Here in North America, we are just over 5% of the world's population consuming 25% of its energy. North Americans also use almost twice the electricity that the average European does. Overall, on the global scale of consumption, we use an extravagant amount of energy and tend to take it for granted. It's time to reduce our dependence on non-renewable sources of energy (oil, as well as coal and natural gas) that are not only main contributors to global warming and pollution but may not be readily available for much longer.
At Little City Farm we have been powering our home with 100% green energy from Bullfrog Power (a Canadian renewable energy provider) for more than a decade. In Ontario, Bullfrog uses a mix of 20% wind power, and 80% certified low-impact hydro, whereas the regular system mix uses only 1% wind, 2 % low-impact hydro, and 39% nuclear, 37% coal, oil, and gas, and 21% other hydro.
As time and money permits, we have plans to add solar panels to our south-facing barn roof. For us, energy conservation also means choosing to live in a small house with a small super-insulated strawbale house addition made of natural local materials. This gains passive solar heat in winter and shade cooling from large trees near the house in summer, and reduces our need for energy intensive heating or cooling. We have also retrofitted our century home to add more insulation, energy efficient windows and doors, and weather-stripping for winter months. Having a home energy audit done by REEP (Residential Energy Efficiency Project) gave us more ideas on where to improve our home's energy consumption. We have limited basic appliances and electronics, opting for energy-efficient and hand-powered tools whenever possible, and an outdoor clothesline instead of a dryer.
In general, we strive for a simple life, which means buying used rather than new, making things by hand, and re-evaluating what our "needs" really are. We aim to find ways to reduce, reuse, reinvent, recycle, refurbish, restore, revive, reinspire.
Little City Farm 508 Duke St W, Kitchener, ON N2H 3Y8 Tel: 519-575-9174 info (at) littlecityfarm.ca