was too expensive and too complicated for him.

His unusual comments came just hours after a school district in Orange County voted to build a solar power system at no cost to the district — and which will save the district $17 million over the life of the project.

 

FarNiente Winery's Floatovoltaics by SPG

FarNiente Winery's "Floatovoltaics" by SPG Solar

My company, SPG Solar, is building that system — and there is nothing complicated or expensive about it.

 

You want complicated? Go to one of our solar installations in Napa Valley where we built a solar energy array on top of a pond of water — the panels actually float.

You want complicated?  How about building an acre of solar panels in one of the most desolate places on earth: A hotel in the middle of Death Valley.

We did those, and more, including movie theatres, farms, and yes, plain old office buildings.

The owners do not operate these systems any more than they operate their oil or gas or electric heat.

Between the tax credits and rebates, and the cost cutting in the price of installing and buying solar panels, solar energy is a simple decision that thousands of people are making every day.

 

Guest blogger Tom Rooney

Guest blogger Tom Rooney

Nothing expensive or complicated about it. Just good business (and) sound economics.

—-  Tom Rooney
          President and CEO
          SPG Solar
         Novato, California
         415 883-7657
 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 459 other followers