Going green by reducing use of energy also saves green

ECONOMIC NAVIGATION AND SIGHTSEEING

April 12, 2009|By JAY HANCOCK | JAY HANCOCK,jay.hancock@baltsun.com

After waffling between "100 percent wind" electricity and a cheaper deal for dirty kilowatts from Washington Gas Energy Services, the Hancock household signed up for the WGES package - 10.8 cents per kilowatt hour for three years.

In doing so we'll save about $30 a month this summer, compared with the standard Baltimore Gas & Electric summertime price (12.7 cents), and lesser amounts in ensuing months. We'll be protected if wholesale electricity prices spike back up before 2012.

In rejecting the wind deal, we took the advice of environmental groups saying your first move to go green should be reducing energy use, not burning energy as usual and switching sources. We'll take the savings from the WGES deal - and then some - and invest in insulation and other upgrades to cut consumption, getting big tax credits.

Wind-energy deals support the generation of wind kilowatts somewhere, not necessarily in Maryland. The only way to ensure that overall carbon emissions go down, says the Environmental Defense Fund, is to cut consumption or buy offsets, which pay somebody else for cutting his/her emissions.

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