Wednesday, August 27, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Rock doc: A tale of two stoves

By
May 31, 2014 |

My elderly aunt recently came into some money. She decided — very generously — to send part of it to each of her nieces and nephews. This gave me the task of choosing how I wanted to spend an unexpected $1,000. I decided to buy a new range for my kitchen. I wouldn’t otherwise buy a new appliance, and by spending the money on a range I will be able to remember my aunt and bless her name each night as I cook supper.

My old range was electric. The oven was slow and the burners were constantly problematic. I replaced all the burners but still had to suffer with unpredictable and inconsistent heating. I grew up with a natural gas cook stove, so decided to buy one for my house. I like gas because you can see when it’s on, because it cuts off instantly, and because I think of natural gas as a pretty clean fuel we can get from domestic sources.
No sooner had I made up my mind about what to do with the unexpected money than my brother Nils explained he plans to change from a gas range to an electric one. (Leave it to siblings to always disagree?)
Nils is truly concerned about our production of greenhouse gases. He wants to eliminate his household’s carbon pollution and he’s willing to do some real work to meet that goal.
One step for my brother is to switch his appliances from natural gas to electricity. His idea is that if he uses natural gas to cook supper, he’s making carbon dioxide that adds to what’s building up in the atmosphere. If he uses electricity to do those same tasks, he can — at least in principle — avoid the production of greenhouse gases.
I like to say to my brother that not all his power can come from carbon-neutral sources like windmills or solar panels. After all, he uses electricity when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining. In short, we all need what the utility people call “base load power.” Across the country, that kind of power comes from several different things, but part of it is from natural gas power plants. From my perspective, we all of us are “sinners” when it comes to greenhouse gas production, including people who only own electric appliances.
Nils counters that our need for base load power is not a rationale to continue business as usual, it’s just another challenge to be met by conservation or energy storage. In the meanwhile, he is working hard to construct a building that will be the size of a small house and used as a commercial kitchen. The building is super-insulated and has a solar air heater, a solar water preheater and LED lighting. The heat is electric,  but because of the clever designs, very few kilowatt-hours are needed to keep the place warm.
While we disagree about some things, I really applaud my brother’s building efforts. Not many of us put our money where we say our values are.
Dr. E. Kirsten Peters, a native of the rural Northwest, was trained as a geologist at Princeton and Harvard. This column is a service of the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences at Washington State University.

Comments

Subscription Required

Thank you for reading the MtDemocrat.com digital edition. In order to continue reading this story please choose one of the following options.

Current Subscribers
If you are a current subscriber and wish to obtain access to MtDemocrat.com, please select the Subscriber Verification option below. If you already have a login, please select "Login" at the lower right corner of this box.

Subscriber Verification

Special Introductory Offer
For a short time we will be offering a discount to those who call us in order to obtain access to MtDemocrat.com and start your print subscription. Our customer support team will be standing by Monday through Friday, 8am to 5pm to assist you.

Call and Save! (530) 344-5000

If you are not a current subscriber and wish not to take advantage of our special introductory offer, please select the $12 monthly option below to obtain access to MtDemocrat.com and start your online subscription

Help?

E. Kirsten Peters

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • .

    News

    Nutting petitions state Supreme Court

    By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1

     
    Car show Thursday: Classics cruise to Main Street

    By Pat Lakey | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Two fires in EDH

    By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Ft. Jim area: Fire causes heavy damage

    By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Program aimed at preserving life

    By Rebecca Murphy | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Off-duty CHP officer severely injured

    By Cole Mayer | From Page: A3

    GDPUD adopts new budget

    By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A9

     
    Tahoe trained for mass casualties

    By News Release | From Page: A9

    .

    Opinion

    My turn: Conservatism vs. the GOP: Setting the record straight

    By Special to the Democrat | From Page: A4

     
    My turn: How Obamacare will kill job-based plans

    By Sally Pipes | From Page: A4

    Success turns golden

    By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Letters

    Chris Amaral for District 2

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

     
    Charlie Black’s response to Chris Daley

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

    Peace officers

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

     
    Amending the county’s General Plan

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

    George Turnboo for District 2

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

     
    Support Shiva Frentzen

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

    .

    Sports

    Grizzly roster

    By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6

     
    Fox inducted into SJS Hall of Fame

    By Mike Bush | From Page: A6

    New coach inherits winning tradition

    By Mike Bush | From Page: A6

     
    Lady Bruins ready for fall season

    By Mike Bush | From Page: A7

    .

    Prospecting

    Grow for it: Time to divide Irises

    By Master Gardner | From Page: B2

     
    Grow For It!: Time to divide iris

    By Sue McDavid | From Page: B3

     
    Washabaugh 50th anniversary

    By Michael Raffety | From Page: B3

    60th anniversary for Don and Joan Gubbins

    By Special to features | From Page: B3

     
    70th anniversary for Ed and Gladys Weaver

    By Special to features | From Page: B3 | Gallery

    .

    Essentials

    Weather stats 8-26-14

    By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2

     
    Building permits 8/18-22/2014

    By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2

    Crime Log: Aug. 10-12

    By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2

     
    Crime Log: Aug. 7-9

    By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2

    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Real Estate

    .

    Comics

    TV Listings

    By Contributor | From Page: A8

     
    Shoe

    By Contributor | From Page: A8

    Sudoku

    By Contributor | From Page: A8

     
    Rubes

    By Contributor | From Page: A8

    New York Times Crossword

    By Contributor | From Page: A8

     
    Long Story Short

    By Contributor | From Page: A8

    Flying McCoys

    By Contributor | From Page: A8

     
    Speed Bump

    By Contributor | From Page: A8

    Tundra

    By Contributor | From Page: A8

     
    Horoscope, Thursday, August 28, 2014

    By Contributor | From Page: A8

    Horoscope, Wednesday, August 27, 2014

    By Contributor | From Page: A8