Most people like fall and winter because of the mild temperatures. Some like the changing of the leaves, or the blossoming of the flowers. But then there are the ones that are trying to watch their money, who love the decrease in energy prices. Ed at S&S tells his King of Prussia air conditioning clients to use common sense approaches to saving money. When spring comes on the heater isn’t run so often, and utility prices come down. Same thing in the fall, but in reverse. The air-conditioner is not used as much, and the natural cool temperatures keep everyone comfortable. So that just leaves two other seasons. Winter and summer.
For most of the utility costs are pretty much the same. The only variation is just a personal preferences of those who may stay warmer by choice or cooler by choice. But otherwise the electric or gas bills rise during this time of year. So what can you do to circumvent some of these charges? There are some simple procedures you can do to considerably cut down on your energy costs. The first is to take advantage of the spring and fall, and find out what temperature you are comfortable with. If it is 72 to 75 outside, and you feel at ease within that range, make a note of that for the upcoming winter season. So when the time comes to turn the heat up higher, you remember how comfortable you were in a lower temperature.
Now when things get really cold you can actually insulate your windows from the inside or out to keep cold away. Most hardware stores sell shrink wrap for windows and doors that you can apply yourself. It is a thick plastic that gets taped around the edges of your windows. If you are using this outdoors, you want to make sure you’re using waterproof tape. Then with a simple blow dryer heat up the outside of the plastic into it shrinks in the form that’s around your window. That will keep the draft out. While you’re at the same hardware store, you can get stripping that goes underneath your doors to prevent drafts from coming in there. For those who don’t use their attic very often, you could also use this method to seal up attic entry ways that are prone to extreme temperature changes. These are some simple tips and tricks that anyone can do, but they will go along way to saving you money during the extreme seasons.
While we have had solar technology for a while it is only now that the average person can start tapping into the sun for energy to power cars, homes and their businesses. Not only is this better for the environment and your carbon footprint it can also save you thousands of dollars on energy bills. But if you don’t understand how this all happens then let’s look at how solar energy works.
Solar Panel Technology
Basically solar panels take sunlight and convert it into electricity so you can power your home. You can get solar panels in different sizes and shapes that can work with your roof. They have differing technologies but the best ones will take advantage of every drop of sunlight that hits your roof throughout the day. Today’s solar panels can produce up to 70% more energy than past models. They are also built to withstand our climate including the harsh changes in temperature you can have over the course of the year in the northern parts of the world. Here is a look at how solar can work for you even in the harshest winter.
Installing Solar Panels on Your Home
Once you have chosen your solar panels now you need to decide where to put them. Placement is the key to generating enough power for your home. Most people either put them on the roof but the can go on the ground or you can build a canopy of solar panels. When you buy the panels the company will work with you to get them in the ideal spot. Once you have that figured out the installation process begins.
Keeping Track of Your System
Once you have everything in place and your system is up and running it will start generating power immediately. You can start running lights, appliances, TV’s and pretty much everything else in your home that relies on electricity. You can have a utility meter that will track not only the energy you are generating but how much you use. If you are lucky enough to generate more power than you need to run your home you can sell the excess to the utility company. The utility company will still continue to provide electricity for the times when your panels cannot. Bear in mind that where you live along with the time of year will determine how much energy you can produce and it will not be consistent. This is why you want to be able to keep track.
Solar panels have become more affordable due to the increase in demand, there are also tax incentive to switching to solar power so check with your state and federal governments to see what you qualify for.
There is a consensus among scientists that climate change is not only real but that is caused by carbon emissions and it is a man made phenomenon. We are forced to look at alternative sources of energy to not only reduce carbon emissions but our dependency on oil. There are many options that are being developed and they include solar power, wind energy, geothermal and nuclear power. But is nuclear a viable energy source? Yes, but it is not without risks, let’s take a closer look at nuclear energy.
How is Nuclear Energy Generated?
There are 2 methods for generating nuclear power, fission and fusion. Fission has the capacity to generate more than 10 million times the energy that the entire fossil fuel industry has ever produced. Fission, what we currently use is naturally occurring in the sun and it is used in our nuclear reactors. Atoms are split in order to convert nuclear into electrical energy. Uranium is split by a neutron and this generates tremendous amounts of heat, that heat is used to generate steam and power the turbines.
Nuclear fusion is a bit different. Elements like iron and nickel have binding energies in their nuclei and they can be combined to form heavier and more potent nucleus that will generate huge amounts of electricity. When they combine you have fusion. Fusion has been used in the nuclear industry in a very limited basis. It requires still a huge amount of research but the potential is enormous. At the same time fusion generates far less nuclear and radioactive waste than fission does.
Producing Nuclear Energy
The ITER Project was founded back in 2006 with the goal of having a nuclear reactor successfully producing nuclear fusion energy within 30 years. The project received harsh criticism from the green energy lobby as a pipe dream. Despite that there are more than 35 countries that are working toward making fusion energy a reality.
Is Nuclear a Viable Energy Source
The short answer is yes, but nuclear at this time is not without risk. Since the Fukushima disaster in Japan, nuclear energy has faced a backlash and countries like Germany have dismantled their nuclear energy programs. There is danger in nuclear power and there have been enough accidents worldwide to make us afraid of using it. However it does have the potential to generate tremendous amounts of badly needed energy. Right now the future of nuclear is uncertain, perhaps if we can make fusion a reality.