Where does my money go?
For every purchase made of Step3 products, a donation is added to the price. This donation is equivalent to the average cost of installing 3 watts of renewable energy generation. As sales are made, the money is gathered and saved until it can be put to use on a project. Once a project has been found, the collective donations will be used to buy energy generation infrastructure like solar panels or water wheels. After this has been done we will work alongside contractors to learn how to install the infrastructure at the site of the project.
How is the energy generated?
After enough money has been gathered, a decision will be made as to what type of renewable energy infrastructure will be installed. Part of this decision is whether it will be more beneficial to create power on site or lower the power consumption by transitioning to lower power devices such as LED lights. Once this has been completed, the solar panels, windmills or other infrastructure will continue to generate or save power for as long as they opperate.
Isn't 3 watts almost inconsequential?
Three watts of energy by itself is very little. The difference lies in the fact that we are providing three watts continuously. This means that for each purchase, three watts of energy will be generated for as long as the infrastructure is operating. If a solar panel has a life of 25 years and about 5 hours of sun a day, then your portion of that solar panel will continually be providing 3 watts each of those five hours a day for 25 years. If an LED light is installed in place of a fluorescent light then it will be saving 80 watts for as long as it is turned on. Energy usage is calculated in watt-hours which factors in the operational time, therefore, your 3 watt contribution is multiplied by how long it is used to find the total impact. With the time frame usually being multiple decades this means your contribution will end up making a big difference.
In addition, a large number of sales, each being worth three watts, will be grouped together to allow for larger systems or more expansive projects. At step3project we hope to harness the power of a crowd and use large numbers of sales with a small donation each to create as much energy generation as possible.
What is the difference between Watts and Watt Hours? Rating vs Generation.
This is an easily confused difference. A watt by itself is a unit of power that an object takes to operate. A watthour is how much energy is actually used by that object while it is operational. For example and 10 watt lightbulb uses 10 watthours of energy every hour. It uses 100 watthours of energy every ten hours, and if only used for half an hour it only uses 5 watthours.
This can be used to help explain the generation principle of the Step3Project. Each 3 watts of power generation will be able to provide 15 watt hours every day (assuming 5 hours of sunlight), or almost 5500 watt hours every year. With 3000 sales, this means we could would have enough generation to power a house completely on renewables.
Who are you partnering with?
Our focus is to create partnerships that can benefit the surrounding community without any conflict of interest in terms of ownership profit. This means cooperatives, free use sites, non-profit organizations, and clubs. We believe that anybody should be able to access the projects we do because anybody can contribute by purchasing apparel.
Right now we are building the brand and exposing as many people as possible to our idea in order to maximize contributions. We have already partnered with the Mount Remo Backcountry Society to power a recreational skiing and hiking cabin near Terrace BC. Additionally, we have partnered with the Skeena Valley Golf Course cooperative to reduce their power footprint. Most recently we are collaborating with Carleton Student Energy to market Step3 branded club apparel.
In the extreme long-term, we would like to get involved with international aid programs in order to help developing countries produce clean power right away. This will increase the chance of them skipping the environmentally harmful stages of energy production that most of the western world has gone through. In addition to that, we are looking into helping low-income neighborhoods produce power for themselves to allow the residents to worry about other life problems besides their power bill.
What have you done?
In our first half year of operation we have successfully powered the Larsen Ridge Backcountry Cabin and retrofitted the Skeena Valley Golf Course. A total of 2700 watts (900 purchases!) have already been created. To see pictures and find out more check out our projects page.