Environmental awareness is getting higher and higher and many homeowners and businesses are searching for new ways to power their buildings. Luckily, today we have several sources of renewable energy that everyone is trying to incorporate into their lives. One of the most efficient sources certainly is the Sun and its energy. To be precise, solar energy is light and heat from the Sun, harnessed by a range of evolving technologies, such as solar thermal energy, photovoltaics, solar heating, and many other solar power systems.
Another reason why solar power systems are entering our homes and businesses is because of their benefits for the environment. Firstly, solar power reduces the emission of toxic gases into the air, thus reducing the pollution. Secondly, it reduces water pollution because it doesn’t use water to generate electricity. Thus it preserves the local water resources. Lastly, since sunlight is a renewable source of energy, solar power reduces the need for finite energy resources.
How does it work?
Solar power systems, like ones you can put on your roof, produce the needed power directly from the Sun. Sunlight is directly transformed into electricity by the solar cells situated in the panels. Each solar cell is made of silicon, combined with other materials in such a way that there are some missing electrons in one part of the cell, while in the other there are extra electrons. When the sunlight hits the cell, the extra electrons in the silicon are knocked by the photons in the light and they freely flow to the missing electron part of the cell. The flow that is created thus produces the electrical current that reaches the inverter, which transforms that current into usable electricity.
Grid-tied utility interconnected systems
These systems don’t require any batteries, because they are designed to contribute power back into the existing supply, and not for back-up power. Utility interconnected systems are perfect for residential and commercial buildings because they will pay for themselves throughout the years, because they will significantly lower the utility bills. By installing these solar power systems on your roof, you are powering your home with green power which will also reduce pollution in the environment. Since this is a convenient power solution for renewable energy, you have a vast variety of models to choose from, such as the 5kw solar systems, and supply your home with clean energy and lower bills. Utility interconnected systems are designed to lower the power demands from the utility or to sell power back to the utility, in some cases.
Standalone DC systems
These systems are usually a substitute for a utility power. They include solar charging modules, a charger regulator, storage batteries and controls. A smaller standalone DC system is a perfect replacement for noisy generators and kerosene lamps on a boat, recreational vehicle or a remote home. This system uses photovoltaic (PV) array to charge the batteries during the day and the battery supplies power where it is needed. The sizing will depend on the wattage of the loads and how often you are using them.
Standalone AC-DC systems
This system is similar to the previous one, but it uses DC to AC inverter. Additionally, this system can power the common appliances in your home, such as vacuum cleaner, computer, power tools, kitchen appliances and washing machines. DC to AC inverters are available with a variety of power outputs, ranging from 100 watts to 10 kilowatts. What is more, larger inverters can also serve as battery charges from a backup generator when you need more power than the solar module can supply.
We have to pay good attention to how we are using energy resources around us. Our environment is at stake, as well as our homes and health. Luckily, with massive advances in technology each year, we have the opportunity to utilize the renewable sources of energy, such as sunlight. This only results in green ways to power our homes and business buildings without leaving a trace in the environment.
Climate change as a topic is high on the agenda at present. Of course we have seen a lot of talk from the Trump administration and President Trump's opinion of the concept of climate change is widely documented across the Internet.
Despite scepticism, there are still many bodies who actively seek out countries to improve their energy efficiencies and not only does this mean their emissions are lowered, it can also result in lower output costs too.
One such body is the ACEEE who on a yearly basis publish a table with a chart of the most energy efficient countries according to their measurement variables.
The ACEEE is an American body and stands for American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy.
The guys at Senator Windows have created this Infographic below which details the 2016 results; it also pinpoints the variables and criteria set out by the ACEEE and certainly makes for interesting reading. Check it all out below.
Solar power has continued to advance in technology over the past few years. It has become more energy efficient cost effective than ever before, making solar technology affordable for households across the United States. Learn about the variety of benefits of going solar at home with this infographic from Renewable Energy Corporation.
The massive impact of fossil fuel heating systems on the environment continually draws a lot of worldwide attention. Considering that heating is one of the world’s highest energy consumption sources, there is more focus on making positive, sustainable changes to how it is produced. Green boiler technology is fast becoming a great solution for those seeking to reduce their carbon footprint.
With the options for green boilers increasing daily, questions are also being raised about their environmental impact. While green boilers are more energy efficient and acceptable as an alternative option for heating, they still contribute to global warming.
Different Types of Green Boilers
Today, there are two main types of green boilers used in homes and businesses: biomass boilers and condensing boilers. Each of these operates in completely different ways to reduce your carbon footprint.
