It’s no secret the current model of how we utilize natural resources isn’t sustainable. Fossil fuel consumption is leading to global climate change, while at the same time we are rapidly depleting natural resources that once gone are basically irreplaceable.
Thankfully, every month there are new advancements in renewable and sustainable technologies that will make the world a greener place. Individually, we need to invest, embrace, or drive demand towards these renewable technologies in any way we can in our daily lives. Here are 10 renewable technologies making the world a greener place.
1. Localized Solar Arrays
Solar arrays are more affordable these days and really effective at creating green, localized energy in our homes and businesses. Over the last few years, the initial cost of a solar array has dropped dramatically and can be close to no initial outlay depending on finance and tax incentives. The federal government and many states offer attractive incentives for both individual and business owners. In many cases now, the terms are basically a lease agreement where simply allow the solar company to install the solar array on your root at no cost to you. In return, you agree to buy back the power generated at a long-term pre-set price and allow them to sell off any excess.
2. Improved Insulation
By investing in better insulation, we can avoid unnecessarily high heating and cooling bills from lost energy. On average, a poorly insulated home will waste 1,900 dollars each year in heating and cooling costs. Replacing aging and poorly installed insulation will recoup costs overtime and keep your home or business more comfortable year-round.
3. Localized Wind Generators
Wind turbines aren’t limited to large-scale operations anymore. Now, we can install smaller versions in our backyards and create localized energy. A variety of systems are available with different levels of power producing capabilities. The time it takes to recoup costs will vary based on the price and production capabilities of each system.
4. Eco-friendlier Air Compressors
Manufacturers are using efficiency quotient technology to evaluate the energy efficiency of air compressors in industrial settings. Representatives first assess air compressor systems and then make recommendations for cost-saving strategies. Ultimately, this results in less waste for manufacturers and eco-friendlier operating conditions – not to mention cost-savings!
5. Rainfall Gardens
Impervious surfaces increase the volume of rainfall runoff and can lead to excess flooding. To help mitigate this problem, we can install rainfall gardens in low lying areas around parking lots or in our yards to collect excess rainwater. The plants in the garden absorb excess contaminants and use them for their growth. For small lots without a lot of space, use a rain barrel to collect excess water for future use. If you install the barrel yourself, the cost can be relatively inexpensive.
6. Sustainable Biogas
Biogas is a widely available renewable resource we can use to generate electricity. It’s produced through the fermentation of organic materials including animal and human waste. This technology is especially attractive in industrial applications. Wastewater treatment facilities can use methane produced by anaerobic digesters to generate electricity to fuel plant processes and the surrounding area.
7. Energy Star Appliances
Energy star appliances can save you up to 30 percent on your energy bills every month. Additionally, they are proven to perform better which translates to lower operation and maintenance costs. Trade in the old appliances in your breakroom or home to take advantage of these savings. Be sure to recycle that old, energy inefficient refrigerator instead of keeping it running for over-flow, or secondary use. It is better to fully use the new, energy efficient refrigerator instead.
8. Renewable Energy Storage
The main problem with renewable energy is its variability. Unlike fossil fuels, renewable energy can’t be generated on demand and depends on environmental conditions. New advances in battery technology are making longer-term renewable energy storage a more viable option, which will reduce the reliance on grid-supplied energy. Communities located in natural disaster regions may regain power more quickly as they won’t need to wait as long for repairs to damaged distribution lines.
Algae-based biofuel is a renewable energy resource which can be sustainably farmed and used instead of fossil fuels. The water-based plant can produce up to 15 times the amount of oil compared to other biofuel sources. Scientists are performing research to determine the most efficient strains of algae to maximize energy output.
10. Double Pane Windows
We can lose a lot of energy for indoor climate control to poorly sealed, single pane windows. Although double pane windows are expensive, they can drastically reduce annual heating and cooling costs which overtime, will pay for the original investment. Additionally, they also create a more comfortable indoor environment.
Wherever we can take advantage of the new technologies available in the renewable and sustainable energy sector, the more we can be successful at reducing our carbon footprint, while making the world a greener place.
Guest Contributor: This article was contributed by Megan Ray Nichols, a freelance science writer and editor of Schooled By Science, a popular resource for interesting developed in science. Megan is a STEM writer and regular contributor to The Naked Scientists, Manufacturing Business Technology & IoT Evolution.