4 More Reasons Why Renewable Energy Wins

It would be difficult not to notice that more and more individuals and companies are turning to renewable sources of energy to satisfy their energy needs. This increased popularity of renewable fuel has caused many people to wonder about the reasons for the growing trends. The truth is, there are a number of reasons to choose renewable sources of energy over fossil fuels.

Renewable Energy Saves Money

Great savings are currently being realized by individuals and companies who make use of renewable energy and this trend is expected to continue in the future. It may take a considerable investment in the beginning for energy companies to build renewable energy facilities, however, once built, the costs are minimized through the use of ‘free fuel’ like solar and wind power. Significant savings can also be attained at the individual level. Homeowners who use renewable energy sources will have a more energy-efficient home and pay less per month to satisfy their energy needs.

Renewable Energy is Safer

Current statistics show that workers in oil, coal, and gas extraction industry work in some of the most dangerous environments possible. In fact, the industry experiences 27.5 deaths per 100,000 workers. This number is nearly eight times the 3.4 deaths per 100,000 workers for the economy as a whole. In addition, oil and gas companies have a substandard record of informing injured employees about their rights. So many individuals who are injured on these jobs do not receive the help and compensation they need and deserve. One study that was done at Wisconsin Medical College found that 1300 deaths can be avoided over the next decade by progressively shifting away from fossil fuels and making use of renewable energy sources. The study also found the general health and well-being of 700,000 U.S. workers will be positively affected.

Renewable Energy is Reliable

It is much less likely for solar and wind energy systems to experience the type of large scale system failures that happen with fossil fuels from time to time. There are two main reasons for this, first of all, these renewable energy sources are distributed systems. This term refers to the distribution of the system over a large geographical area. Secondly, wind and solar systems are made up of a number of individual solar arrays or turbines. This means if a few units malfunction the system as a whole will continue to function. Non-renewable energy sources like coal and natural gas are also highly dependent on sufficient water supply. These plants will suffer when the water needed is not available.

Renewable Energy Produces Jobs

The renewable energy industry is more dependent on human labor than other energy systems which are highly mechanized and automated. For example, humans are needed to maintain wind turbines and install solar panels. In 2016, the solar energy industry employed 260,000 people and another 100,000 worked in the wind energy industry. The numbers are expected to grow as more individuals and companies turn to renewable sources of energy.

The increasing popularity of renewable energy is clear for all to see. However, some people are unclear why this change is taking place. The four reasons profiled above are just a few of the reasons renewable energy is winning against fossil fuels.

3 Eco-Friendly Trends in Construction Equipment

When it comes to the latest trends in the construction industry, it seems that it is all the rage to be eco-friendly. One of the main reasons for this is simply because public awareness of our environmental footprint continues to get more prevalent with each passing year. This awareness has also been bolstered by increased legislation across the world. If you are looking to capitalize on this current demand, there are a number of eco-friendly construction trends that you should be aware of.

Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency with a construction company starts with the type of materials they use to construct energy-efficient homes. For example, almost every home constructed these days emphasizes light-emitting diodes (LEDs) instead of regular watt bulbs. However, that is just the beginning. Construction experts and architects also realize that they must build a home to work with the sun and not against it. For example, one of the things they do would be to position the building to make use of all of the benefits of the sun. Yet another thing they emphasize would be to create a “net-zero building,” which is a structure that produces as much energy as it consumes.

Protecting the Surrounding Environment

Keeping the environment around a construction site as safe as possible is one of the key endeavours of a green construction company. They begin this process by following a number of important procedures. For example, composite construction mats are particularly useful for protecting ecologically sensitive areas such as wetlands. Additionally, a lot of companies will administer procedures for effective waste removal. The last thing they want to do is emit a lot of waste into the surrounding environment, so many of them also have procedures in place to offer protection from chemical spills as well.

Energy-Efficient Construction Vehicles

More and more construction firms are looking into vehicles that will not use as much energy as their predecessors. One example of this would be machines that have interfaces in place in order to reduce fuel consumption. This heavy equipment has either an “economy mode” or an “on-demand throttle” that will only use engine power when it is needed. These machines also often have electronic monitoring systems for engine health and even the tires!

As you can see, many construction firms are getting serious about their impact on the environment. They not only want to construct buildings, but they also want to make sure the Earth is safe for our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

How Do Solar Panels Work?

The earth receives 173,000 terawatts of sunlight energy on a continual basis. That’s 10,000 times more than the total energy we use. One hour’s worth would power the planet for a year. This is a free and renewable power source, and it’s one that can bypass the harmful effects of energy generated by fossil fuels.

