Generally, calculations of the impacts of using a machine only take operational emissions into account. As we have seen so far in this series, these negative effects are only part of the sustainability equation. However, given a durable application like heating your home, operational emissions represent the most significant portion of the environmental impacts over time.
Basically, the carbon emitted when using any machine depends on a few factors:
- What form of energy does it use?
- If that energy is electricity, how is it generated?
- How efficiently does the machine put that energy to work?
As we move toward a decarbonized world, electricity is one of the best forms of energy for the point of use: electric vehicles, electric lights, electric ovens and stoves, and electric climate control, etc. Electricity is safe, clean, and highly controllable. There is no pilot light, no toxic and potentially explosive gas lines snaking all over town and into your home, and it can be switched on and off for any specific use and location. But how clean electricity is depends on how it is made.
The great news about electricity is that its sources can supply many applications and locations. So, even if the supply isn’t as clean as desired at the moment, as soon as it is made cleaner, everything that uses it instantly becomes cleaner. So, for example, when a coal-fired power plant is replaced by solar or wind power, every home and business powered by that source instantly goes from dirty power to clean power. And, even when electricity is generated by coal (since power stations are huge and super-efficient) it is far cleaner than, say, burning wood in a fireplace.
The final component in reducing carbon emissions is energy efficiency. Energy efficiency simply means using less energy to do the same work. This is a critical part of the decarbonization and sustainability equation because requiring less power for the same amount of work is equivalent to generating more power. This not only increases the overall supply capacity. Machines that work less hard tend to last longer. And the more energy efficient machines that are put into service, the faster the supply of clean energy can take over the demand.
All of Mighty Energy‘s solutions are electric, highly controllable, and energy-efficient for their purpose.
see also: Part 1: Definition of Terms | Part 2: Environmental Impacts | Part 3: Embodied Carbon | Part 4: Installation Impact