The Green Guy Blog

This blog is dedicated to clean energy, the discussion of environmental concerns and all things to do with reducing your carbon footprint on the Earth.

I firmly believe that saving the environment is critically important to our survival here. At the moment we are definitely abusing the planet and draining natural resources without a concern for far enough in the future. We are dependent upon resources which are going to run out relatively soon and as a result we are putting all of our eggs in one basket.

I am hopeful that together we can see that this is not a sustainable way to live and that, also together, we can work towards developing and living in a way that is in the best interests of the planet and will work well for all of us.

In this blog I am aiming to write about topics that are important to me and that I believe should be seriously considered in order for us all to live in a way which is more in keeping with the sustainability of the environment. Sometimes I will discuss topics such as home heating, while at others I will talk about the specifics of convection heating systems.

How Many Homes in the UK Use Solar Power in Their Homes

Solar power has been defined as the energy that is generated by tapping the sun’s heat. The energy derived from the sun is then used to power numerous industries and homes worldwide. There are two main ways through which solar power may be generated namely; by the use of photovoltaic’s (PV) and concentrated solar power (CSP).

During the 1980’s, the first plants that used concentrated solar power as its main source of energy were built. Since then, there have been massive developments in that area of energy generation which has seen the construction of the ISEGS, which is the of all concentrated solar power plants in the world, situated in the Mojave Desert in California which produces a total of 392 megawatts of electricity and the Topaz Solar Farm, also located in the United States of America, which is also the largest in the area of photovoltaic power stations in the world which generates about 550 megawatts of electricity.

Since the inception of numerous campaigns creating a global awareness on the need for resorting to cleaner and more environmentally friendly sources of energy, there has been a significant improvement in the total number of users of solar energy throughout the world and this gives the indication that the campaign being undertaken by various organizations and individuals is really having a positive effect on the general public. This therefore means that humans are now becoming more sensitive to all those activities that directly or indirectly damage the serenity and safety of the environment.

The use of solar powered energy in home comes with the following benefits;

  • It does not cause any pollution: The use of solar energy ensures that there are no emissions of dangerous GHG into the atmosphere. One does not need any fuel or gas to be able to make use of the energy generated from the sun and therefore the problem of keeping such harmful pollutants that are always associated with gas is eliminated completely
  • The solar cells also last for a very long time: The use of solar cells in generating solar energy ensures that maintenance does not become a headache for you. These cells can last for a very long time with little maintenance
  • It is also renewable: The energy from the sun will always as long as the sun keeps shining. This means there is no need in refuelling the source of the energy which is always the case with most of the other sources of energy
  • Its installation does not involve a lot of technicalities: This also means that the installation of solar panels does not require a lot of professional know-how as it does not make use of wires. This makes its usage a whole lot easier even for first time users.

As the other sources of energy which cannot be renewed like the fossil fuels, keep diminishing in such huge quantities, the importance of an energy source that can be renewed such as that of solar energy, becomes clearer and clearer by the passing of each day.

The current trend in the area of energy in the world is towards renewable sources of energy and even though there are some disadvantages that are associated with the use of solar energy, it won’t be long before such shortcomings are eliminated from the use of solar energy. Solar energy is the one source of energy which ticks all the positives of an environmentally friendly source of energy.

The total number of homes that use solar energy as their main source of energy in the UK has risen tremendously over the years. This was not the case quite some years back. As at the close of the year 2011, a total of 230,000 solar power projects had been instituted in the United Kingdom and all these solar power plants generated a total electricity of around 750 MW. This capitulated to about 1,000 megawatts during the early stages of the year 2012. This however was not the case some few years ago with a clear example being the year 2006 which saw the generation of around 12.5 megawatts of electricity.

This shows that there is a shift towards solar energy usage in the United Kingdom and it can be attributed to such factors as;

  • The photovoltaic panels being made very affordable
  • The feed-in tariff (FIT) introduced by the government in April, 2010

According to latest figures, the use of solar powered energy has been recorded in about five hundred thousand homes in the UK and it has been projected that by the year 2020, the total number of homes using solar energy would have risen to around ten million.

Looking at the figures of people who have resorted to the use of solar energy and the rate at which the total megawatts of electricity generated keeps increasing exponentially, it is safe to say that most homes in the UK are now resorting to the use of solar energy as their main source of energy.

Though the journey towards a cleaner and safer environment is full of obstacles and impediments, with the use of such sources of energy like solar energy, we will surely reach our destination safely.

When Should I Insulate My Home and What With?

Insulation simply refers to the process of reducing the amount of heat lost or gained in a building through the use of various materials. This is also referred to as thermal insulation.

Being able to thermally insulate one’s home, has always been an area that presents unimagined problems to homeowners. These problems ranges from whether the insulation was properly done, what is the best time to insulate your home, what materials assures you of having the best insulation, which parts of the house to insulate and the prices of these materials. All these makes the mere thought of insulating one’s home a tall hill to climb for most homeowners.

Though trying to insulate your home is as challenging as the word challenging itself, insulating your home is for the greater good of the entire world. Insulating one’s home helps in ensuring that the house becomes energy efficient and this provides the following benefits;

It helps you to save a lot of money that would have been spent on energy bills.

Conservation of fuel is also ensured.

It aids in the provision of an environment that is safe for all mankind.

·         When to insulate your home

This is a question that has always baffled homeowners. Most homeowners are always left in a state of indecision when it comes to the time that it is most important to insulate a home. Homeowners ask themselves questions like, ‘’Do I insulate my home during the construction stage or after the completion of the building?  ‘’Do I do it in the winter or during the summer? However, when it comes to the question of when to insulate your home, it is better to take into consideration the cost involved.

