Over the years, an increasing number of disciplines have become interested in the concept of creating a sustainable environment. Green Architecture is one of these disciplines and its goal is to create green buildings. These are commercial and residential buildings whose science and style accord with the principles of sustainability.
Green architecture has two clear goals. Its first goal is to minimize the resources used when constructing a building. Its second goal is to provide the building with a form of energy that is inexpensive, does not produce harmful emissions and pollution. Moreover, it’s essential for the future that these homes only use renewable energy.
It’s possible that in the future, all homes will be green buildings. Besides improving the environment, green buildings will also create immense cost savings on energy use. However, even if you don’t live in a green building now, you can still enjoy the benefits of cost saving by enrolling in a new electricity and natural gas plan depending on where you live. If, for instance, you live in Alberta, you have quite a few options. Direct Energy Edmonton and other competitive energy suppliers are making it much easier for homeowners to use the same quantity of electricity at a lower rate.
Types of Alternative Energy Sources
An alternative energy source is one that does not consume fossil fuels. There are numerous advantages to using these alternative energy sources, including an abundance of energy and little or no pollution.
Although there are a wide number of alternative energy sources, including tapping into the energy produced by ocean waves or using hydrogen energy, the most common alternative energy sources available right now are hydroelectric energy, solar energy, geothermal energy, and wind energy.
Let’s take a quick look at each one:
1. Hydroelectric Energy:
This is the most popular form of alternative energy because it has been widely used throughout the world for a number of years.
The USGS Water Science School explains the important role it plays in the US: “Although most energy in the United States is produced by fossil-fuel and nuclear power plants, hydroelectricity is still important to the Nation, accounting for about 7% of total energy production. Nowadays, huge power generators are placed inside dams. Water flowing through the dams spin turbine blades (made out of metal instead of leaves) which are connected to generators. Power is produced and is sent to homes and businesses.”
2. Solar Energy:
Solar energy is used to generate light and heat, and it is influenced by the sun’s orbital path. It’s extracted either by Solar Thermal or by Photovoltaic Cells.
There are actually two forms of solar energy: active and passive energy.
Active solar energy uses electrical and mechanical technology. For instance, collection panels to capture, convert, and store it for future needs.
Passive solar energy uses the duration of sunlight, the position of the sun, and the intensity of the sun’s rays to heat a specified area.
Solar energy is clean and renewable and the equipment used to harness this energy like solar panels require almost no maintenance. Naturally, this form of energy is ineffective in cold climates where there is not enough sunlight to capture and use.
3. Geothermal Energy:
The word “geo” means earth while the word “thermal” means energy, so this is the science of drawing energy from the earth. Geothermal energy can be used for many household requirements because it is clean and it is renewable.
Here is how it works:
Magma, molten rock, produces heat, with the temperature rising about 3 degrees Celsius every 100 meters below ground level. At a depth of 10,000 meters, the temperature is high enough to boil water. Geothermal heat pumps capture the steam from boiling water and use it to turn generators.
4. Wind Energy:
Wind energy opened up the world for navigation because it powered sailing ships. Today, a windmill can be used to power electric lights, pump water, and facilitate crop irrigation. Despite its proven success in many countries for a number of years, it has not gained much acceptance in the United States.
Although this is a clean and renewable source of energy, it has some limitations. The first limitation is that it does not work well in areas of low wind and it is often too noisy to be used close to residential neighborhoods.
Wind energy is useful for industrial use through the use of wind farms. These are fields of wind turbines that capture wind power and feed it into a power grid.
We Face An Uncertain Future
Besides the need to conserve resources and reduce energy costs, one reason green architecture is so interested in exploring the use of alternative energy is that there is growing concern about what will happen when world oil production will reach its peak. At the beginning of our new century, it was estimated to occur as early as 2010, but now experts expect it to be 2020, which is not too far away. After the peak, fossil fuels will not be exhausted, but they will begin to fall and prices will begin to rise. Currently, 95% of the world’s energy supply comes from fossil fuels and only 3% from alternative energy. Most of the public is not even aware of this urgent need to find clean, renewable energy before everything comes to a complete standstill.