January 28, 2020
Using Sustainable Energy for the Future
Solar Energy: The greatest advantages of solar energy are that it is completely free and is available in limitless supply. Both of these factors provide a huge benefit to consumers and help reduce pollution. Replacing non-renewable energy with this type of energy is both environmentally and financially effective.
What is Sustainable Energy?
Sustainable energy is the practice of using energy in a way that “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Meeting the world’s needs for energy in a sustainable way is widely considered to be one of the greatest challenges facing humanity in the 21st century. Worldwide, nearly a billion people lack access to electricity, and around 3 billion people rely on smoky fuels such as wood, charcoal or animal dung in order to cook. These and fossil fuels are a major contributor to air pollution, which causes an estimated 7 million deaths per year. Production and consumption of energy emits over 70% of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions.
Wind Energy: Wind energy is another readily available energy source. Harnessing the power of wind energy necessitates the use of windmills; however, due to construction cost and finding a suitable location, this kind of energy is meant to service more than just the individual. Wind energy can supplement or even replace the cost of grid power, and therefore may be a good investment and remains a great example of sustainable development. Douglas Healy believes the mid-west is crucial for energy and says sustainable energy reduces the impact of pollution, providing a healthier form of power generation and independence from foreign oil reserves.
Air Conditioners to Control Humidity?
We all probably learned about it in earth science class, back in the day: air conditioners can reduce humidity. They do this by pulling warm air in and cycling it over cold coils. It produces condensation, removing moisture and reducing humidity in the air.
Now you’re an adult, living in the real world. There’s more to the story than what you learned in Earth Science.
Here’s the rub: it is still common for air conditioners to measure temperature but NOT humidity.
Can you guess why this is problematic?
Here’s the answer: the air conditioner stops running when the ideal temperature is reached, NOT when the ideal relative humidity is reached.
Therefore, a comfortable humidity level (for example, 55%) may never be reached!
What’s the solution? It’s multi-pronged.
A humidistat, which measures humidity, must be incorporated into the HVAC controller. What can be measured can be controlled.
Driving down the humidity level may make the room uncomfortably cold. Do it when no one is there.
Use correctly calibrated occupancy sensing. Some HVAC controllers come equipped with PIR (passive infrared) occupancy sensors.
Optionally, use an energy management system. It monitors humidity levels, ensuring RH% is where you want it without compromising occupant comfort.
Using Solar Panels to Save Energy
You know, the direction of your rooftop solar panels benefits your wallet more than the environment, according to multiple energy officials interviewed by The New York Times.
Virtually all homes point their solar panels south, where they can best capture rays from the sun when it rises in the southeast and sets in the southwest. That way, residents collect the most power possible throughout the day, which they can use in their own homes or sell to the grid (if they have any power leftover). But critics say the panels would actually do more good facing west, where they could capture sunlight during the midday and afternoon when energy is most needed.
And also, while south-facing solar panels are the most profitable for panel owners, they actually raise the demand for other power sources that they simultaneously put out of business. Relying on morning and evening sunlight means that solar panels aren’t producing as much as they could during the middle of the day, when communities need the bulk of their power. Therefore, homes with solar panels continue to rely on other power sources to support them during the middle of the day.