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Workbook 2: Renewable Energy

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Introduction

Renewable energy means cleaner air for your patients and lower greenhouse gas emissions. Renewable energy can mean real profits for your office, and shows your patients that you care about their future.

Renewable energy sources are not generated by burning fossil fuels; they are other forms of power generated from naturally replenished sources which will not be depleted in coming generations. Examples include solar electric power derived from the sun, and hydroelectric power that comes from dams. Other examples include wind power, geothermal power (from geysers and other underground heat sources), tidal power, current power, and biomass (such as burning crops to generate electricity or using crops or agriculture wastes to make vehicle fuel such as ethanol). Using renewable energy means burning fewer fossil fuels and releasing fewer climate-warming greenhouse gasses.

A doctor’s office can install renewable energy systems or can purchase renewable energy credits from local utility companies. An office can teach patients about the benefits of renewable energy and encourage local politicians and utility leaders to increase their investments in renewable power.

Quick Start, Now!  Action Steps for Renewable Efficiency

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Renewable Energy Credits

RECs are an easy way to show your commitment to renewable energy, clean air and community health. This means that you pay to generate renewable energy in another community as a way to offset some of the fossil fuel used to run your office. Your office staff might donate $100 monthly to be matched by the office funds. Many utility companies and developers offer RECs that can be bought monthly or annually. You can read about these RECs at the US Department of Energy website.

 

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Keep Going! More Action Steps for Renewable Energy

 

 

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Buy Renewable Energy

Buy Green Power from your utility company. This means that you ask your utility company to use your monthly payments to buy electricity generated by renewable technology. Renewable “green power” is more expensive in most markets than power generated from burning fossil fuels. More than 850 regulated US utilities and many in other nations offer “green pricing” programs. Your office might pledge to buy exclusively green power or perhaps start with 20 percent. See the US Department of Energy website for a map of communities offering this.

Renewable Energy Credits: RECs are an easy way to show your commitment to renewable energy, clean air and community health. This means that you pay to generate renewable energy in another community as a way to offset some of the fossil fuel used to run your office. Your office staff might donate $100 monthly to be matched by the office funds. Many utility companies and developers offers RECs that can be bought monthly or annually. You can read about this RECs at the US Department of Energy website.
You can buy greenhouse gas credits. This means that you are paying a fee to a company or utility that will invest in renewable energy projects to offset the greenhouse gas emissions that result from fossil fuel use by your doctor office, such as those associated with electricity consumption and automobile use. Developers of renewable energy project sell GHG offsets to consumers or businesses to help finance their projects. You can learn about offsets at the US Department of Energy here.
Create a REC handout for your waiting room explaining the concepts of renewable energy offsets and their environmental benefits. Tell your patients about your office’s commitment to RECs. Your REC vendor may have a brochure that you can use.
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Solar Hot Water

Install a Solar Hot Water System: Solar hot water systems (also called “solar thermal”) typically pay for themselves within 5 years through decreased utility bills, utility company rebates, and tax credits. It works well for doctor’s offices that use hot water in the daytime while the sun shines. After 5 years, your hot water is free! Every unit has a backup heater that uses natural gas or electricity. Contact your local utility for a list of local solar hot water installers.

Solar Hot Water Handout: Create a handout for your waiting room to tell patients about solar hot water heaters. Describe this cost-effective technology, any governmental or utility company rebates available in your community, and the air pollution avoided by using solar hot water. Your utility company or local installer might provide a brochure for you to give to your patients.

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