Here you will find answers to common questions surrounding energy and the environment in North Carolina. Don’t see your question? Please email or call us with your question and we’ll be happy to provide an answer and list it on this website for others to see!
Does energy production and usage have a toll on the environment? Unfortunately, most common types of energy production in North Carolina that include coal and natural gas do have a negative impact on the environment. Energy efficiency was recently touted as the “most cost effective manner to reduce carbon emissions” in the U.S. due to the opportunity to “lessen the load” of what energy and resources we are currently using in order to reduce our environmental impact.
Clean and renewable energy, such as solar and wind, also have some negative impact on the environment, though not nearly as detrimental as traditional sources such as coal and natural gas. Click here for more information on this topic.
Since the vast majority of our electric generation comes from burning fossil fuels, every time you buy a home appliance, have maintenance done on an HVAC system, or replace a burned-out light bulb, you’re making a decision that affects the environment. The energy conserved by energy-efficiency actions has a direct relationship to environmental health.
- Carbon dioxide (CO₂) is the number one contributor to climate change and is probably the most discussed, but is only one of the environmentally harmful gases resulting from energy use. Others, such as sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxide, carbon monoxide, and ozone, have much more direct effects — effects that can be seen and smelled in major urban areas of the US.
- Coal accounts for 45% of the nation’s electricity generation — but 81% of the CO₂ emissions and 94% of the emissions of sulfur dioxide.
- Natural gas accounts for 27% of the nation’s electricity generation – the fossil fuel can be found in deep underground rock where decomposed plants and animal matter reside.
- Extracting fossil fuels like coal and oil from underground disturbs and contaminates underground water supplies. This contamination pollutes the water and can render it unsuitable for human or animal consumption.
- The potential for oil spills is a well-known hazard of our dependence on fossil fuels. By reducing the amount of energy we consume we are also reducing the amount of oil that must be transported around the world.
Interested in reducing the carbon footprint of your home or business? Click here to learn more about NC GreenPower, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit whose mission is to improve the quality of the environment in North Carolina through a statewide program that connects consumers with green energy and carbon offset providers.