For thousands of years, we have been benefiting from the abundant gifts of nature. We have been taking advantage of what we thought was a bottomless pit of natural resources. However, with the fast and steady growth of the world’s population, backed by innate human greed, we are slowly but surely moving towards a natural resource scarcity crisis. If you are lucky enough to be living in a country where you do not have to worry about basic needs like clean running water or sustainable electricity, this does not mean that you should not be alarmed. Every single one of us, no matter where we are in the world, have to rethink our relationship with Mother Nature.
Now is the time to start looking for more sustainable energy sources and consider water recycling if we want our children and the following generations to have a chance of survival. You have to believe that you, as an individual, have the power to make the change that you desire to see in the world. You have to start small, and, with time, the steps that you and others take will snowball into more meaningful and effective changes. One of the easiest and most accessible ways that you can start is by switching to renewable sources of energy.
Renewable or clean-energy sources -as they are commonly referred to- are sources of energy that cannot be depleted or, in simpler words, do not run out. It is important to note that fossil fuels, petroleum, and coal, which have been the main sources of energy for ages now, are all non-renewable, as they cannot be developed nor created. Given the excessive and prolonged dependency on these resources, we can no longer rely on them as our main energy sources. This created a dire need for more dependable sources that can be renewed as per human needs, and this is how renewable sources like solar and hydroelectric energy came about.
Not only are these energy sources replenishable, but they are also environmentally friendly, unlike the typical fossil fuels that account for the exponential rise in carbon dioxide levels in the air, which is actively exacerbating the climate change crisis. So, to start off the decade on the right note, continue reading on for renewable energy sources that you should try this 2021 to do your part in preserving our planet.
The term biomass energy refers to energy harnessed using any organic matter like wood, sugar cane, or grass. Biomass energy is a very reliable source of renewable energy that is mainly used to generate thermal energy, but it can also be used for electricity or turned into liquid biofuels like biodiesel. In cold areas, like the United Kingdom and some states in the United States, using wood pellets for heating by biomass energy is a common practice for a reason.
Wood is one of the greenest and cleanest sources of energy known to humankind. If you live somewhere near Manchester in the UK, the experienced manufacturers at Buy Firewood Direct recommend reading up on the different species of hardwood so that you can choose the best type for your needs. When purchasing dried logs or firewood, try to find a reliable, environmentally-conscious retailer who owns their direct manufacturing sources, as they can ensure that high ethical standards are met to guarantee environmental sustainability, which is often the main concern of biomass energy critics. Nonetheless, this doesn’t take away from the fact that switching to biomass energy is indeed a step in the right direction of environmental preservation, and having your own local supplier will allow you to fully depend on this source of energy.
By burning wood pellets for heating around your home, you can considerably limit your non-renewable energy consumption. Practice caution when burning wood, always make sure that the fire is attended to, and have fire extinguishers handy in case an accident should happen.
Even though the efficiency and superiority of renewable energy sources are well-known, up until this day, a little less than ten percent of the energy we consume comes from renewable sources. This is due to the fact that cultivating energy from renewable sources is expensive and sometimes unattainable. However, if you happen to live in a place that is naturally windy all year round, you can start setting up your own version of windmills to fulfill your energy needs. Wind is one of the cleanest sources of energy, with zero waste from electricity generation through windmills. People who have open fields prefer this source over any other. The best thing is that you can actually install a long-life personal windmill system by yourself.
If you care about sourcing clean energy and live in a place where the average annual wind speed is at least four meters per second, then a windmill electricity system will be the right choice for you. Once you confirm that your land qualifies for an electric windmill system and you have checked with the local authorities to fulfill any legal requirements, you can get to work. Find a credible windmill manufacturer and seek their guidance to determine your energy budget and find the right size and height of the wind turbines that will cover your residential needs. Since installing your personal windmill system will come at a relatively high price, you want to make sure you carry out all of the annual inspections and maintenance work to make it last for as long as it should.
