How to Stay Cool on a Warming Planet

Homes and offices

A Special Announcement

How to Stay Cool on a Warming Planet

May 17, 2021

If you’re wondering how to stay cool as climate change makes the planet warmer, we have some suggestions

How to Stay Cool on a Warming Planet

 

If you’re wondering how to stay cool as climate change makes the planet warmer, we have some suggestions. The frequency of heat waves has tripled since the 1960s. The energy used for air conditioning is projected to grow faster than any other end use in homes and offices to address the extreme heat of global warming. Susan Clark, a heat expert and director of the Sustainability Initiative at the University of Buffalo, says, “The increased intensity and frequency of temperature and heat waves are part of the projections for the future.”

 

What’s a person to do when you’d like to stay cool without doing environmental harm?  As it turns out, we can do a lot, as the tips below suggest. While you’re considering what works best for you — whether it’s signing up for a shared community solar program or studying up on window ventilation techniques — it’s good to know the challenging work of developing clean air conditioning technology is underway in some places.

 

Whether or not you have air conditioning there are a variety of ways to stay cool at home. For those interested in extra measures, there are ways to reduce the environmental and electric cost of air conditioning too.

 

Cool House Tips for Homeowners 

 

●      Some climbing vines can dramatically reduce the maximum temperatures of a house by shading walls from the sun, reducing the daily temperature fluctuation by as much as 50%. Choose carefully because some vines erode your outer wall (e.g. the mortar between bricks).

●      Awnings and  shutters can be sophisticated and flexible; you have the choice whether to let the sun in or not while allowing ventilation.

●      It’s easy and enjoyable to grill hot meals outside – which is a good thing. Outdoor cooking keeps the stove and oven from heating up your house while the A/C is trying to cool it.

●      Attic fans and whole house fans can help reduce cooling loads. Ceiling fans operate at a fraction of the cost of air conditioning. But they only keep you cool rather than cool the room.

●      Natural ventilation can capture and create a breeze throughout the house. Here’s a smart technique if you have double hung windows: open the bottom section of the upwind side of the house and the upper section of the downwind side, creating natural currents moving air through your house.

●      If you can, take advantage of cooler nighttime temperatures. That’s the best time to open as many windows as you can as soon as the temperature starts dropping.

●      But when the temperature outside starts to rise, close your windows, and lower your blinds. Close curtains too if you have them. Your home might become dark inside, but it should stay cooler, especially if it’s well insulated. Blocking the sun’s rays means your home is absorbing less heat.

 

Make it easier for your A/C to do its job.

 

The harder your air conditioner works to cool things, the greater the environmental and electric use impact.

 

●      Any room will cool down by turning off and unplugging electronics like the television, computers, and game consoles, as well as turning off lamps and ceiling lights. When electronics are plugged in, they release heat that warms up a room.

●      Incandescent lights also give off a lot of heat. What’s more, they use more energy. LEDs solve both those problems.

●       A programmable thermostat can shave up to 15% off your cooling bill. Preset controls that turn off the A/C or adjust the temperature so you don’t have to remember to do it takes our forgetfulness out of the equation.

●      It’s also beneficial to set the A/C at a higher temperature at night when you’re sleeping.

●      Did you know that older window A/C units use a lot more energy than newer models? That leads to higher electric bills. If you’re upgrading or adding A/C, check out these energy efficiency rebates for cooling in IL, NY, MA, ME, and other states.

●      Set reminders to change your A/C filters – those dirty filters cause the A/C to work overtime, costing you money.

 

Support clean local solar power.

 

●      If your air conditioning and fans are on for the season, with the benefits of  subscribing to a shared Community Solar farm, you join the growing number of people who want their electricity to come from clean solar energy. Supporting community solar spurs the growth of solar gardens that your utility draws clean energy from into your grid. You’ll feel great about displacing those fossil fuels at the source!

 

Subscribing to solar share programs is a long-lasting solution without upfront

 

investments in time and money. Ampion offers many opportunities to participate in shared solar programs.

 

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Have comments or questions? We’d love to hear from you. 

How Community Solar Can Help Social & Environmental Justice

environmental justice ampion
Homes and offices

A Special Announcement

How Community Solar Can Help Social & Environmental Justice

May 10, 2021

Community Solar is considered a particularly important strategy for allowing low-income households to participate in the financial and environmental benefits of renewable energy

How Community Solar Can Help Social & Environmental Justice

Every day it seems, we are learning more about the power imbalances in communities that experience racial, economic, and environmental inequities. The idea of climate justice asks us to consider how to create more opportunities for all communities to take part in the clean energy revolution. This is especially important when you consider that some communities are disproportionately impacted by climate change and pollution because of living closer to refineries, rail yards, ports, transit corridors, dirty industries, and other sites that produce pollution from the use of fossil fuels. It’s difficult for anyone to know how to respond to the impact of climate change and what, if anything, they can do to support clean energy. Under-resourced communities especially need easier access to participate in renewable energy, but not everyone can go solar. Community Solar is considered a particularly important strategy for allowing low-income households to participate in the financial and environmental benefits of renewable energy.

Today, many households and businesses lack access to solar energy because they rent, live in multi-tenant buildings, have roofs that can’t host solar panels or face financial obstacles. Fortunately, if you want access to clean energy, it’s completely unnecessary to invest thousands of dollars to install rooftop solar. Why? Because community shared solar is easy to access, no matter who you are. Community Solar farms benefits all neighborhoods because it creates value and equity in the way it shares the benefits of solar electricity. 

