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Choosing renewable methane

Earth Day is a day to think about whether we are living in accordance with our values. In my own case, that implies putting the planet first. Like everyone, there are some things I do that I’m proud of and others that might not be terrible but they certainly aren’t good. Case in point – I cook with gas.

Mind you, when it comes to your diet, how you cook your food is one of least important things affecting your overall greenhouse gas footprint. Going vegetarian, or at the very least, not eating beef and minimizing dairy is the most important thing you can do. However, cooking with electricity is without question greener than gas. If you do strongly prefer the instant heat of gas or already have a gas stove, there is a way to it sustainable and perhaps even carbon negative. 

PSE and other utilities have renewable natural gas (RNG) programs. This involves getting gas from sources like landfills, sewage, agriculture, and compost rather than gas that is the byproduct of oil drilling. RNG is environmentally friendly in that it captures methane that would otherwise be emitted into the atmosphere. RNG isn’t a solution for all of our energy needs – there simply will never be enough of it – but if you heat your house with a heat pump and get your electricity from zero emissions sources, there probably is enough renewable methane per capita to use for cooking. 1 therm per month is enough for this purpose. 

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