Biomass boilers operate by burning wood and other renewable organic materials to produce heat. Unlike old wood burning stoves and fireplaces, modern biomass burning stoves are more efficient for water heating needs. There are automatic biomass boilers that control the amount of air and fuel that is used, making them even more efficient. To keep this boiler running, owners will need ample space to store the boiler, along with wood or logs for heating purposes.
Condensing boilers are fuelled by gas or oil. What makes these boilers different, is that they reuse heat from the initial burning process to preheat the water entering the boiler. Heat is recovered from the combustion process as water vapor is condensed into liquid, making the process more efficient. Unlike standard boilers, they come in various sizes that can fit into different locales and only require regular maintenance. Many buildings are switching from old gas boilers to condensing boilers due to their practicality.
Environmental Impact of Biomass Boilers
The burning of wood and other biomass fuels produces carbon dioxide and nitrogen dioxide emissions (CO2 and NO2). The carbon produced is usually the same amount as what is absorbed by a plant during its entire lifetime. While these emissions may be negligible, a faulty burning process in your boiler or a wrong setup may result in more emissions of carbon monoxide (CO), volatile organic gases, benzene, and other toxic substances.
With proper use of biomass boilers, the ash waste is usually harmless and can be used as compost. Ensuring that green boilers are serviced regularly and operate under the manufacturer's guidelines is crucial, so that emissions remain harmless and the boiler operates at optimal capacity.
Environmental Impact of Condensing Boilers
Considering that heating oil and natural gas from condensing boilers are fossil fuels, they still contribute to environmental pollution. Although the CO2 emissions are most common with gas boilers, a faulty heating system may further produce carbon monoxide and present a major health hazard. For oil boilers, there is potential water contamination with leakages as well as gas emissions. In recent years, heating oil used in green boilers has been blended with other biofuels, like biodiesel, to create a cleaner energy source.
Making the Switch to Green Boiler Technology
There is a lot that goes into deciding what type of boiler is needed in a building. When making a switch, different factors have to be considered, like the size of the boiler, its cost, energy efficiency rating, availability of heating fuel, and its impact on the environment. There is no doubt that green boiler technology saves energy and leaves a smaller environmental footprint than older boilers.
Why Is Green Boiler Technology Better?
Experts in the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning industry (HVAC) have to deal with constantly changing technology. With green technology popularity higher than ever, it's important to understand how new options are changing the industry and why this technology is the better option for heating.
- Reduced emissions—Green boilers make it easier for HVAC experts to abide by emission guidelines. These boilers are engineered under strict energy efficiency measures to protect both the end user and the environment.
- Highly efficient—Modern technology used for manufacturing green boilers helps minimize heat loss and improve heat transfer. That ensures that businesses get the most out of their boiler systems.
- Maximum fuel-cost savings—Green boilers use less fuel to do the same amount of work as old boilers; this is of huge benefit to many businesses. Eco-friendly boilers produce the same power while reducing spending on fuel over the long term.
- Smart design and innovation—With great improvements in design and engineering, modern boilers are produced smaller in size and developed with green technology in mind. That means less installation space in facilities and streamlined operation.
Is Green Boiler Technology Sustainable?
Just like other sustainable technologies, green boilers will remain a sustainable heating option. As more businesses opt for this technology, ensuring the reliability and efficiency of installed systems is a major priority for HVAC professionals. The boilers have to be regularly inspected and checked at least annually to ensure optimal efficiency.
The HVAC industry has quickly adapted to green technology, leading to the production of more efficient equipment that uses less energy. This is a major step for sustainable energy that helps protect the environment.
Kathleen Williams is an HVAC repair and installation expert and freelance writer from Orange County, CA. She has gained extensive experience and skills offering sustainable heating solutions to households and businesses in the area, working with one of the premier industrial boiler repair companies around.
Right now the world is still dependent on fossil fuels, because it is the most common energy source. But, since the usage of fossil fuels is the main cause of the greenhouse effect as well as global warming, there is an undeniable need to use alternative energy sources to generate electricity, such as solar power. And the benefits of using solar energy go way beyond reducing carbon emissions. So we, LEDwatcher team, offer you a look at the primary reasons why solar energy is so beneficial and important to sustainability and to humankind.
Solar power provides long-term energy certainty
Solar energy, unlike other energy sources, is basically inexhaustible. Fossil fuel reserves are running dangerously low, and soon they will dry up all together. But solar energy provides long-term energy certainty, because photo-voltaic cells collect sunlight to generate electricity. So the only resource used in electricity generation process with solar panels is sunlight, and, as long as the sun is shining, we will be able to produce clean, green energy from its light.
