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Global warming. It is difficult to comprehend how the energy that powers our modern day way of life may actually threaten our very existence. Scientists around the world are in agreement that carbon dioxide (CO2) is a leading cause of atmospheric warming and that the major source of CO2 is the burning of fossil fuels.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, electric generation is the largest source of CO2 emissions in this country and Florida electric generation plants produce 1.39 pounds of CO2 for each kilowatt generated.

So how can the use of natural gas, even if it is the cleanest fossil fuel, help in reducing greenhouse gases? The answer is in how we use this precious natural resource.

Electric power companies consume enormous volumes of coal, natural gas and oil to generate electricity. But converting fossil fuel into electricity is an extremely inefficient process. In fact, the U.S. Energy Information Agency reports, “Overall, approximately 67% of total energy input is lost in conversion; of the electricity generated, approximately 5% is lost in plant use and 9% is lost in transmission and distribution.” Add all of this up and less than 30% of the energy used to generate electricity actually reaches consumers in the form of electricity. The rest is wasted in the form of waste heat.

Using natural gas directly for must consumer's larger energy requirements, such as water heating, clothes drying, cooking, and space heating reduces fossil fuels wasted to generate electricty. For an average residential water heater this results in a net reduction of nearly 3,000 pounds of CO2 per year being released into Florida's environment. That is a reduction of more than 18 tons over the average useful life of a standard tank natural gas water heater. A tankless natural gas water heater decreases gas consumption by approximately 30%. Most tankless gas water heaters qualify for a federal energy efficiency tax credit in 2011.

By using natural gas directly for water heating, cooking, clothes drying and central home heating, we can greatly reduce the CO2 emissions from Florida electric generation plants. That's why gas has been called "The Green Fossil Fuel."

Visit www.ComfortableResponsible.org and use the Carbon Calculator to see how much you can reduce your carbon footprint.

Last updated: 5/26/2011 3:51:38 PM