What They’re Made Of

Solar panels are mostly composed of silicon, which serves as a semiconductor. Semiconductors have properties between those of conductors and insulators, and these properties allow them to be affected by sunlight. There are two types of silicon used. Monocrystalline and polycrystalline are the two most popular types of solar panels. Polycrystalline panels are somewhat more efficient than monocrystalline, but they are still a bit more expensive. Work is also underway with materials such as Perovskites, which allow for cheap and lightweight printed cells.

How Sunlight Gets Turned into Electricity

A solar cell is an electronic device with a layer of negatively charged semiconductor (silicon) that contains more electrons placed over a layer of positively charged semiconductor with fewer electrons. The opposing charges create a repulsive field between the layers. When sunlight strikes the top layer, some of the electrons are knocked loose, creating holes. Due to the repulsive field between the layers, the holes migrate to the bottom of the lower layer while the loose electrons are pushed to the top and conducted away for power use. They are then returned to rejoin the previously migrated holes on the lower layer.

Why They’re Eco-Friendly

Because only electrons move – and they move in a continuous loop – nothing is lost. Solar cells can last for decades. Power remains cheap, which enables households and businesses to operate at an economical level. Electricity can also be decentralized and used in more direct and creative ways, eliminating the need for fossil fuel-generated lighting in remote locations and allowing for low-emissions farming. While fossil fuel power has a negative global impact and is limited, solar remains a free and renewable resource.

The cost of solar modules has dropped by 99 percent since the 1980s, and it’s still falling. In countries such as Spain, Germany, and Italy, solar energy is now cheaper than energy from the grid. Electrical storage is also being improved, and work is underway to use more effective semiconductor materials in multiple junctions that can catch more wavelengths of sunlight, bringing efficiency up from 25 percent to as much as 50 percent. Because the cost continues to drop as efficiency steadily improves, solar is a cheap and renewable energy source for the foreseeable future.

Limitless Energy are designers and installers of renewable energy systems in Wales and beyond. We are energy consultants for domestic and commercial projects and can produce reports detailing potential opportunities to help reduce energy consumption and receive financial support. If you have any questions about renewable energy systems, please feel free to contact us!

How to Build an Environmentally-Friendly Home

Building a home requires a lot of decisions. Every situation that calls for input can be investigated to determine actions that have the least negative impact on the environment. Some of those decisions are in the areas of heat sources, insulation, and construction waste.

Integrate Renewable Energy Sources

Your home needs a variety of heat sources. You want to heat the air for your family’s comfort. On-demand hot water is also helpful in today’s homes. There is a selection of alternatives that use renewable sources, such as solar, heat pumps and wood-based systems, to generate the heat you need.

  • Wood-burning stove. A wood-burning stove can be used instead of a furnace that burns a carbon fuel, such as natural gas or oil. You can have numerous stoves to heat areas around your home. Manufacturers now build stoves that have been approved to have a minimal air-quality impact. Some are even designed to provide hot water for the faucets in your home.
  • Solar hot water heater. Placing a panel on your roof to capture the heat of the sun and warm your hot water tank is a very efficient way to directly use solar energy in a simplistic form. One small panel on the roof to capture solar energy for heating water may be all you need.
  • Air and Ground Source Heat Pumps. Heat pumps gather solar heat energy from the air or ground and pumps this around your heating system. Both Ground and Air Source Heat Pumps save you money through improved efficiencies, reduce your CO2 emissions and even earn you money through government incentives. Heat pumps are fully automated with set and forget technology and low running costs, and have been around for more
    than 100 years.

Relevant: What’s the Most Sustainable Method of Heating Your Home?

Insulate Well

A draft-free home is more sustainable. It will stay warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. This will result in less fuel and energy use. Make sure you at least meet the required insulation levels for your area. Exceeding the requirements may cost a bit more during construction, but less energy usage over the long term is better for the environment and can save you money.

Relevant: The Complete Guide to Eco-friendly Insulation

Reduce Waste During the Building Process

Sustainable building doesn’t have to mean solar panels and geothermal heating; it can be much simpler. Good communication between the homeowner, the designer, and the home builder is key to reduce waste during construction. When homeowners are specific about requirements and communicate with the designers and architects, they can provide precise information to the builder. Exact details help assure owners get desired home features. Rework is costly in terms of time, money, and wasted materials. Also, owners and builders can consider the use of recycled materials. Recycled timbers, railroad sleepers, and ceramic tiles are just a few of the construction materials that can be kept from the landfill and reused. Locally-sourced materials can help to reduce carbon emissions in the transport process, as well.

Relevant: What is a Sustainable New Home?

When dreaming of and designing your new home, start from day one with consideration of the environment in mind. The result will be a quality, low-impact home.