According to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the probability that current human activities will lead to substantially increased global temperatures is greater than 66 percent.
Specific consequences of increased global temperatures likely include a six-fold increase in the area burned by wildfires in southwest Colorado and sea levels increasing by three to 10 feet.
Although these outcomes are not certain, they are likely and they have prompted the Colorado ski industry to take major steps to reduce its contribution to global warming.
The National Academy also predicts that reversing the conditions leading to increased global temperatures will require many thousands of years. That is, we should take action before these conditions are in place. The National Academy of Sciences includes about 2,000 of our best scientists. The prestige associated with membership in the Academy is second only to receiving a Nobel Prize.
The principal human activity contributing to global warming is emission of greenhouse gases. About half of the effect of greenhouse gases is attributed to carbon dioxide. Home heating, whether with gas, electricity, or wood, is a major source of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Yet, all of the heat required to heat a home and to provide lots of hot water is available in only a small fraction of the sun’s energy striking the house.
A well-designed solar heating system can reduce home heating costs by 80-90 percent. Heating a typical home with solar power reduces carbon dioxide emission by 10 tons per year. Technology for solar heating is well-developed, so it is highly reliable, predictable and cost-effective.
A new course offered by the Archuleta County Education Center provides the information needed to build an effective solar home heating system.
Topics include system design and construction, collector selection, storage tank sizing, and heat delivery to the home.
This course will combine theory and practice, and it will serve both do-it-yourselfers and those who may be hiring a contractor. Professional installers may find the course useful for improving their understanding of the theory of solar heating.
The class, Solar Home Heating, will be offered Wednesdays from 6:30-8:30 p.m., March 16, 23 and 30, and April 6, with a cost of $80. Instruction will be offered by Dr. David Smith, a retired chemistry professor from the University of Nebraska.
To register for the class, come to the Ed Center at the corner of 4th and Lewis streets, or call 264-2835 for more information.