Thinking Green At Guaranty
While there is still some debate in certain sectors, 70 percent of Americans believe that climate change, or global warming, is happening. 53 percent think that it is caused mostly by human activities and a whopping 82 percent support funding research into renewable energy sources according to a 2016 Yale University study. Guaranty Locally Owned Chevrolet and Guaranty RV Super Centers have been supporting renewable energy for well over a decade and we are continuously looking for ways to reduce our carbon footprint.
Since the industrial revolution progress has been powered by fossil fuels across the globe. Worldwide it is estimated humans consume 93 million barrels of oil and liquid fuels per day. Whether you believe in climate change or not it is hard to argue that, at that rate of consumption we risk running the planet dry.
Setting the pollution spewing from millions of smokestacks aside for a moment, finding alternative ways to power the modern world, that are not subject to ever dwindling reserves, may become a necessity sooner rather than later. Granted new oil reserves are still being discovered, but 2017 saw the fewest number of oil discoveries since 1940. Keeping in mind the advances in the discovery and accessing of oil reserves since 1940 that fact becomes even more uncomfortable. New techniques for oil extraction like fracking are in some eyes a solution, but to others they are a short term stop gap measure. Fracking is a relatively new, and possibly revolutionary, way to keep the supply of fossil fuels flowing, but concerns about its long term effects on the environment are beginning to be discussed. Not to mention the enormous amounts of water used in the process and the fact that there is some concern globally about vanishing fresh water supplies.
The Impact of Industry
Companies that explore for, develop and operate oil and gas fields gross domestic product estimates range from $77 to $107 trillion dollars, or 4.6% to 6.5% of the global economy.
Obviously the current investment in oil is significant and the number of companies and individuals who make a living in occupations directly and indirectly tied to it are vast. Guaranty Locally Owned Chevrolet and Guaranty RV Super Centers falls into the indirectly related category, we don’t sell oil in any large capacity but we do sell cars, trucks, SUVs, trailers, and motorhomes. Currently all of these consume fossil fuels, with the exception of the Chevy Bolt electric vehicle and the all-electric motorhome Winnebago has in development. (Sorry RVers but even when the Winnebago hits the market it’s limited range, 85 – 125 miles, will make it less than efficient as a true vacation camper. Its intended purpose is being used in the commercial vehicle market as a mobile classroom, blood or book mobile etc.)
Being in the Automotive and RV industries and being aware that as a whole neither industry could be considered very green at present can be a quandary or a motivator. The automotive industry is offering more and more green alternatives and the RV industry is gradually adopting greener manufacturing processes. Some RVs have “all electric” appliances that eliminate the need for the traditional propane system, reducing fossil fuel consumption without restricting the expected functionality of the RVs living quarters. And solar has been popular in the RV industry for decades with a handful of manufacturers including large solar panels in their vehicle designs as standard equipment. Solar is a great way to reduce dependence on traditional power sources and it doesn’t need a consumable fuel to accomplish said reduction. Its fuel is free and it shows up to work every day, all day. It’s called the Sun, and even here in Oregon where we don’t always see the Sun during the winter it provides potentially limitless energy. Thanks to ever improving solar cell technology panels are within a few percentage points of optimum output even on overcast days.
Alternatives to Fossil Fuels
Solar panels have evolved into state of the art components that continue to get smaller, thinner, more flexible and more efficient. The idea of creating energy from the sun has been around for centuries, think south facing sunrooms that take advantage of the sun for added warmth, but in 1839 French scientist Edmond Becquerel managed to generate voltage and current from rudimentary solar equipment. In 1960 Hoffman Electric had achieved a stunning 14% panel efficiency, and by 2016 that had nearly doubled to 29.8%. There is even a panel capable of 44.5% efficiency in a laboratory settings. In just the last ten years the cost of panels has become increasingly affordable, dropping from $8.82 per watt in 2008 to $3.14 per watt in 2017.
Better panels and lower costs are both contributing factors to the rise in solar installations, as well as evolving attitudes regarding alternative energy.
At Guaranty we are proud to have embraced alternative energy for many years. Several of our existing building have ample solar panel installations and at the completion of our new RV Body Shop Guaranty will rival the largest renewable energy producers in Junction City, with a combined 16kW of solar power.
A whopping 298 Oregon made panels at 285 watts each have been installed on the new building, providing enough power to run 20 average households for a year. The power generated is dedicated to the operations of the body shop and should keep the building “off the grid” except for peak consumption, which is rare and short termed. The added benefit is that should the area lose power from the traditional power grid source, the building will not. That’s good because you don’t want a body shop working on your RV in the dark.
We only have the one planet and while industry continues to consume its resources the idea that those resources are not endless and are harmful to the planet not only via pollution, but via the practices of collecting them as well is taking hold. Alternatives in energy sources, new manufacturing practices, and changing consumer attitudes drive the shift. Guaranty is proud to be ahead of the pack when it comes to offsetting our carbon footprint through green practices and alternative energy, and we look forward to a brighter future for all our neighbors on planet Earth. Guaranty was recognized in late 2019 by the RV Industry Association for it’s efforts with a nice artcle about Corporate Social Responsibility here.