- Parent Category: Advanced News Lessons
- Category: Environment Lesons
- Written by Chris Cotter
David Mears and his wife Dorothy haven't paid a heating bill in 25 years--not one dollar, not even one cent! Here's why: They haven't received a bill in 25 years. It's not a mistake on the part of the heating companies, nor a stroke of luck. Mears just put his knowledge of alternative energy sources to good use.
After the energy crisis in the 1970s, Mears, who is a professor of Bioresource Engineering at Rutgers University, installed a system that would virtually eliminate the use of fossil fuel to heat his New Jersey home. He installed a special space beneath his floor filled with water, then put in solar collectors to heat the water. On cloudy days, he could use a woodstove which he outfitted with a water-heating coil and made the system more efficient in extracting heat. In other words, less wood was consumed. As a last resort, a fossil fuel system remained in place to heat his home, which he never used.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, more than 85% of all energy consumed in the U.S. comes from fossil fuels. This means coal, oil, and natural gas. In addition, 2,700 pounds of carbon per year per person, or 18% of greenhouse gas emissions, comes from operating individual homes. Most of the emissions come from a typical heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system.
Mears has been able to maintain his home at 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 C) or above for 25 years. It demonstrates that his energy sustainable residence is not outlandish. Nor is it an inaccessible idea, because the technology is available for everyone. Green living is a real possibility.
Preview some of the lesson material:
Warm Up: Do you agree or disagree? Why?
- Solar energy, wind power, and other "friendly" energy sources aren't practical.
- Global warming is a myth!
- Money is more important than the environment.
- Global warming isn't my problem. Any damage that might happen won't be experienced for hundreds of years.
- All countries should ban fossil fuels within the next 10 years!
Fragments: Remember how the fragments were used, and complete the sentence from today's article.
- It's not a mistake on...
- He installed a special space beneath...
- According to the U.S. Department of Energy...
- Most of the emissions come...
- It demonstrates that...
post-Comprehension: Talk about the following questions in pairs/groups. Remember to support your answers!
- How much is your monthly heating/cooling bill? What do you do (could you do) to reduce it?
- If your local government compensation to homes using solar power, would you install solar panels? Why/not?
- What can we do about greenhouse gases and global warming?
- Is green living a practical way of life for everyone? Why/not?
- How do you predict the environment will affect our lives in 25 years? in 50 years? in 100 years?
Google Search: Type "green living" into Google. Look at the websites, and/or read additional articles on this topic. Discuss or write an essay about your findings.