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Renewable energy and home heating

1. A home builder installs electric baseboard heat and claims, "It is the cheapest and cleanest way to go." Apply your understanding of the second law of thermodynamics and net energy efficiency chain to evaluate this claim.

2. Someone tells you we can save energy by recycling it. How should you respond?

3. Should government tax breaks and other subsidies for fossil fuels and nuclear power be phased out and replaced with subsidies and tax breaks for improving energy efficiency and renewable energy alternatives. Explain

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1. Cheapest ... maybe. But only because many electric utilities often give a better rate if you're all electric. On a head-to-head comparison most would disagree and give gas the clear win for heat. See: http://www.allthingsfrugal.com/f.h_options.htm Although they are 2005 numbers
Cleanest .... it depends on what the electric utility is using to generate that electricity. However, as the US electric load is about 50% coal-fired, that is unlikely. Natural gas however, is mainly methane which burns relatively clean.

Addressing it from a ...

Solution Summary

Answer ponders thermodynamic efficiency and policy implications of renewable energy in new construction