How to Determine the Best Source of Green Energy
Green energy is a form of energy that does not rely on fossil fuels. It is also known as renewable energy. To determine the best source of green energy for where you are located, you'll need to know a little about the energy sources, their availability and costs. What is "best" is a subjective assessment but basically, you need to be able to access it, afford it and get sufficient benefits from it.
Understand what solar energy is.Solar energy is about turning sunlight into energy we can use to heat and cool our houses, run appliances and vehicles, etc. It has become more viable and more cost effective to use in recent years, although more development continues to try to improve on both the amount of energy captured and the amount stored. Solar energy can be divided into the following:
- Solar PV: This is the traditional solar panels. PV stands for photo-voltaic.
- Concentrated PV: This uses lenses or curved mirrors to focus sunlight onto PV cells. It is more efficient.
- Concentrated solar thermal: This uses mirrors to concentrate sunlight into heating a substance such as salt or liquids.
Use solar energy if you live somewhere that receives a lot of sun.Solar energy is great for hot water systems in the average home and for garden lighting, and other things. The downside is that it won't be so effective when the amount of sun is low, and it doesn't work at night unless you have a way to store it.
Visit a local place that stocks solar equipment.They will be able to show you the latest possibilities that use solar power and give you the estimated costs for installing it in your home.
- Even if you only use solar energy for a few things on your property, this is a benefit that will save you money and emit less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. You'll be doing your part to minimize such emissions.
Understand what wind energy is.This is about capturing the kinetic energy of wind to power mechanical devices. Humans have been doing this for as long as they've known how to make windmills and water wheels. Wind power is usually generated using turbines with blades nowadays and many power companies are able to sell electricity created from wind power to you.
Consider using wind if you live somewhere that has plenty of wind and/or has wind farms.You could try contacting your local energy company and asking if it provides wind powered electricity as an option. If not, consider putting in a small wind turbine on your own property. You'll need to check local planning laws about the permissibility of adding such a structure to your property.
Consider the downsides.Wind energy is unpredictable. If you have a long period of no wind, you won't get any power at all from this energy source. Always have an alternative power source that you can rely on, or team this up with another green energy source.
Using Hydro Power
Understand what hydro power is.This form of renewable energy uses water falling from a height to produce energy. It is usually sourced from large commercially produced dams and sold to you via a power company; hydro-power schemes cost a lot to put in place but once built, they last for a long time.
Call your power company and ask whether it offers hydro-powered electricity as an option.This will only be an option in areas where there is a good water supply and the infrastructure has been put in place.
Consider micro-hydro power on your own property.If you have a stream that runs regularly and strongly through your property, it may be possible to install a micro-hydro system. Look online for retailers and ask plenty of questions about the effectiveness of this system for your terrain and water availability.
Understand what geothermal power is.This is basically about harnessing the heat from under the Earth and people have been using it for thousands of years, such as through hot springs. Heat pumps can be used to bring heat back up from the Earth and back into it to warm and cool your house.
Talk to a company that specializes in this system.It can be done in many places of the world, but not everywhere is suitable, so you'll need to find out about your own area first. Realize that the initial set-up will likely be costly but with free heating and cooling thereafter, from a very reliable source, it may well work out to be ideal, especially if you plan on living in the same place for a long time.
Understand what biofuels are.Biofuels are made from plants or biomass. It is considered green because it is renewable and does not create a net increase in carbon dioxide emissions (the amount it releases when burned is taken back up again by plants when they grow again). However, biofuels are considered controversial because they use plants that are also human food. If their use displaces crop growth, this can cause feeding problems for the world's growing population. Also, a lot of biofuels have been grown where forests once stood, at the expense of old growth and tropical forests, destroying biodiversity.
- Another downside to biomass burning is that it is a source of indoor air pollution for many people around the world.
Find out about the source and sustainable management of biofuels you buy.If you aren't convinced about the source, don't use it and make a complaint to the company providing it. Don't rely on biofuels as your main source of future green energy; treat it as a transitional energy form that will help you move from fossil fuel use to other renewable forms of energy.
- Some biofuels are made from waste plant matter, such as sugar crop waste. In this case, they're using something that would just be left to rot anyway. There are acceptable sources out there, just be knowledgeable about the source.
Energy Efficiency and Reducing Usage
Make your home more energy efficient.This is another way of "greening" your energy by reducing your usage of it. Purchase appliances that use less power (many countries have star or energy ratings for appliances) and buy less of them.
Turn power off and don't leave things on stand-by.The less power you're consuming, the less energy you'll need to pay for and the less carbon dioxide emissions your home will be making.
- While many green energy options that you can install on your own property require an initial outlay of money, you'll usually save a lot of money in the upcoming years by paying lower commercial power bills and in some countries, even feeding the electricity you produce back into the grid, meaning thatyouget paid!
- Tidal energy is another possibility but it is expensive and few places in the world are optimal for building it, so this sort of energy may not be an option open to you.
- Some people consider nuclear energy to be green energy, while others do not. Where you stand on it should be based on doing your own thinking and research first; don't simply embrace it or push it aside because of things you've "heard". Learn about it properly first.
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