Solar energy is beneficial to the environment
The environmental impact from solar energy is also very low. First of all, it is considered the greenest and cleanest energy, because neither generation or consumption of it crates any carbon dioxide or other exhaust gases. This means that solar energy is in no way responsible for global warming or the greenhouse effect, which are two of the biggest environmental concerns right now. Second of all, solar energy is also considered much safer to humans and the environment, because it is lot easier to make and transport, without causing any natural disasters. Oil transportation can cause spillages from tankers, coal mining can lead to landslides in mines and oil drilling is prone to fires on drilling rings. But the only thing the mining of solar energy can cause is a bit of CO2 emission during the transportation of the solar panels. So solar power is still far less dangerous to the environment. Beside the positive impacts of solar energy on the environment and our life quality far outweigh the negative, making solar power the best alternative energy option.
Solar energy infrastructure prevents destruction of land and habitat
Usage of solar energy can also prevent destruction of land and habitat. Inevitably ecosystems are be destroyed to mine raw materials like fossil fuels or generate nuclear power. Trees are cut down, swamps are dried up and other habitats are destroyed to make room for factories, mines and power plants. But with solar farms, that is not the case. Yes, solar facilities still have to put up solar panels, which will cause loss of habitat, however, it is on far less destructive scale, because solar panels are simply placed on top of the land, not drilled into it or built above it. And since, many solar companies are striving to use only otherwise unusable and inhabitable land for their solar panel farms, like deserts or disaster sites, solar industry might even make use of land that previously was without a purpose.
Solar energy is a safe and clean alternative to other power sources
Solar energy can also fully replace other power sources and be a clean and safe energy alternative. Fossil and nuclear energy, which are two of the most common power sources right now, cause all kinds of environmental problems. Electricity generation from fossil fuels cause air pollution, which can result in acid rain, greenhouse effect and other serious changes in the environment. And nuclear power pollutes water and land, as well as poses a threat of another nuclear disaster. But solar power doesn’t cause any pollution, at least not in the electricity generation stage, so after the panels are manufactured and set up, they provide fully clean energy for years to come.
Solar power fights against climate change
Finally, solar power can also prevent global warming, which is probably the most dangerous environmental problem of this time. Global warming causes increase in the average temperature, and these changes lead to hurricanes, melting of polar ice caps, extinction of wildlife habitats, increasing of sea level among other problems. And, since carbon dioxide emissions, which are created by using fossil fuels as energy sources, are the main cause for global warming, solar energy could be the force that stops or at least slows down climate change and global warming.
The fight against pollution and climate change caused by the non-renewable energy industry is and will continue to be a difficult one, because people are not willing to sacrifice their old way of life in the name of sustainability. But solar power could really make a difference, because it is green, clean and sustainable source of energy. And with solar technologies evolving each year, solar power is also becoming more available to anyone, which is why everyone should consider to take a chance and try going solar.
Governments around the world are looking into ways to reduce energy consumption before the earth's natural resources run out. Trying to stabilise the global economy and protect the earth all countries need to find ways to become more energy efficient.
Going green is more than just about being eco-friendly, it's about looking into ways to lower energy use across all levels of industry, public institutions, such as schools and colleges, and in our homes. In 2000 nearly 200 countries signed the Paris Agreement which set timed targets in a bid to lower energy use at a global level.
This infographic highlights some of the targets and gives an insight into what they actually mean. It also looks at how well, or not, countries are doing in terms of meeting these targets. And, for those who want to know what the UK has done to play their role in achieving government targets, some interesting UK facts can also be found on the infographic.
The infographic also offers tips on how you can help reduce energy usage in your home, not only will you save money you'll also be doing your part in helping to win the battle against global warming and ultimately save the planet.
The British summer can be temperamental, to say the least. With temperatures rising ever so slightly there is a chance that you have saved money on your energy bills over the last few months. With summer coming to a close it’s time to plan ahead for next year and look at some changed you can make within your home, making it more energy efficient and eco-friendly!
The UK Is Getting Hotter
Statistics have shown that by the 2040s more than half of summers in Europe will be warmer than the early 2000s. Green Deal Scotland brand DMS Installations claim that:
“The 2016 Energy trends report shows that temperatures in the last yearly quarter were on average 0.5 degrees warmer than a year earlier, with average temperatures in both January and February being warmer than a year earlier.”