Rooftop solar panels that were once very expensive are now becoming more affordable and accessible. This form of renewable energy is widely used for heating and generating electricity for residential needs. The noticeable drop in solar electricity cost is a good enough reason to give this clean source a try. By installing solar energy panels that capture sunlight rays and convert them into electricity to power your house, you can save thousands of dollars on utility bills. To install the solar panels, you have a few options, if your rooftop allows it, you can go for the classic rooftop panels. Otherwise, you can use community solar gardens where you agree with other residents in your neighborhood to install a solar system that you can all share. Although theoretically, solar power should be sufficient to cover all of your residential energy needs, you have to allow yourself a margin just to be on the safe side.
Work with your solar panel installation company to identify the right margin that you should factor in so that you can look for other supplementary energy sources. Good solar panels should last anywhere from 20 to 30 years, so you have to make sure that you are dealing with a trusted supplier who can also provide the necessary maintenance work. Even if you do not plan on continuing to live in the same house for that long, you can still benefit from the solar panels as they can increase the value and purchasing appeal of your house. One downside of solar power that you have to account for, though, is the cost of solar energy storage. The chargeable batteries that are used for storage are rather expensive, so it is better to plan a system where you consume all of the energy during the day to give up the need for batteries.
Geothermal energy refers to the energy harnessed from the Earth’s heat. In many places, especially where natural hot springs and volcanic areas are present, geothermal energy can be a great renewable energy source. By installing geothermal heat pumps, you can cut up to 50% of your electricity consumption. The heat pumps do not require a huge space and are quiet enough to place nearby your house. Most lands can allow for geothermal pump installations, however, you need to check with your selected installer to confirm that this energy source is suitable for your home and will give you lasting benefits that you can enjoy for tens of years.
Micro Hydro Power
Hydropower is the method where water flow is controlled to generate electricity using dams. You can mimic this model on a smaller scale for your residential use by creating your own hydropower system using a few components. All you need is a waterwheel and a turbine to convert the gushing water from a nearby water source like a river or even a stream into electrical energy that you can use at home. Micro hydropower is clean and cheaper than solar and wind energy sources and can efficiently support a big house. It is also easy to set up and maintain by yourself, which will save you yet more money in the long run.
If, however, you are planning on expanding your property, you will need to look into other ways that can support your micro hydropower system since it is not an expandable source of energy. It is also important to note that during the summer months, you will likely experience less energy output, so make sure you have all the facts when weighing the pros and cons of installing a micro hydropower system.
A hybrid system combines the power of wind and solar energy for a renewable source to use at your home. Typically, on days where the sun is shining bright, there is usually less wind, which means that solar panels will do most of the work. Alternatively, on days where the wind is blowing fast, the sky would be filled with clouds and there won’t be enough sunlight for the solar panels to operate, so the wind turbines will take the lead on these days. As you can see, Wind turbines and solar panels work in tandem to cover each other’s shortcomings. Due to this heightened efficiency, this system is considered to be very reliable and highly consistent. You will, however, need to do double the work than if you are using only one of those energy sources.
Instead of finding different suppliers for each source, you will be much better off working with a company that is specialized in installing hybrid systems. This way you can ensure a hassle-free installation without any potential compatibility mixups. Professional hybrid system companies can also help you identify whether you will have enough excess energy that you can sell back to eliminate any possible waste, which is the main idea of switching to renewable energy sources as we previously discussed.
There are many ways to switch to clean energy sources and do your part as a responsible citizen of the world. You can actually start right now, even if you aren’t able to make the necessary installments to try one of the above energy sources yet. You can call your local energy provider and ask them to switch to green energy plans. If you think that the price of any of the above sources is out of your reach, remember what we talked about at the beginning of this article; start small. Make the switch in one room and see how this will affect your energy consumption levels and overall costs. Once you start seeing the benefits, you will be more encouraged to invest in making your whole house reliable on renewable energy sources.
If you are still in the early phase of building your dream house, it would be wise to look into integrating a renewable energy source from the very beginning. Talk with professional consultants and ask them to draft a cost simulation projecting the potential costs of different sources so that you can make an informed decision. In addition to that, plan to make passive energy sources work for you like strategically planning window placements to depend on solar energy for lighting as much as you can.
You also need to make sure that you are using the right insulating materials to cut back on your heating needs during the colder winter months. This mindful approach is the only way you can start effecting real environmental change. Thanks to today’s many technological advancements, now is the best time for average income-earners, who make up the majority of all societies, to implement new sustainability measures by switching to more renewable sources of energy to guarantee a better future for our children.