National Geographic : 1981 Feb 28
federal regulations require utilities to pur chase electricity from anyone who wants to produce it. Moreover, the utilities must pay a price roughly equal to the costs they avoid by not having to generate that same electric ity themselves. Cogeneration produces vigorous pio neers, especially in New York City with its extremely high electricity rates. On the day that the 1,000 families who live in the Big Six Towers in Queens declared their energy independence from Con Ed, workers dug up the utility's electric cables and severed them. Later the first of the five cogeneration machines that Big Six had installed started up. The lights went back on and cheers echoed between the towers. Cogeneration will save the cooperative apartment complex $300,000 a year, said Big Six manager Richard Stone. Big Six could also generate an extra 22 million kilowatt-hours it wants to sell to Con Ed. transportation,mainly by takingvacations clos er to home and organizingtheirdrivingto make fewer trips. Forty-onepercentwalk more, 20 per cent bike more, and 16 percent have recently joined carpools. Eleven percentusepublic trans portationmore frequently. How do higherprices affect theirgasoline con sumption?While 42 percentsay thatdollar-and NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC ENERGY STUDY servesimplyas guidesfortallyingyouranswers. (Pleasecheckonespace.) a. - A crisis b.- Serious c.__Not veryserious d._ Not atall serious e._ Don'tknowhowseriousyet f. - Noopinion (7) Comparedtothe lastyear, haveyoutriedto onserveenergyinany ofthe following ways?(Circleyourresponsetoeach.) a. Usingles heatingin winter Y N X (8) b. Usinglesscoolingin summer Y N X (9) c. Usinglessorcoolerhotwater Y N X (10) d.Turningofflights Y N X (11) e. Reducingtransportation ot Y N X (12) f. Other Y N X (13) (Pleasespecify.) 3 SinceJanuary 11978,hasyourprimaryresidencebeenmademoreenergyefficient byinstalling: (Cirle yourresponseto each.) N a. Newinsulation? Y N (14) b.Stormdoors? Y N (15) . Stormwindows? Y N () d.Cauling or weatherstripping? Y N (17) e. A heatpump? Y N (18) f. Solarcollector? Y N (19) g. A wind-powered gnerator? Y N (20) h. Other? Y N (21) (Pleasespecify.) __ a-quarter-a-gallongas has severely curtailed theirdriving,29 percentsay they will not make a major cutback until a gallon costs two dollars. Sixteen percentsaid it has to reachfour dollars and two percent saidfive. More than halfwould ratherwait in line for gasoline than pay higher prices,with retiredpersons indicatingthe great est willingness to wait. More than two-thirds of our members have made their homes more energy efficient. Half have caulked or weather-stripped. Thirty-five percent have added insulation;25 percent have put on storm windows. One percent now boast solarcollectors. So much for what they have done already. Geographicmembers have some strong opinions about what they or the government should be doing in the future. Ninety-one percent feel the United States should be independent of foreign oil and gas by the year 2000, but only 77 percent believe we actually can be energy self-sufficient. A startling92 percentbelieve the government is handling the energy crunch poorly. Nearly three-quarters, nevertheless, want the govern ment more involved in energy. Ninety percent think our habits of consumption have contrib uted to the problem. Nearly as many believe the auto and oil industriesshare the blame. A slim majorityof members wants to limit the number of cars imported. A more substantial majority opposes military action to secure for eign oil if our suppliesare cut off. In that event 62 percentof the members favor gas rationing. Members were given several energy alterna tives and asked which they thoughtwere practi cal, and then which ones were desirable. Conservation was everyone's favorite alterna tive. Eighty-eightpercentthink it is practical;84 percentsaid it is desirable.By contrast,86 per cent feel that using more coal is practical, but only 64 percent think it is desirable. Nuclear power likewise gets a 72 percentpracticalrating versus a 53 percent desirability vote. On the other hand, solar energy ranks with conserva tion in desirability at 85 percent; 76 percent think it is practical.Fewer members think wind is practical-66percent, even though 77 percent would like to have wind generating our future power. National Geographic members clearly vote for "renewable energy sources." Nearly 80 percent of the members feel renewables are a workable solution to our energy needs.