Energy suppliers suggest that if you are aiming to be eco-friendlier you must adjust your heating requirements over the summer months. The British summer can be changeable therefore it is worth keeping an eye on your home heating, reducing it or turning it off on the warmer days.
Looking ahead the temperature of British summers has risen steadily over the past fourteen years and predicted temperatures suggest that they will continue to rise between now and 2080 when the average summer temperature in Great Britain will be between 16.79°C and 17.79°C
The Green Deal and Insulation
We are becoming a green nation and as part of the UK’s movement to reduce carbon emissions by 80% before 2050, the Green Deal has been introduced. The Green deal encourages home and business owners to pay for energy efficiency improvements with what they save on their energy bills whilst improving the energy efficiency of their home.
Make sure that your home is insulated during the warmer months. Having Insulation in your home whether it be in the cavities or in the lost, means that your home will enclose the heat from outdoors whilst keeping the cooler air indoors.
Many of us consider Insulating our homes only when it gets to the colder months, however, home insulation is a long-term investment that will pay off no matter what season it is.
By insulating your home, you could be saving year on year as one of the most attractive benefits of cavity installation is that home owners could be saving up to £150 per year on energy bills. Store the energy that is within your home with insulation as it will stop any heat escaping! Heat escapes through the walls and will decrease the amount of energy you need to keep your home heated.
Winter is Coming Should I Invest in Solar Power?
There are many debates that surround solar energy within the UK. Not only is it an effective and eco-friendly way of sourcing energy and it popularity has soared in Britain over the past few years. With the weather improving, energy harvesters have even been warned that Britain may have made too much electricity this summer due to the growth in wind and solar farms!
If you have considered solar energy installation within your home, you are in good company as solar panel installation has never been as popular. Homeowners are now opting for solar energy due to the support that is being received from the UK government.
Solar panels work by feeding the power they harvest directly into homes or into the local electricity grid. The Telegraph has also reported that due to the rise of solar energy the demand on the national system is expected to be a record low this year.
Of course, solar energy is one of the eco-friendliest ways to power your home. Solar power captures the sun’s energy. As the suns energy has photovoltaic cells power can then be harvested and used. Solar panels are not only efficient during the summer months as they can also generate some electricity on duller colder days.
With the weather heating up it could mean that UK residents could be saving massive amounts on their energy bills in years to come. Renewable energy also seems to be the way forward as the government and energy installers are backing greener methods of energy supplies. With demand for solar energy rising it may be a great time to invest in the market.
The majority of the energy used in residential houses comes from fossil fuels. These fuels include oil, gas, coal and peat. However, they are in limited supply across the world. Burning these fuels creates CO2, a greenhouse gas which leads to climate change. Cutting down on our energy consumption will help us to do our part for the environment as well as cut down on the cost of our bills, saving us money in the long term.
There are many ‘hidden’ places in the home where we can save energy. This includes the attic which is often forgotten. Check your attic insulation. If it is currently less than 250 mm, get more layers added as you are losing energy and money through your roof.
The boiler is also another ‘hidden’ place where energy savings can be made. Ensure your boiler has a time clock to reduce its running time which can waste energy unnecessarily and get your boiler serviced annually. A reduction of 1C on your thermostat (which controls the heat output from your boiler to your house) can reduce annual space heating costs by 10%. For more tips, see this infographic created by Senator Windows.
The world becoming a more eco-friendly place isn't something that will happen overnight, it will take investment, forward thinking and effort at a global level. This infographic looks at what is being currently achieved, along with the plans to increase usage of renewable energy, technological advancements and highlighting the countries that are actively participating to help save the planet.
By 2040 it is predicted that there will still be countries that have chosen not to make pledges to OECD, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, who will be consuming more energy than countries who have joined. To try and off-set the disparity billions (US dollars) will need to be spent on renewable energies, with on-shore wind being top on the forecast list.
Although a global problem for industry and commerce, we can also do ‘our bit' to lower our carbon footprint. Many eco-friendly innovations have been produced to make ‘going green' a whole lot easier for us at home and work.
Simple things like turning lights off, opting for public transport and using rechargeable batteries may not appear much, however, if every household and workplace took these measures, and more, it would make a huge difference in the amount of energy consumed, which in turn helps towards governments achieving their targets to lower climate change and help save a disaster.
Fracking has been hailed as a revolution in energy creation but critics say it's cost to the economy, environment and health is too steep of a price to pay. This infographic from 911 Metallurgist dissects the detail on gas fracking and considers the true cost of this form of fuel.