Seniors were empowered with knowledge at the free sustainable living information seminar led by Martin Kruus this spring.
The second of three free sessions offered by Kruus through the Cariboo Chilcotin Elder College was held at St. Andrew’s United Church Library in Williams Lake.
Focus was based on the interests of the attendees and drew on Kruus’ own experience in his attempts to live more sustainably.
Kruus is a teacher and an engineer with a minor in philosophy who now coordinates the education programs for Scout Island Nature Centre. He is also a longtime board member of the Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society.
He emphasized the importance of scepticism and dialogue on various strategies to decrease our carbon footprints and encouraged the participants to look at different carbon emissions calculators like footprint.wwf.org.uk and coolclimate.berkeley.edu/calculator to be able to see the impact we have as individuals and how we can potentially make changes to reduce our environmental footprints.
He talked about the different types of waste to consider when thinking about sustainability, including carbon emissions as air waste and to think about the life cycle of technology and the net result.
Participants were interested in the energy production, cost and the consideration of snow and climate on the roof-mounted solar panels Kruus installed on his home two years ago.
The fourteen, 370-Watt panels feed electricity into the grid and have resulted in a significant offset of his household’s electricity consumption through the power they generate, helpful with the family’s two electric vehicles. The panels produced a bit more power than the family used in the first year, which Kruus partly attributed to the fewer car trips during the pandemic.
The family has a hybrid SUV and a fully electric sedan, and he mentioned the rebate programs he was able to access in order to reduce the cost to the family of purchasing the vehicles.
The cost to install the solar panels was $11,000 and the panels will decrease efficiency over their lifetime of approximately 20 years, which led to a question about how much of a net benefit the panels will actually be in the long run, especially with electricity costs being uncertain.
“Some of this is just about doing something,” responded Kruus and later discussed some of the impacts of an uncertain future he has observed on young people.
The final of the three free seminars took place on April 4 and looked at sustainable investment options. For more information on this and other elder college programs go to: wleldercollege.com.