The Boiler Dilemma – What Are The Alternatives to Converting to Gas?

The Boiler Dilemma -Kamen presentation

On March 22nd, EarthKind’s Chairman spoke at a discussion series on Renewable Energy in NYC organized by RenewNEWYork. The City’s new heating oil rules require buildings to stop using heavy oils by 2030, and building owners are tempted to convert to gas, due to its current low price. But what is the true cost of “cheap” gas, when fracking could ruin our air and water, and bring radon-laden shale gas to our stoves? Are conservation, solar thermal and biodiesel realistic alternatives?

Starting off with energy facts, Kamen details the power of renewables: in one second the Sun generates more energy than has been used in all of human civilization, realistically all of that does not reach the Earth, however roughly 23,000TW/year of usable Solar Power does. With the entire world’s energy use of about 16TW/year, Solar is an option that we could and should take advantage of.  Kamen also reminds us that almost 80% of the CO2 emissions in NYC come from buildings and 51% of all NYC building emissions are from heat and hot water usage. This presents a clear opportunity for Solar implementation.

Kamen discusses the Solar Hot Water as well as Solar Air Heating systems, both relatively simple and inexpensive solutions for residential and commercial use. He also discusses Solar Electric PV, which though at this time Solar PV costs a bit more than utility delivered electricity, there are current incentives that help bridge that expense and he predicts that in 10 years Solar will be the cheapest source of electricity in the world.

Other panelists were Chris Benedict, from Architecture and Energy Limited and  Dehran Duckworth from TriState BioDiesel. The Moderator was Dan Miner of Beyond Oil NYC.

This discussion series is sponsored bythe following groups:The Environmental Task
Force of The Congregation of Saint Saviour; The Green Sanctuary Committee of the
Community Church of New York, UU; NYC Friends of Clearwater; Tri-State Food
Not Lawns/Neighborhood Energy Network; NY Climate Action Group; Sane Energy Project; United for Action; and WBAI’s Eco-logic.