Good For People, Good for the Environment

Two men with a solar panel

Two articles this week got us thinking about how what is good for the planet can — and should — help people too.  The two articles were the U.S. Global Change Research Program’s report on the impact of climate change on human health, and an article in Science about the need for social and environmental scientists to work together to build more sustainable communities.

Climate change is not just about the health of our planet as a resource; climate change also affects human beings on all kinds of physical and emotional levels.

That’s where the smart grid seems like a pretty good model. The whole idea behind the smart grid is to improve an essential service — electricity — by making it cost less and do more. The smart grid helps people pay less on their energy bills without freezing in the winter or melting in the summer, helps utility companies prevent electricity outages, or respond to them more quickly in an emergency. And the smart devices enabled by the smart grid, like smart thermostats, can link up to home security systems to help people be safer, detect carbon monoxide in the air, adjust indoor temperatures for individual preferences, and more. All of these things sound pretty good, like they’ll help improve people’s lives.

But here’s the key: The smart grid is also good for the environment.

The smart grid helps entire cities and states become more energy efficient, so that they’re wasting less energy. It helps reduce the demand we put on power sources that produce greenhouse gases. And it helps us take advantage of available renewable energy sources.

Sound like a pretty good deal for Planet Earth? It is!

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