General Question

pleiades's avatar

What is your country doing in order to shift towards more green energy?

Asked by pleiades (6571points) June 22nd, 2014

Do you happen to be involved with the green energy movement in anyway? If not, do you plan to within the next five years?

What are some minor tweaks people can do right now that can benefit them in a green energy way?

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25 Answers

Coloma's avatar

I just found this info for my state.

I have lived on rural properties for years that are chemical and pesticide free and wildlife havens.
I am going to visit an 8 acre property that I am considering moving to next week here in the hills again. I would be recycling and composting almost everything again after the last 15 months in city hell. haha

Seek's avatar

It’s illegal to disconnect yourself from the corporate power grid in my state. There is no useful form of public transportation. The neighborhoods and laws are designed to maximize automobile use and discourage walking and bicycling.

For a place that supposedly prides itself on its natural beauty and relies on tourism revenue, Florida is terribly anxious to shoot itself in the foot.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

My country seems hellbent on starting wars globally on small scales in an attempt to get the war profiteers to convert from gas/oil vehicles to electro-magnetic kind of vehicles.

It is a terrific plan, is it not?

cazzie's avatar

I live about 20km outside of the city and there is a walking/bike path the entire way. There is also buses at least every hour (even on Sundays) and a train every hour during the week and every other hour on weekends. My weekly bus pass works on the train as well as the bus. Our electricity comes from hydro. We give registration and parking and driving allowances to electric cars.

BUT: Our economy and society is buoyed on the oil extracted from the North Sea. At least they are somewhat responsible with the money earned from it because they know it won’t last forever. Until the oil runs out, Norway will continue to live like the ancient god, Janus.

antimatter's avatar

I can’t say much in South Africa. They are busy building another coal power station.
And they gave Shell the go ahead to start exploring for gas.

JLeslie's avatar

I’m in the US and it varies a lot by state, county, even municipality. There are some federal incentives, like tax breaks, to put in greener energy in homes and offices. There used to be tax breaks for hybrid cars also, but I don’t think they exist anymore. I’m not sure.

Where I live right now in Florida the immediate area has a grey water municipal system. We can tap into it for watering the lawn for instance and the water is cheaper than regular public water. I am moving 20 miles north and won’t have access to it. In my old county in Florida there were laws that superseded HOA rules when it came to energy conservation. Maybe they are state laws? Things like an HOA could not completely prevent solar panels for instance if they felt they looked badly. Saving energy trumps beautification in some instances.

Also, I see more builders here offering as a regular upgrade the tankless water heaters, and many people have them. But, the builders don’t automatically put them in.

When I lived in Tennessee I saw almost no effort for greener in home building, except many communities did recycle.

@Seek It’s illegal to not be on the grid in our state? How can it be? I am not saying I don’t believe you. You mean the electrical grid? Plenty of houses are on well water and septic in our area. I haven’t come across one that is off the electric grid, but I assume there are some in the state.

longgone's avatar

Public transport is exceptionally good. I think it costs about $100 per month/person to get a ticket that will take you around, day or night, in your area. On the weekends, three children or one adult can accompany you for free. You can get pretty much anywhere, using buses and trains which usually leave three times an hour.

I just found out that Germany seems to be producing half of its energy using solar power. That’s good news.

Recycling is pretty ingrained by now, I don’t think many people are opposed to it. Littering laws could be stricter, and on the whole, we could be doing much more. Like finally getting rid of those nuclear plants.

Seek's avatar

@JLeslie Yes, if you are living in your home without electric power, the municipality can condemn your home and kick you out. If you are living in your home with alternative electrical power and not paying into the grid, they can condemn your home and kick you out. If your home is connected to the water and septic system, you must use it, or they will condemn your home and kick you out.

There may be a few that haven’t been caught, or are so rural that no one notices, but on the books it is illegal to run your home on solar power.

longgone's avatar

^ insane.

longgone's avatar

—^ “Unsanitary”? That’s just random. 0.0

JLeslie's avatar

@Seek I have to look that up. It just doesn’t sound right. The homes I was talking about without public water or sewer are in the middle of busy pinellas county. One was a $700,000 house. It was not connected to public water and sewer so it isn’t a matter of not using the connection, so that might be some sort of loophole.

