Getting and keeping energy bills under control is all about attitude. We all need to start thinking in terms of how we can live “off the grid”, or how we would manage our household if it all depended on us and us alone. Mega-energy projects, whether they involve dams creating hydro-electric energy, coal fired generator plants, or nuclear energy facilities, are expensive both to create and to maintain. Some of these provided much needed work during the Depression era when electrical energy was being introduced and strung around the world, but the times have changed.
Decentralization of utilities is ultimately the most effective way to ensure a continuity of energy, and perhaps a more environmentally friendly way of dealing with energy needs. Conservation through a change in everyday habits is a good place to start, but a more fundamental shift may also be required. Nobody likes to feel inhibited or guilty about overuse of valuable energy resources, so the best way to overcome this is to devise ways to guarantee plenty of energy for everyone.
Thinking “off the grid” involves two things. It involves maximizing the efficiencies of households to minimize energy needs, and it involves introducing new sources of energy to come as close as possible to eliminating the need for energy coming form the grid. There are companies already producing products to aid in this, and more are coming into existence each day. Products such as passive and electro-voltaic solar panels, geothermal heating systems, and high-efficiency windmills for residential use are but some examples of this.
To think that we can become totally self-reliant for our energy needs may not be realistic or even desirable, but making it a partial goal will go a long way to curbing the need to produce more behemoths dedicated to the creation of energy. After all, not only are these blights on the landscape, but they also do not provide any assurances against power failures in the future.
Technology is a wonderful thing, but it does not nullify the “keep it simple” principle. The best thing we can do for both ourselves and the environment is to re-learn to live with it. This may require a little creative thinking, but it is well worth it. For instance, rather than installing an air conditioning system, planting a shade tree can be nearly as effective, and comes with the added bonus that it provides shade for the community as well, not to mention enhanced property value. It may take a bit longer to become fully effective, but just imagine the results if a community undertook such a project together!
Often people think in the short-term, but getting energy bills under control must involve long-term solutions and a reorientation of thinking about how we live. This does not have to imply pie-in-the-sky solutions, rather a little more common sense that involves a little research and a willingness to implement some local community projects for the betterment of all.