As fossil fuel prices continue to rise — anyone who has filled up their car with a tank of gas in the past few years will recognize this sticker shock — people have begun looking for new and creative ways of weaning themselves off this limited resource. From solar panels to heat exchangers, smart electrical grids to geothermal heat pumps, there is technology out there now and coming down the road soon that promises to help move the world toward a greener, more sustainable future.
Smart Electrical Grids
The most moderate of the methods of reducing dependency on fossil fuels, but also among the most flexible. In essence, this technology relies on information technology systems and real-time communication to move electricity away from low-usage areas and toward high-usage ones. In reality, these types of technologies have been in place since the 1980s with automated meter reading for large consumers of electricity, but it has continued to evolve and adapt to new technologies.
Especially in new home construction, it has become a popular trend to use green technologies to maximize energy efficiency. One of the most energy-efficient technologies one can build into one’s house is a geothermal system of some sort. By harnessing the constant temperature of the earth below the ground, it is possible in warmer seasons to cool a house and in colder seasons to warm it with little or no expended energy with a heat pump.
Especially practical in heavy-traffic public areas, heat ex-changers tap into the simple realization that many bodies together in one place produce a lot of heat. By capturing this heat, these systems can convert it to things like hot water which can then be used to reduce heating costs or make hot water for washing.
Solar energy is the most recognizable form of green energy in most of the world, largely because it has been around the longest and is the technology most easily adaptable to home use. By harnessing the energy produced by the sun, solar panels are able to harness the photons in the sun’s light and turn them into electrons; in essence, they convert light directly into electricity that can then be used or stored. For a relatively moderate price, homeowners can install their own solar panels and take advantage of this infinitely renewable resource. As the technology evolves, panels will get cheaper and more efficient, making this a good choice for homeowners worldwide.