The Covid-19 pandemic has led to an increased interest in self-sufficiency and resilience, with many people looking to reduce their carbon footprints, go green and become more autonomous.
While there is no clear indication that the pandemic is behind us, people are looking for a way to get back to “normal” as soon as possible. One way of doing this is by using more sustainable and renewable energy sources.
Whether you decide to go 100% nuclear or not, the reality is that renewable energy sources (RES) are here to stay. This being said, how can you maximize the benefits of solar energy and raw materials, such as wood, in your home or business?
The answer lies in creating a home or office that is both sustainable and functional, something that can be challenging when operating on a tight budget. Fortunately, the pandemic has opened up a world of opportunities for those who want to make some big changes, and as we move into a post-pandemic world, many affordable new products and technologies have emerged to help make this possible.
Nuclear Has Its Place
The global impact of Covid-19 led to a revival of interest in nuclear energy, with many countries and cities deciding to take a fresh look at the technology. While there is a place for nuclear energy in the world, it must be said that it is not a 100% solution to meet increasing energy demands. The downsides of nuclear power are well known, with its most prominent opponents, including billionaire Richard Branson, setting up the World War II-esque competition The New Nuclear Power Challenge to find a green alternative.
Nuclear is far from perfect, but it undoubtedly has a place in our energy mix. For instance, in the UK we generate over half our electricity from nuclear power, with another 13% coming from natural gas. However, the big question is: Is nuclear power truly sustainable?
The answer is complicated, with some studies suggesting that the construction and decommissioning of a nuclear power plant contributes to global climate change, as well as local air and water pollution. The World Nuclear Association (WNA) states that the “decay heat” of nuclear materials (including uranium) is 4,630 megawatts, enough to power four 500,000-watt coal plants. This being said, the WNA acknowledges that the “carbon footprint” of a nuclear power plant is only about 60kg of CO2 per MWh – the equivalent of driving a fuel-efficient car for one year. This compares to a fossil fuel plant’s carbon footprint of around 975kg of CO2 per MWh, and a solar plant’s carbon footprint of around 320kg of CO2 per MWh. So, while nuclear power might not be perfect, it is undoubtedly more sustainable than fossil fuels. This being said, it should be noted that the nuclear industry itself is controversial, with estimates putting the number of cancer deaths attributable to radiation exposure at around 185,000 per year.
Conservation, Redesigning And Off-Grid)
The world is looking for ways to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels, with many people seeking to become more self-sufficient and independent. This was certainly the case in China, where pollution is so bad that the country’s biggest city, Beijing, became the symbol of the country’s environmental movement, leading to new laws being laid down to protect its residents from the worst effects of climate change. The Beijing Climate Change Action Agenda 2030 includes targets such as:
- 100% of electricity generated from renewable sources
- Reductions in energy consumption
- Greater energy savings in buildings
- More electric vehicles on the road
- More electric boats and bikes
- No new coal-fired power plants
It is clear that people want to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels and move towards more sustainable energy sources. This trend is likely to continue, with people looking to off-grid solutions to meet their energy needs. A great many solar power systems now exist, allowing homeowners to install a power supply, similar to a rooftop solar array, but without the need for any kind of grid connection. The increased interest in off-grid living is a direct response to the pandemic, with many people wanting to reduce their carbon footprint, live in a more autonomous manner and have greater freedom.
Off-grid living is not without its challenges. For instance, if your home relies on batteries as a source of power, there is the constant worry that the supply will run out. Similarly, if you choose to build your home off-grid, you will need to learn to rely solely on your own resources to generate electricity. This means you will have to be ready to build a sustainable and reliable power source in case of emergencies. Fortunately, today’s off-grid living solutions are sophisticated and safe, with many people able to enjoy the benefits of living an eco-friendly and self-sufficient life. The rise of renewable energy and off-grid living is something to look forward to in the post-pandemic world.
A Home Built On Stilts Above The Storms
Another important consideration in sustainable living is the environment. After spending almost a month in isolated lockdown during the pandemic, many people are seeking to restore nature to its’ natural state. This means cutting down on unnecessary energy use and becoming more self-sufficient.
For those wanting to live a more sustainable lifestyle, a great many options exist. You could insulate your home to reduce energy use, switch off your appliances and install a solar panel on your roof to generate electricity. Many towns and cities have also switched to a complete lockdown, with only essential businesses and stores allowed to remain open. While this might sound like a negative change, it has undoubtedly led to a greater focus on sustainable living, with many businesses setting up bamboo kitchens, growing their own food and cooking it themselves, using only energy-efficient appliances and undertaking other eco-friendly practices.
What most people are finding is that by cutting out the non-essential things in life, such as driving a car or using electricity, they are able to enjoy a lifestyle that is both sustainable and relaxed. A great many homesteading businesses now offer complete off-grid solutions, including food prep stations, rainwater recovery tanks, solar power systems and more!
Creating a sustainable and resilient home or office takes time and careful planning, but the rewards are endless. Not only will you reduce your carbon footprint, save money on your energy bills and live in a more tranquil environment, but you will also increase your independence and freedom.
Many people have decided to embrace the opportunity that the pandemic has presented, with greater interest being shown in renewable energy sources, alternative sources of energy and off-grid living. This is likely to continue, with many people seeking to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels and move towards more sustainable energy.