Website review: Natural Gas. The Natural Choice.
The Natural Gas website thenaturalchoice.com.au is the effort of Australian energy provider Jemena, along with natural gas appliance manufacturers, sellers and installers, to promote natural gas as an energy source in Australia.
First of all, the site is clear, easily navigated and informative without being wordy. It is straight and to the point with its message: Natural Gas is more affordable and environmentally friendly than electricity. The graphics are nice enough, although the small thin grey text on a bright white background produces a bit of a glare and might not be that easy on some people’s eyes.
The “Natural Gas. The Natural Choice.” site features a helpful and easy-to-use “Natural Gas vs Electricity Cost Calculator” as well as a small section with information for builders, developers professional plumbers and gas fitters who install gas systems and connect residences and establishments to the natural gas network. It also contains an informative safety section and information about how gas is shipped and supplied. Like I said, there isn’t a whole lot of information on the site, but what is there is presented clearly. What I would suggest is more information about natural gas extraction, more environmental statistics, and more text addressing environmental concerns.
thenaturalchoice.com.au also features a section on products, with detailed descriptions links for where to buy them. For those wanting to go as green as possible with natural gas, there is an array of “solar boosted” water heaters, incorporating solar panel technology.
Natural gas vs. electric power
How green is gas?
Well, first off, how many of us use electricity at home? How many of us cook, use hot water and heat our homes? Do we do all those things with solar, wave or wind power? Hardly anyone at this point, I’d wager. I manage to get all my hot water from a tank heated by rooftop solar panels, but everything else listed above in my home is either from bottled natural gas or electricity from the power grid. I wish I had piped natural gas where I’m currently living. It would be cheaper and more effective for heating and cooking, and generate less greenhouse gas emissions.
At present, coal-fired electric power plants provide 85% of electricity in Australia, with natural gas a distant second. So the choice for Australians, in terms of heating and cooking, is usually between coal (electric) and direct natural gas.
According to the site, switching to natural gas is both cost effective and environmentally responsible as natural gas produces up to 75% less emissions than electricity. That may be an upward estimate and there’s no denying that natural gas is still a fossil fuel that produces greenhouse gasses like CO2 and methane. On the other hand there is no argument that natural gas results in less emissions than other fossil fuels, which we all still depend on. Furthermore, natural gas is far less polluting in terms of nitrous oxides, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide and particulate matter (black carbon) of which natural gas produces almost none.