Edit: I just read your link. She is using city sewage and not paying for services. It’s more common for people to have city water and septic, and then the house is not utilizing city servïces for free. The city wants their money for the use. I think that is probably a tricky case regarding whether it is sanitary, or possibly, very possibly the government is being ridiculous in the application of the laws, but I don’t think it is illegal to be off the grid in FL from what I read there. The applications of the laws and possibly the reporting is twisting it a little.

Seek's avatar

Obviously, @JLeslie

Having well water and a private septic system is perfectly acceptable, as long as the municipal system hasn’t come in yet. If the municipality decides to run a pipe down that guy’s street, though, he will have to hook up. It is not optional.

JLeslie's avatar

@Seek I just added an edit above. I don’t know if that is true. Hook up to water and sewer is paid for by the developer/builder/home owner. In my last house I was on septic and we could pay to hook up if we wanted to. The pipe was not actually laid on our side of the street, it was across the street. It was put in when the community across the street was developed. Since is was an extra 20 feet or so away from where it would have been if planned for our street it was pretty pricey to hook up.

From what I have read about half of America is on septic.

I can see how the original capital investment for the sewer plant assumes a certain amount of usage and money coming in, because building the original plant is based on how many houses will be using it, I don’t know how that is calculated.

Seek's avatar


If you buy a house that is connected to the municipally supported corporate sewer system, and choose not to use it, you will be evicted from your home. Period.

The woman decided she would choose not to use the sewer system, instead disposing of her waste in another way. The state decided that was not allowed.

What we have is an instance of the municipality forcing people to buy a private service.

JLeslie's avatar

@Seek I guess if you buy the house that way you know the house is that way. Still horrible that they won’t let you change to septic if you want it. Being unsanitary is cited, so possibly they did not feel she was disposing of waste safely. Although, I am very open to the idea that the government just didn’t like how she was doing it and it actually was sanitary.

I am pretty sure the state allows solar hook up to the grid and then they buy the electricity you overproduce, give a credit.

Seek's avatar

Why should I have to sell my power to a private corporation at whatever rate they choose? If I’m making my own power, I’m under no moral obligation to provide my surplus to some other company, and pay them a service fee besides.

RocketGuy's avatar

@Seek – if you generate and sell at peak time rate, then use their power at evening rate, you will come out ahead. If you store power in the day and use it at night, there is no need to hook in.

I would want solar with storage because in CA, if we have an earthquake, power might go out for days. Solar with no storage will turn itself off during power outages to keep the utilities safe for maintenance. (Makes no sense that they can’t set it to just power your home) Hate to let my meat and milk go bad, while the sun is shining.

JLeslie's avatar

@Seek Is there a fee for being hooked to the electric grid if you don’t use electricity? If you don’t pay they shut you off. I don’t know if sewer has a separate charge, or if it is charged estimated on water usage? I don’t think there is a sewer meter, but probably sewer is covered in property tax a little? I really don’t know, I would have to look it up.

I’m not trying to argue with you, I just don’t necessarily trust the way it was reported. I’d be curious to see the actual law and how it is written, and. Would not lump electricity in with water and sewer.

Seek's avatar

I don’t know what the municipal water bill looks like. I’ve been on well and septic or in a water-included apartment my entire adult life, so I’ve never seen one.

Apparently Hubby recently paid the electric bill, so I don’t have mine lying around. I’m on TECO. They have monthly service charges, maintenance charges, and whatever other charges they’d like to add that month. Then they have the regular power charge, and then a fuel charge. That confuses me, as I assume the power charge is based on how much fuel they had to burn to support my power usage. But maybe I’m naive, and there’s actually a really good reason they charge me twice for the same thing. I don’t know.

I lump electricity in with water and sewer because we’re not allowed to do without those things. I mean, if I lived by a stream and wanted to collect my water from the stream on a daily basis, that wouldn’t be allowed unless I had a well or municipal water hooked up. If the code department found out I had disconnected my power, didn’t have alternate power sources, and was still living in my home, that wouldn’t be allowed.

Give me some time, I’ll find the relevant statutes in Municode, since apparently we don’t have journalists willing to do their homework anymore.

Seek's avatar

Here’s water and wastewater from Florida Statutes.

