We live in a world where humankind requires more energy than ever to sustain itself. As a result, it has become imperative that this energy be generated in a way to minimize any adverse effects. Clean energy is energy that is generated from renewable resources through a process that has minimal to no impact on the environment.
The most widely used sources are solar, wind, water and tidal energy. They are natural resources that replenish and create zero emissions when they are harnessed to generate energy. They are sustainable alternatives to fossil fuels like coal and oil that are in limited supply and pollute the environment when burned to produce energy.
Tips to save energy
Energy consumption can be kept at an optimal level in the average household in several ways.
– While shopping for appliances, buy the ones with the Energy Star logo. Their operation is certified to be energy efficient.
– Using LED bulbs, which are 80 percent more energy-efficient than others, reduces the consumption of electricity.
– HVAC (heating and cooling) systems in older homes are not energy-efficient like the newer systems, so upgrading them can reduce energy wastage.
– Insulate your home well by weather-proofing your windows. This will reduce energy wastage during heating and cooling.
Following these best practices will also significantly reduce household utility costs.
In addition to using energy-efficient appliances, cultivating energy-saving habits will also help reduce your carbon footprint.
– Turn off appliances and gadgets like lights, fans, TVs and even your modem when not in use.
– Avoid using the dishwasher unless it is full.
– Use the cold wash setting in your washing machine unless hot wash is required.
– Keeping food covered in the fridge reduces the moisture released by the food, which can make the compressor work longer and harder to maintain the cold temperature inside the fridge.
Greenhouse gas emissions are exponentially increased by vehicular traffic. Adopting some best practices as far as your commute is concerned can help mitigate this impact.
– Carpooling when possible, either to the workplace or to drop your children to school, can reduce the number of cars on the road.
– Taking public transportation also helps this cause.
– For those who want to stay in shape, biking or walking to work where feasible is an alternative or a supplement to the gym. This way, you can help the environment while staying fit.
Alternative energy sources as a replacement for, or as supplement to traditional sources, can also help reduce your carbon footprint.
– Solar panels are a simple and increasingly accessible way to harness a clean energy source to power your home or a commercial establishment.
– Solar energy is absorbed by an array of photovoltaic cells and converted to direct current electricity. This is a zero-emission process that generates clean energy for agricultural, residential and commercial needs.
Energy efficiency in commercial buildings
Commercial buildings require more energy and equipment to be functional, when compared to a residence.
These are a few best practices that can keep them energy-efficient:
– Make sure that all the pieces of equipment used to heat and cool the building are well-maintained and operating at their optimum level. Ensure that the filters are cleaned and there are no loose or malfunctioning components, which could lead to energy leakage or over-consumption. Portable chiller rental may be an interesting option in this regard.
– Raise awareness among employees and tenants about energy wastage and cultivate green practices in the workplace. Turning off office and cafeteria equipment and lights when not in use, is an example of best practices.
– Install power-management on computers and monitors so that they go into “sleep mode” or “eco mode” if left on when not in use.
– Install motion sensors to turn lights on and off in hallways, closets and restrooms.
– Commercial buildings require a lot of lighting for function, aesthetics as well as safety. A great way to reduce energy consumption from lighting is the widespread use of energy-efficient LED or CFL lighting, which generate less heat, throughout the building.
– The use of skylights and large windows can help use natural lighting. Planting trees along the building will keep it naturally cooler in summer and allow light in during the darker days of winter when they shed their leaves. These architectural design practices can help reduce the energy consumption load on the building.
Eco-friendly energy alternatives
Traditional sources of energy pollute the environment. Eco-friendly alternatives are gaining popularity as they naturally replenish and create zero emissions when harnessed for energy.
These are some of the most commonly used clean energy sources:
– Solar power is generated by converting sunlight into electricity.
– Wind power is harnessed and converted by turbines.
– Geothermal energy is generated from hot rocks and water from deep underground.
– Hydropower is generated from the kinetic energy of moving water.
– Tidal energy is generated from the movement of ocean tides and waves.
Pros and cons of solar energy
Solar power is relatively easy to access, and use more widely, due to its scalability. It can be used to power large agricultural setups like wineries, commercial establishments and residences of any size, by installing solar panels to harness solar heat and light.
It has its advantages and and a few disadvantages as well, and research is being conducted to find ways to mitigate its cons.
– Scalability: Solar energy can be used to power large or small establishments.
– Easy maintenance: The panels need to be cleaned of dust and grime occasionally but do not significantly lose their output capacity even when they are not clean.
– High return on investment: After the initial cost of installation, which has also steeply declined, the amount saved on utility bills is far more than maintenance costs, making it a financially attractive alternative as well.
– Accessibility: Solar power can be generated almost anywhere on earth. Although the tropics and deserts are more conducive areas for solar energy, a fairly good output can be generated even in the least sunny parts of the world.
– Affordability and savings: Excess solar energy can be sold or sent back to the grid by homeowners. The declining cost of solar panels, government incentives like tax rebates, and zero down financing options, have made them a very low cost energy source.
– Intermittent source: Solar power can only be generated during the day and when there is no significant cloud cover. But battery storage which is evolving due to continuing research, overcomes this limitation.
– Battery storage can be expensive but fortunately, most of the power is generated in the middle of the day which is also the time of highest consumption. So this issue is also mitigated.
– The production of the panels releases some highly toxic pollutants. However the net benefit of using solar as an energy source far outweighs this disadvantage.
– It is not possible to move any installed panels when you decide to move residence.
Benefits of solar energy
Whether you use solar energy to power your residence or a commercial building, you can enjoy the benefits of low energy costs, a healthy environment, a reduced overall carbon footprint, and tax rebates where available.
In conclusion, renewable energy sources such as solar can greatly reduce residential and commercial utility costs while also protecting the environment from the hazards of energy generation.