Giovanna Trabasso / 04/07/2021
Renewable Energy: Making Your Home Sustainable While Saving a Buck
Whether you are renting or a homeowner, everyone loves to save a buck. Bills pile up more quickly than you’d think. How about saving some money on your electric bill and being environmentally conscious? Renewable energy does it all! Using alternative energy sources can not only reduce your electricity bill but also the emission of greenhouse gasses. In 2019, renewable energy represented 11.4% of total energy consumption in the U.S. That represents 11.5 quadrillion BTUs powered by alternative energy sources! But we can still do better. Join the battle against climate change with the seven main sources of renewable energy. And while you’re at it, keep your money in your savings account, not your electricity bill.
1. Solar Energy
Solar energy is one of the most popular sources of renewable energy. It’s the go-to for many people and it works wonderfully! Most of the world has access to sunlight, making solar energy easy and convenient. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a bright, sunny day every day to harvest solar energy! However, do keep in mind that solar panels are not inexpensive. Solar energy is not mining or burning any sort of gasses nor does it need to be plugged into a grid. After the initial investment, in the long run, it will be saving you money on electricity. Since solar panels can be installed right at your home, solar energy doesn’t require power lines across communities in order to be accessed.
2. Wind Energy
Coming right after solar energy, wind energy is also incredibly popular. It works very similarly to solar energy, just harvesting a different source of energy. Wind farms require space and are often found in remote areas. For a small town or community to sustain itself on wind energy, it does require power lines to access the energy. Because wind farms can’t be as seamless as solar, they’re not often as desirable. However, they are still a renewable energy source that requires no mining or burning. In fact, the nature of wind farms can generate job opportunities for its community as it requires tending to.
Biomass comes from living organisms such as plants to create bioenergy. Energy being produced from biomass comes from the heat produced by burning it. It creates methane gas that is then used as fuel. Unfortunately, biomass works better in theory. This is because, for it to be fully renewable, it must produce the same amount that is being used. For example, if burning wood as bioenergy, the carbon dioxide it produces must be then converted into reforestation. For the common household, biomass is not the easiest renewable energy source.
We all know the Hoover Dam and hydroelectric plants! If you’ve heard about solar and wind energy, you’ve probably heard about hydroelectric. Like wind energy, hydroelectric works by using turbines to generate electricity in moving bodies of water. It can be harvested in fast-moving rivers, waterfalls, or by building dams to create artificial waterfalls. As long as the water is moving, there will be energy. However, hydroelectric might not be the most sustainable renewable energy source. Building dams can affect the natural ecosystems that live within that area. Like wind energy, it also requires a form of transportation of energy in order to power communities that surround it.
5. Ocean Energy
The ocean can be used as a different source of hydroelectric! Unfortunately, it requires proximity so only coastal towns would be able to benefit from ocean energy. The ocean can be very predictable as it relies on ties we can now monitor. There are two ways that the ocean can provide renewable energy. By using a thermal system, both the heat from the ocean’s surface and cold from its depths can be used interchangeably to generate power for an engine that creates electricity. A mechanical system can also be used by harnessing movement from the ocean’s waves.
6. Geothermal Energy
What’s missing from all of the renewable energy sources above? The Earth itself! Geothermal energy relies on the heat that has been trapped underneath the Earth’s crust. If the required plants to harvest geothermal energy weren’t so expensive, it could be our bigger source of renewable energy. You can build the entire system underground and not disrupt the surface. Ecosystems are left unchanged and we don’t have to worry about large spaces required to build the plants. Not to mention that geothermal energy is completely self-replenishing!
Want to make your renewable energy renewable? You absolutely can! Excess renewable energy can be used to produce hydrolysis in water tanks. The hydrogen product can then be used as an energy source in place of fossil fuels! On its own, hydrogen isn’t entirely renewable, but as a byproduct of other renewable energy sources, it becomes another way to run clean.
If you’re all about the sustainable lifestyle, check out our blog posts on Sustainability!
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