It’s no secret that the Midwest is a hub for innovative technology. The fertile soil and extreme climates of this part of the country have spawned countless discoveries and influenced many industries, including energy. Now is a great time to be in the Midwest; many believe the “fourth industrial revolution” is taking place right now, and it’s all being fueled by renewable energy sources.
One of the first steps to going green is to switch to using energy generated by renewable sources. As the name suggests, renewable energy is energy that can be generated from sources that are not unlimited, such as the sun and wind. Naturally, if you live in an area where it doesn’t get dark at night or it doesn’t rain all year round, you’re going to be dependent on other sources for energy. Fossil fuels, like coal and oil, are sources of renewable energy, which are currently providing around 80% of the world’s energy needs. However, the worldwide demand for fossil fuels is soaring, and it’s projected to hit 104 billion tons by next year. Unfortunately, many fossil fuels are detrimental to the planet. For instance, burning coal to generate electricity is closely tied to causing climate change.
Fortunately, alternative energy sources are available, and some are even cost-effective. One such source is solar energy. Unlike fossil fuels, which are non-renewable and can’t be stored for later use, solar energy is generated by the Sun and can be stored for later use. That means you can use it when you need it and won’t be adversely affected by fluctuating energy prices. Some estimates reveal that the cost of solar panels has decreased by 80% in the last few years and is now less than the cost of electricity purchased from traditional power plants. To learn more, check out the following resources:
Invest In Solar With These Helpful Hints
If you’ve been thinking about investing in solar energy, here are some helpful hints to get you started.
First off, make sure you purchase a high-quality solar panel that converts sunlight directly into electricity. There are various sizes and shapes of solar panels available, so find one that fits your budget and needs. Remember, quality matters, and so does the quantity of sunlight that it can capture. If you have a large roof that provides a lot of sunshine, consider purchasing a solar panel that is a couple of kilowatts in capacity to provide you with more electricity.
Most importantly, don’t be fooled by costly rebates and incentives offered by energy companies. While these might seem like a great deal, keep in mind that solar energy isn’t as expensive as you might think. With the cost of solar panels decreasing, more people are interested in purchasing them, and that means there’s more supply than demand. As a result, you might end up paying more for energy than you would have otherwise paid for a standard power plant. Additionally, make sure to purchase quality energy-efficient appliances and equipment to lower your electricity bills. Doing so can reduce your yearly energy expenditure by up to 30%. For example, upgrading your refrigerator to a model that runs on alternative energy might only cost you an additional $400 per year, but it could mean $1,200 per year in savings (assuming you upgrade at the same time you’re replacing it).
Also, don’t forget about insurance. Just because your solar panel system is now done doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider insurance. In the event of a catastrophic accident or damage, having enough insurance coverage could avoid some or all of your financial distress. Some people even choose to protect themselves against the unknown by purchasing what’s known as a homeowners association (HOA) insurance policy. HOAs offer coverage for incidents that occur within the community, such as accidents, natural disasters, and vandalism. Additionally, some HOA policies even cover the cost of replacing or repairing your roof, windows, and external walls due to extreme weather conditions or animals (like termites or birds).
Consider Other Options
While solar energy is a great option for those seeking to be more eco-friendly, it doesn’t necessarily solve your entire energy needs. If you’re seeking a complete and affordable solution, you might want to consider other options, like wind power. Wind energy uses wind power stations that harness the wind’s energy to generate electricity. Although the amount of wind energy that can be harnessed varies by location (for example, strong winds are usually found near the Rocky Mountains), it is a completely renewable energy source and doesn’t pose the same threats to the environment as fossil fuels does. Additionally, because wind energy is entirely dependent on nature, the amount of electricity that it generates can fluctuate significantly, making it more flexible and cost-effective than traditional power plants. For more information on wind energy, check out the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Just like reducing your energy consumption, one of the simplest ways to reduce your eco footprint is to reduce, reuse, and recycle. When resources are thrown away, they usually end up in a landfill until they decompose. However, the decomposition process of garbage produces toxic gases that continue to haunt us. Instead of letting garbage decompose in our landfills, we should be taking steps to re-use and recycle it. For example, when you’re done with your laptop, don’t just throw it away. Instead, take it back to the company that you bought it from and ask them if they have something similar in stock. Similarly, when you’re done using a can or a plastic bottle, don’t just throw it away. Instead, find a good purpose for it, such as a compost bin or a recycled paper product
Additionally, many local governments offer what’s known as a kerbside composting service. In the event you have a large garden and you don’t want to keep spending money on fresh flowers, consider investing in a composting machine. These machines turn organic waste into rich soil that you can use to grow your organic vegetables and flowers. Not only is it a great way to reduce your carbon footprint, but it’s also good for your health. When you grow your own food, you know exactly what goes into it. There are also some great composting recipes that you can find online, which you can use to enhance the quality of your compost.
Turn Off The Lights
If you’re constantly using energy-consuming appliances and electronics, you might want to consider turning them off. You can save a lot of electricity by unplugging or turning off various devices – including your laptop, TV, and cell phones. There are also some great apps for your mobile device that can help you manage your home’s energy use and monitor your energy costs. For example, on Twitter, you can follow @EcoSwitchery, which is run by Sustainability Consultant Charis Klinke and offers free and simple tips on how to go green.
As exciting as the emerging field of renewable energy is, it’s still relatively new. The tech isn’t perfect and isn’t cost-effective for everyone yet. However, it’s a smart investment for those seeking to be environmentally conscious and cost-effective.