Green is almost undeniably one of the most marketed colors as it relates to the environment, sustainability, and energy. But what exactly does “green” mean in relation to environmental and energy issues?

More importantly, can a modern product or process really be considered green, and if so, by what benchmark? For example, we know that CFLs use less energy than incandescent lights, but does consuming less energy really make a product greener?

To begin, the word green has ascended to a level much greater than simply a word describing a color, but a term that can imply a variety of definitions, standards, and phrases that are rooted in efficiency, conservation, environmental impact, etc. So let’s break “green” down for a moment. Green can imply any (but not limited to) of the following: High efficiency, conservation, organic, non-toxic, sustainable, renewable, recycled content, recyclable, bio-degradable, natural…

Green is such a multi-faceted word that creating a simple definition would pose no simple task due to the sheer number of situations and contexts the word can have application in. However, English is no stranger to words that have different connotations and that are context specific. You could say, “The wind blew over our trampoline.” or “You need to wind the clock daily for it to operate”. You’re using the same word, but the context changes greatly depending on how you use it.

Right now, I’m wearing a shirt with patches of green, but I don’t see any indication that this shirt is somehow more environmentally friendly than any other typical article of clothing. Alternatively, I could say that I’m wearing a green shirt…because it’s made from organic cotton in a facility powered by
solar energy and was delivered to the department store by a truck that runs on biofuel created using the waste grease of local restaurants.So, green can have a variety of definitions based on how the term fits into a given context.

Getting back to our original questions, we’ll need to explore some current products and ideas that are considered green so we can see just how environmentally conscious they really are,
or are not. To be continued at … www.hickoryenergy.tumblr.com

Views: 72

Tags: efficiency, green

Comment

You need to be a member of Home Energy Pros Forum to add comments!

Join Home Energy Pros Forum

Comment by Nathan Christensen on December 3, 2010 at 9:35am
Hello Elisa, thank you for the comment.

Hybrid power plants, such as the one you write about in your article (assuming I'm connecting the dots correctly) are certainly "more green" than their counterparts. However, as the article states, a lot of what could make the hybrid power plants more environmentally sound is how the materials are applied in a given situation. Using hybrid power plants to extend the life of an aging coal fired power plant would be similar to converting an old gas guzzling vehicle to a plug-in hybrid, just for example. Its a tricky situation. Personally, I'd rather see newer technologies, such as the molten salt solar thermal method, applied to newer more efficient power plants to further increase efficiency, while older less efficient plants are shut down. But, it is difficult to justify shutting down a functional power plant, you just have to take what you can get.

Its not a "best case" situation, but certainly a step in the right direction.
Comment by Elisa Wood on December 3, 2010 at 5:27am
Very good point. The word "green" is certainly used loosely these days. Are, for example, hybrid power plants green? http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2010/10/mixnma...

Latest Activity

Bradford E. White replied to Jerry Needham's discussion HVAC Question about running fan continuously Vs. setting on Auto so it runs when AC or Furnace runs
"Agreed! True, if an open plan. Simple is best. But away spaces seem to be making a come-back. And…"
52 minutes ago
Kurt Shafer replied to Jerry Needham's discussion HVAC Question about running fan continuously Vs. setting on Auto so it runs when AC or Furnace runs
"Jerry, as an energy consultant I imagine you are well versed in solar systems. Have you seen how…"
1 hour ago
Scott Mills replied to Jerry Needham's discussion HVAC Question about running fan continuously Vs. setting on Auto so it runs when AC or Furnace runs
"I have found that ceiling fans are the simplest way to control room stratification "
2 hours ago
Matt Peiris replied to H.O. Electric's discussion Stop Drinking Bottled Water! in the group News & Announcements
"Well water consumers need to test their water every year. Elevated arsenic, nitrate levels or…"
3 hours ago
Kurt Shafer replied to Jerry Needham's discussion HVAC Question about running fan continuously Vs. setting on Auto so it runs when AC or Furnace runs
"Jerry I don't have videos posted yet but I have some nice pictures from customers. See them…"
3 hours ago
Scott Mills is now a member of Home Energy Pros Forum
3 hours ago
Bradford E. White replied to Jerry Needham's discussion HVAC Question about running fan continuously Vs. setting on Auto so it runs when AC or Furnace runs
"Qualified "It Depends" kind of answer. 1. Temperature Perception: There is an intangible…"
3 hours ago
John Carton posted a discussion

Insulation touches underside of roof in home with no soffit or soffit venting.

I performed an assessment for a recent home buyer and the home inspector they hired when they…See More
3 hours ago
Jerry Needham replied to Jerry Needham's discussion HVAC Question about running fan continuously Vs. setting on Auto so it runs when AC or Furnace runs
"Kurt Thanks for the information on the whole house fan and the advise about leaving the fan on all…"
4 hours ago
James White replied to Jerry Needham's discussion HVAC Question about running fan continuously Vs. setting on Auto so it runs when AC or Furnace runs
"There is more than fan energy to be saved by setting fans to run on "auto". Most forced…"
4 hours ago
Kurt Shafer replied to Jerry Needham's discussion HVAC Question about running fan continuously Vs. setting on Auto so it runs when AC or Furnace runs
"Jerry, I am a whole house fan expert but not an HVAC expert. However, I have no idea why any HVAC…"
4 hours ago
Jerry Needham replied to Jerry Needham's discussion HVAC Question about running fan continuously Vs. setting on Auto so it runs when AC or Furnace runs
"Ken This is a great response.  Lots of arguments against leaving the fan on. THANKS"
4 hours ago
Luke Langhals replied to Jerry Needham's discussion HVAC Question about running fan continuously Vs. setting on Auto so it runs when AC or Furnace runs
"If an E/HRV system is installed in unison with the furnace ducting -- you might consider making the…"
4 hours ago
Ken Summers replied to Jerry Needham's discussion HVAC Question about running fan continuously Vs. setting on Auto so it runs when AC or Furnace runs
"At Comfort Institute we get asked this question all the time.  The argument for leaving the…"
4 hours ago
Allison A. Bailes III replied to Jerry Needham's discussion HVAC Question about running fan continuously Vs. setting on Auto so it runs when AC or Furnace runs
"Jerry, as Chris Heenan said below, running the fan continuously will raise the indoor humidity in…"
4 hours ago
Chris Heenan replied to Jerry Needham's discussion HVAC Question about running fan continuously Vs. setting on Auto so it runs when AC or Furnace runs
"In regions with _high_ humidity, running the fan continuously will be put moisture that the…"
4 hours ago
Barbara Smith replied to Jerry Needham's discussion HVAC Question about running fan continuously Vs. setting on Auto so it runs when AC or Furnace runs
"Eliminating continuous furnace fan operation is #3 on list of top ways to cut energy use, in this…"
4 hours ago
tedkidd replied to Jerry Needham's discussion HVAC Question about running fan continuously Vs. setting on Auto so it runs when AC or Furnace runs
"There is no Pat answer. It depends. In a well performing home with proplerly sized equipment and…"
4 hours ago
Barbara Smith replied to Jerry Needham's discussion HVAC Question about running fan continuously Vs. setting on Auto so it runs when AC or Furnace runs
"Many of our Wisconsin residents do not yet have the ECM (electrically commutated motors) though…"
4 hours ago
Diane Chojnowski posted a video

Passive House Explained in 90 Seconds

I'm a Passive House enthusiast. I'm involved in this great movement to create highly energy efficient buildings that use 80 to 90% less energy. But how? Peop...
5 hours ago

Photos

  • Add Photos
  • View All

© 2018   Created by Home Performance Coalition (HPC)   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service