Community Solar dramatically expands access to solar energy 

  • About three-quarters of households are effectively excluded from rooftop solar because they’re renters (one-third of households), because they live in multi-family dwellings and don’t own their roofs, because their roofs are shaded or face the wrong way, or because they don’t have the savings or credit rating for an initial investment of thousands of dollars.
  • Community Solar gardens help bridge the gap between those who can and those who can’t invest in rooftop solar panels.

The more Community Solar is allowed, the more people who can benefit from it. 

  • Everyone has a right to a clean and healthy environment.
  • Increasingly, shared solar programs are helping low or moderate income households save money without any upfront investments.

Community Solar reduces all the emissions from fossil fuels.

  • Solar share programs get at the heart of the problem of carbon dioxide emissions. This is because solar electricity reduces CO2 emissions by displacing fossil fuel electricity and reduces our carbon footprint. 
  • Displacing fossil fuels with solar electricity also reduces air pollutants such as the SOx, NOx and particulate matter that cause asthma, cancer, and heart disease.

Climate change and pollution threatens all of us, but especially people in social and environmental justice communities.

  • Climate change disproportionately affects those who experience socioeconomic inequalities.
  • Providing access to solar electricity that reduces CO2 emissions supports climate justice. Climate change produces heat waves that are especially dangerous to people without air conditioning. The flooding it causes are most threatening to homes in low-lying areas and floodplains. 

The rapid development of Community Solar helps communities that have the most to gain from a cleaner, healthier environment. It’s time to expand the conversation around climate justice to ensure that all people, regardless of race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic background are guaranteed protection from the worst effects of climate change by supporting local community solar farms. You vote with your dollars when choosing solar electricity. 

Ampion is an advocate of social and environmental justice and works with the hope that someday, everyone will have easy access to the local clean energy that Community Solar offers.

 

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Have comments or questions? We’d love to hear from you. 

The Importance of Public Benefit Corporations, Stakeholder Capitalism, & Corporate Responsibility

Homes and offices

A Special Announcement

The Importance of Public Benefit Corporations, Stakeholder Capitalism, & Corporate Responsibility

May 5, 2021

Ampion’s CEO Nate Owen says, “Our success is defined by how well we serve the greater good, not just the profits we earn.”

Doing Well By Doing Good

When we reflect on the past year of a pandemic, social unrest, and climate change, we are reminded how society’s values are changing. During a year when we lived with more restraint than normal, support for the environment and social equality continued without wavering. What’s more, our expectations for businesses to do good expanded as we learned more about how traditional corporate governance does not cover all the responsibilities that businesses have. The nation is facing a reappraisal of the role and purpose of business in our lives. American society protects its common values through laws and governance. But the governance of for-profit corporations normally require little more than a responsibility to shareholder profits. Wouldn’t it be nice if American businesses reflected values that go beyond profits to encompass the values we see so much public advocacy for today? 

Public Benefit Corporations

It’s true that many companies voluntarily step up to the call for more inclusive and participatory governance, protection of the environment, and contributions to the well-being of stakeholders in the communities they serve, etc., but for us consumers it can be hard to tell whether their proclamations are a true corporate culture shift or if it’s mostly greenwashing. Then there are companies who take their role in society seriously. These companies take legal steps to become benefit corporations. For-profit benefit corporations have been around since 2010. The incorporation documents of benefit corporations require them to act both in the interest of shareholders and to consider their mission such as the environment and social justice. 

This is important because these are some of the first recognitions of the environment, the community, and employees as stakeholders in a business. Today, at least 37 states have public benefit corporation statutes. There is no federal law for shifting the culture of business yet, but states often take the lead in a culture shift. According to the American Bar Association more than 3,600 public benefit corporations have been formed. Major brand names like Kickstarter, Patagonia, Etsy, Unilever, Danone North America, King Arthur’s Flour, and Campbell Soup are all public benefit corporations. Ampion became a benefit corporation in 2020 to support a purpose-driven economy that considers the impact on all stakeholders — communities, workers, customers, the environment, as well as shareholders. Ampion’s CEO Nate Owen says, “Our success is defined by how well we serve the greater good, not just the profits we earn.” Ampion’s commitment to do well by doing good is official and legally binding. In a society where socially responsible companies create a sustainable economy that works better for all, the values of all stakeholders are represented. This is called stakeholder capitalism. 

Stakeholder Capitalism Trends

Trends show that stakeholder capitalism is firmly in place today. 

  • Almost 25 years of data demonstrate a consistent increase in consumers’ willingness to purchase products with a social benefit. 
  • The most consistent example over the years is the steady rise in the number of consumers who expect companies to do more than make a profit. Today, that number is 9 out of 10
  • This year, the number of the world’s largest companies committing to net-zero emissions targets – meaning they will eliminate as much of the greenhouse gases as they produce – tripled to 1,500 from the start of the year. 
  • These 1,500 companies represent $11.4 trillion in revenue, with over $2 trillion of that revenue coming from companies that depend on discretionary consumer spending. 

Ampion & Corporate Social Responsibility

Stephen Hahn-Griffiths, chief reputation officer of the Reputation Institute, a reputation measurement and management services firm, said “Corporate responsibility is no longer optional—it is critical for any business.” The fact is, that businesses who use purpose to create deeper connections with consumers, do more for the communities with which they work, and attract and retain talent are the companies that achieve both greater results and greater impact, according to Deloitte Insights research. If current trends continue, benefit corporations may well become so numerous that they will have significant power to help solve social and environmental problems. 

 

Ampion’s purpose is to help thousands of people just like you access clean, renewable energy by connecting you with a local Community Solar farm. Check out locally supplied solar electricity in your area today.

 

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