Friday, 18 July 2008

Inviting Your Input

Hello friends and members of the Green Party of Nova Scotia,

The three weeks since the leadership convention have been exciting, and very full. We've been working on all levels to build the strength of the party, and moving forward in multiple areas. I'm writing to ask for your input for the direction of our party on a critical issue.
Home Heating

For decades, environmentalists and Green Parties around the world have been warning us that that we must learn to live within the limits of the natural world. We are part of the natural world system, and damage to this system is damage to ourselves. And now, the results of unsustainable practices are beginning to come home to us and our families in drastic ways, right here in Nova Scotia.

Heating our homes with fossil fuel heating oil is an unsustainable practice. Yet this insecure energy source is crucial to many Nova Scotia families, and the situation is rapidly moving from a time of concern into one of emergency, and perhaps even crisis. On international markets last summer, heating oil price was in the range of $2 US per gallon. Since May of this year, it's been in a trading range a little under $4 US per gallon. If this trend continues, many Nova Scotians could be paying twice as much to heat their homes as last winter. How many family budgets can handle that?

I suggest that the Green Party needs a two pronged approach to this issue.

  1. We need to continue to emphasize the necessity of efficient, renewable energy powered homes. This is a clear imperative, and the only long term solution. But unfortunately, it will not do Nova Scotians much good for the next heating season, which may start in September, and will kick into high gear in December or January.

  2. We need to prepare for the fact that if heating oil prices continue at their present level or trend higher, some families will be unable to heat their homes this winter. How can we help these families, should this occur?

This urgent issue demands our attention, and I will be focusing on an energy/heating strategy as the first plank in the GPNS platform. If you would like to suggest a policy or platform approach to this issue, please get in touch or leave a comment on this post.

All the best,


  1. Hi there,
    It would make sense for people to contact energuide, pay $150.00 and have their house, if they own one for heating efficiency: insultion, heating loss through windows, doors, etc.
    There are grants available for upgrading insultion, fixing doors, wondows, etc.
    As a person who has been on Disability, I know only too well, the problems of having to heat a home, with no money.
    I was fortunate to be able to apply for help for home heating fuels and could obtain a rebate of $250.00.
    This September, when I board students from Acadia, I am thinking that I could add a surcharge on the oil, since I cannot afford to pay for their heating oil. I board up to 5 students in September. Last year, I installed plastic cases over the thermostat, to stop students from yanking up the heat to 25 degrees and opening the windows.

    There needs to be a transition period, when we wean ourselves off oil and coal based electricity. We need to use solar panels for heating water, heating our homes. We need tidal power for electricity and heating.
    We need more wind power.

    We need grants to help install solar panels.
    When I bought the house that I am living in, I enquired about installing solar panels, with Second Source Power from Windsor. I was told that it would cost $25,000.00 to install voltaic tubes. I did not have the ability to do this.

    The question is: what to do this winter, when oil prices go up and trucks will only deliver $100.00 at a time? How do families survive a cold winter when they cannot afford the oil or electricity to heat their home?

    When we had a three day power shortage, here in Wolfville, there was a generator in the Fire Hall, so we could go and get hot meals. Some people I knew went to Halifax, to visit friends or the mall. Individuals can purchase generators, which are expensive, but maybe the only alternative to a world with power cuts.

    We need to work together: the community, the individual, the municiple, the businesses. We need a 25 year plan to work on these issues. We needed to start 25 years ago, like Sweden did. We are behind, but there is no time like the present.

    Take care,
    Sheila G. Richardson
    128 Gaspereau Ave.,
    Nova Scotia,
    B4P 2E1
    902-542-0909 home
    902-670-5560 cell

    I have just returned from Halifax from the Atlantic Jazz Festival, listening and dancing to Salsa Picante. Great time !!
    I have the Wolfville Farmer's Market tomorrow. It is raining now.

    Hope that you are well and the baby coming along nicely !!

    My daughter got married last Saturday 12th July, 2008, at the Digby Pines and my two sisters were here visiting for the last 10 days and went home to Cambridge, England yesterday.

    I had a birthday and turned 59 this year on 9th July, 2008. We celebrated in Halifax.

    Take care,

  2. We all seem fixated on thinking of wind energy only in terms of generating electricity. We should make an effort to think out of the box.

    Electricity from wind needs to be rectified, stored, converted, and inverted. All this involves costly, high-tech equipment that makes up a large portion of the cost of such an installation while consuming energy at every step of the process. Efficiency suffers.

    Nova Scotia households spend a lot more on heating (with oil) than they do on electricity and the price of oil is high and rising.

    Lets look at wind as a replacement for oil, not electric power.

    Wind turbines - windmills as they were called - have been used for centuries to supply mechanical power. Converting mechanical energy into heat is a simple process. One method might involve the principle of hydraulic friction.

    The resulting hot fluid can be stored in insulated underground tanks from where it could be drawn on demand and circulated through a heat exchanger that is installed inline with existing hot air or hot water furnaces.

    This is a relatively simple, low tech solution that would lend itself well to production within our province, thus creating valuable jobs for skilled workers.

    Considering the rising price of oil, the payback for such a system would probably be well below the 25 years mentioned previously.

    Anyone wishing to discuss this concept can reach me at 902 347-2602