While using alternative sources of energy is a right way for you to save money on your heating and cooling bills, it also allows you to contribute in vital ways to both the environment and the economy. Alternative energy sources are renewable, environmentally sustainable sources that do not create any by-products that are released into the atmosphere like coal and fossil fuels do.
Burning coal to produce electricity releases particulates and substances such as mercury, arsenic, sulfur and carbon monoxide into the air, all of which can cause health problems in humans.
Other by-products from burning coal are acid rain, sludge run-off and heated water that is released back into the rivers and lakes nearby the coal-fired plants. While efforts are being made to create “clean coal,” businesses have been reluctant to use the technology due to the high costs associated with changing their plants.
If you are considering taking the plunge and switching to a renewable energy source to save money on your electric and heating bills or to help the environment, you have a lot of decisions to make. The first decision you need to make is which energy source to use in your home or business. Do you want to switch to solar energy, wind power, biomass energy or geothermal energy?
Emissions from homes using heating oil, vehicles, and electricity produced from fossil fuels also pollute the air and contribute to the number of greenhouse gases that are in the atmosphere and depleting the ozone layer. Carbon dioxide is one of the gases that is released into the air by the burning of fossil fuels to create energy and in the use of motor vehicles. Neither coal nor fossil fuels are sources of renewable energy.
Replacing those energy sources with solar, biomass, geothermal or wind-powered generators will allow homes and businesses to have an adequate source of energy always at hand. While converting to these systems can sometimes be expensive, the costs are quickly coming down, and they pay for themselves in just a few short years because they supply energy that is virtually free. In some cases, the excess energy they create can be bought from the business or the homeowner.
While there are more than these three alternative energy options, these are the easiest to implement on an individual basis. Other sources of alternative energy, for instance, nuclear power, hydroelectric power, and natural gas require a primary power source for the heat so it can be fed to your home or business. Solar, wind, biomass and geothermal energy can all have power sources in your home or business to supply your needs.
1. Solar Energy
Solar power is probably the most widely used source of these options. While it can be expensive to convert your home or business over to solar energy, or to an alternative energy source for that matter, it is probably the most natural source to turn over to.
You can use the sun’s energy to power your home or business and heat water. It can be used to passively heat or light up your rooms as well just by opening up your shades.
2. Wind Power
You need your wind turbine to power your home or office, but wind energy has been used for centuries to pump water or for commercial purposes, like grinding grain into flour. While many countries have wind farms to produce energy on a full-scale basis, you can have your wind turbine at home or at your business to provide electricity for your purposes.
3. Biomass Energy
Biomass energy has rapidly become a vital part of the global renewable energy mix and account for an ever-growing share of electric capacity added worldwide. Biomass is the material derived from plants that use sunlight to grow which include plant and animal material such as wood from forests, material left over from agricultural and forestry processes, and organic industrial, human and animal wastes.
Biomass comes from a variety of sources which include wood from natural forests and woodlands, agricultural residues, agro-industrial wastes, animal wastes, industrial wastewater, municipal sewage and municipal solid wastes.
4. Geothermal Energy
A geothermal heat pump helps cool or heat your home or office using the earth’s heat to provide the power needed to heat the liquid that is run through the system to either heat your home in the winter or cool it off in the summer. While many people use it, it doesn’t provide electricity, so you still need an energy source for that.