The requirement for mandatory connection to a public facility is:

To protect the public health, welfare, safety, and environment; to promote water resources conservation;
To eliminate inferior treatment processes; and
To create economies of scale for treatment processes and conveyance operations.
(Ord. No. 00–4, § 2.1, 2–10-2000)
Sec. 102–45. Proposed development.permanent link to this piece of content

Pursuant to Section 102–21, it shall be mandatory for all proposed developments to request public utility services, and for all proposed developments within the urban service area to connect to public utility facilities in accordance with the County’s Comprehensive Plan.

(Ord. No. 00–4, § 2.2, 2–10-2000)
Sec. 102–46. Existing development with private wastewater services.permanent link to this piece of content

It shall be mandatory for all existing developments that are within the urban service area and that are using private wastewater services, having been found to have public wastewater service available and feasible, pursuant to Division 3 of this article, to connect to public wastewater utility facilities.

Seek's avatar

Electrical requirements: You are not allowed to not have electricity.

Sec. 8–115. Structural standards for dwellings.permanent link to this piece of content

Generally. No person shall occupy, let, or sub-let to another for occupancy, any building, dwelling, dwelling unit, structure, or accessory structure, designed or intended to be used for the purpose of living, sleeping or cooking or eating therein which does not comply with the requirements hereinafter set forth, nor shall any vacant dwelling, dwelling unit, building, structure or accessory structure be permitted to exist which does not comply with the applicable following requirements:
General maintenance. Equipment, systems, devices and safeguards required by this article or a previous regulation or code under which the structure or premises was constructed, altered or repaired shall be maintained in good working order.
Required facilities.
Generally. All facilities shall be properly installed and maintained in good working order. Those facilities which are present in the dwelling that are not required by this article shall be repaired or removed at the discretion of the property owner.
Sanitary facilities required. Every dwelling or dwelling unit shall contain, all in good working condition and properly connected to an approved water and sewer system as approved by the Hillsborough County Health Department, not less than:
One kitchen sink with counter work space; and
One lavatory, including one tub or shower and one toilet.
Potable water. Every dwelling, or dwelling unit, shall have connected to the kitchen sink, lavatory, and tub or shower, an adequate supply of potable water in sufficient volume and at pressures adequate to enable the fixtures to function properly and safely.
Water heating facilities. Every dwelling or dwelling unit shall have water heating facilities which are properly installed and maintained in a safe and good working condition and capable of providing an adequate amount of water to be drawn at every required kitchen sink, lavatory basin, bathtub or shower.
Electrical facilities. Every dwelling or dwelling unit shall be provided with any electrical system which shall be connected to a source of power in accordance with the Florida Building Code.
Heating facilities. Every dwelling or dwelling unit shall be equipped with permanent heating equipment which shall be capable of safely and adequately heating all habitable rooms.
Cooking equipment. Every dwelling or dwelling unit shall contain a stove or range and refrigerator, all of adequate size.

JLeslie's avatar

@Seek You didn’t have to do the work, but I appreciate that you did. It mentions urban in your first post, so I don’t know if there is a specific definition for urban vs rural. It does look like they force you to be on public water and sewer in urban areas. Possibly because there is not sufficient land space for septic, I wouldn’t know about digging a well, but I agree that if someone wants to catch rain water for drinking it isn’t going to fly according to what you posted about water and waste water.

Your second post says nothing about having to connect to public, although, if you are Amish you are SOL, because I don’t think they use any electricity, whether it be solar or an electric company.

Seek's avatar

@JLeslie The point about electric is that you do not have the option of living without it. I know you probably can’t imagine living without electric power, but when that statute was passed there were still people in the state who were living quite happily without electricity, with their hand-pumped water well. Those people were kicked out of their homes.

The Amish likely get away with it because religion blah blah, but if I wanted to build myself house on my own property, one that would be perfectly capable of staying cool during the day and keeping me warm for the two weeks of winter we have, and opting not to use electricity, that would not be allowed.

I’m looking for chapter and verse on that, but I have no experience parsing the Florida Building Code or the National Electrical Code (which the FBC apparently just copy/pasted), and it’s hard to find.

JLeslie's avatar

@Seek It’s just stupid to me that Florida requires electricity. I looked again at number 5 and it does seem to say there must be electricity. How can the state insist on that? What if someone wants to have kerosene lamps, a gas stove, and get hot water from solar?

I can completely imagine living without electricity, especially electricity from the grid. Although, I would miss watching TV with my husband.

I want an off the grid house so badly. I’m so envious of Judi’s house. She is off the grid, but she does have all the luxuries of being on the grid.

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