Solar Energy: Not Always as Green as You Think

People are slowly waking up to the realization that they need to be careful about what materials they use in creating the products they buy. With many of the bigger brands taking the step of committing to 100% recyclable and reusable packaging, many more individuals are starting to understand the damage they are doing to the environment by just throwing things away with no second thought.

While many are starting to care about the planet, the concept of “going green” can still be quite elusive.

To better assist with this transition, SEER (Solar Energy Rating), a nonprofit organization that focuses on helping homeowners understand and utilize the benefits of solar energy, has published the following guidelines to help consumers make the right choices in favor of the environment.

Buy What You Need

One of the biggest issues surrounding going green is a matter of money and resources. If you’re serious about reducing your impact on the environment, it’s going to take some real investment and commitment. But this is a worthwhile endeavor that can provide many benefits to your life and wallet.

When you purchase new equipment or furnishings that are environmentally-friendly, it’s generally because the manufacturer saw a lucrative market in selling “green” products and took the opportunity to create and grow an eco-friendly customer base. Having invested in the manufacturing line and logistics to fulfill these orders, the manufacturer now has to make a profit off the investment they’ve made in order to remain in business.

If you truly want to “go green,” there are a number of consumer goods you can purchase that are more cost-efficient, and in some cases, even healthier. You should not feel bad about purchasing these products because they were made in a more earth-friendly manner. Instead, you should feel proud that you’re making a smart and mindful choice for your own wellbeing.

Consider The Source

When you’re purchasing goods, one of the first things you should do is consider the source and the way the product was produced. If you live in a country where large-scale agriculture is the standard, chances are the food you’re consuming was grown using chemical fertilizers and pesticides, which can have a negative impact on the environment. If you’re growing your own food or getting your groceries from local farmers, it’s best to buy organic.

In the case of solar energy, you should get your energy from renewable and sustainable sources. This means that the energy producing devices will be renewed and will not take years to decompose once their use has ended. The following are some of the most popular and least-toxic ways to produce energy:

  • Hydropower: Producing energy from the flow of water. Generally considered the most eco-friendly and reliable form of renewable energy. However, it’s still considered a “big” energy consumer due to the amount of power needed to operate the plant and pump the water.
  • Wind Power: Producing energy from the flow of air. Similar to hydropower, wind power doesn’t tend to cause as much damage to the environment as other forms of renewable energy. However, the blades used to capture the energy can cause harm if they are not well-protected against extreme temperatures and high winds.
  • Biomass Power: Producing energy from plants and trees. Generally considered one of the most eco-friendly forms of renewable energy. The problem is that the biomass used to generate the power can be quite damaging to the environment if not sustainably collected and processed.
  • Solar Power: Producing energy from the sun. Considered the fastest growing source of renewable energy. While solar energy doesn’t have the same negative impact on the environment as other forms of renewable energy, it is still considered a “dirty” source of energy. The reason being that lots of chemicals are needed to manufacture the materials used to make the panels, and once the panels are thrown away, they become toxic waste requiring special disposal.
  • What is nuclear power?
  • Storing Energy: If you’re really determined to go green, you may consider converting some of your energy-consuming devices to energy-generating ones. This way, you won’t need to rely as much on the grid to supply you with electricity and could produce more energy whenever you want. There are pros and cons to storing energy, but many people are realizing the environmental benefits of having on-site power generation.
  • Use Recycled Materials
  • Going green doesn’t have to be as hard as you think it is. If you’re determined to reduce your carbon footprint and become more eco-friendly, it’s possible to do so while enjoying a more sustainable lifestyle. You just have to be persistent and make a list of everything you consume and how you consume it. From there, you can identify areas where you can make improvements and be more mindful about your choices. In addition, you can join environmental organizations that promote sustainability and fight for the planets’ behalf. But until then, it’s up to you to do your part for the environment by purchasing “green” products and becoming more mindful about the way you consume energy.

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