Ø  Insulating your home during the construction stage

This helps you to have an already installed insulation system in your house even before the building gets completed. This type of insulation gives you a more permanent way of checking the amount of heat that is gained or lost within your home. It also ensures that the building gets insulated in a more complete way as every part insulation done at this stage always gets done perfectly well without room for any errors.

Insulation of such buildings mostly make use of insulating materials such as foam, fibreglass, cellulose and sometimes rock wool (mineral wool), rigid foams, (SIP’s) structural insulated panels and sprayed foam.  New homes also make use of blanket insulation.

When one insulates his or her home during the construction stage, it helps one to have time to carefully select the best insulating materials. In other words, one is able to select the insulating materials that have the highest R-values or have the best ability to control the amount of heat gained or lost in the building.

Ø  Insulating your home after the building has been completed

This is the most common insulation that one is likely to find these days. People are sometimes obsessed with having a house that they live in insulated to their taste and needs. The possibility of an individual getting his or her own house constructed is becoming a bit outmoded as these estate developers acquire vast plots of land and develop entire communities on these lands and sell them to people who are ready to own a house. With such agencies around, the idea of getting your house insulated during the construction stage is eliminated. This leaves a homeowner with no other option than to go in for an after completion insulation.

This type of insulation offers homeowners some advantages which include;

It provides one with the opportunity to insulate the house to meet your requirements.

It makes it possible for you to insulate places that really need to be insulated instead of having to insulate everything.

It also helps a homeowner to know the right insulation materials to use in order to gain maximum results.

Insulation during construction stage and insulation after construction of the building are the two major periods during which one can insulate his or her home. It is therefore up to a homeowner to choose which of these periods to insulate his or her home whilst taking into consideration which is most appropriate.

·         What to insulate your home with

This is also another aspect of the problems associated with insulation of one’s home which has for some time now worried most homeowners. Finding the right materials to insulate one’s home with has always been a tough nut to crack for homeowners and it is only expedient to take a brief look into such an area.

Materials for insulating various parts of a building:

  1. Blanket (batts and rolls): This is used in the insulation of uncompleted walls, floors and ceilings. The materials used include fiberglass, mineral wool, plastic fibers and natural fibers.
  2. Concrete block insulation: This used in the insulation of walls that have not been finished, new constructions as well as major renovations and concrete blocks. The materials used include foam board and foam beads.
  3. Rigid foam: This is used in the insulation of roofs, floors, ceilings and unfinished walls. The materials used are polystyrene, polyisocyanurate and polyurethane.
  4. Insulating concrete forms (ICF’s): This is used in the insulation of all unfinished walls in a new building. The materials used are foam boards or blocks
  5. Loose-fill and Blown-in: This is used in the insulation of enclosed walls or open spaces found within walls, attic floors that are not yet completed and other places that cannot be reached easily.
  6. Reflective system: This is used in the insulation of uncompleted walls, ceilings and floors. The materials used include foil-faced Kraft paper, plastic film, polyethylene bubbles and cardboard.
  7. Fiber insulation: This is used in the insulation of ducts in spaces and places that have the capability of withstanding very hot conditions. The materials used include fiberglass and mineral wool.
  8. Sprayed foam: This is used in the insulation of enclosed walls, open places within walls and uncompleted attic floors. The materials used are polyurethane, polyisocyanurate, phenolic and cementitious.
  9. Structural insulated panels (SIP’s): This is used in the insulation of uncompleted walls, ceilings, floors and the roofs of new buildings. The materials used include foam board and straw core insulation.

These are the various materials that can be used in insulating different parts of a building. It is worthy to note that each material should be used specifically for the stated part of the building so as to ensure maximum results.

What Are The Worst Industries For Polluting The Environment?

Pollution has become a major environmental concern mainly as a result of studies conducted which have created the awareness about how the various types of pollution greatly puts the entire world at risk with the effect of such pollution mostly being global warming. Though numerous campaigns have been initiated to help curb the negative attitude being put on display by various energy-tapping industries throughout the whole world, there seems to be no relenting on the part of these industries as they are mainly concerned with creating wealth for themselves and are not bothered by the risks their activities create for the world as a whole.

Pollution is the act of introducing harmful substances or materials like chemicals into the environment which have a negative effect on the environment. There are numerous ways through which the environment gets polluted and some of these are;

Air pollution, water pollution, noise pollution, light pollution, soil pollution, thermal pollution, visual pollution, radioactive pollution and littering.

All these forms of pollution do cause unimaginable damages to the natural environment. Though every industry in some way cause some form of pollution, there are some that really lead the race in terms of environmental pollution. It is therefore in the right direction for one to take a look at some of the negative impacts of these industries on the environment.

       Bio Fuel Industries

Bio fuel is the direct opposite of fossil fuel in terms of the duration these dead or living organisms have been in the system. This means that bio fuels are the recent living or dead organisms that are used in the generation of energy. The incessant use of bio fuel energy generally results in negative impacts such as deforestation as these living materials like plants are all used in generating this source of energy.

       Charcoal-using Industries

These are industries that rely on the use of charcoal acquired from the burning of freshly cut trees. Though these industries may not be seen as major industries, the amount of charcoal used in African societies within a day in the carrying out of numerous cooking activities is something that greatly needs to be reviewed. This is due to the fact that Africa, which once boasted of forest reserves of around 7 million km2 now, has about 2.5 million km2 of this forest lost to such acts as the burning of charcoal. The indiscriminate felling of these trees for burning charcoal leads to deforestation as its main effect with soil erosion and air pollution being the other accompanying effects.

       Fossil Fuel Industries

These are industries which make use of any of the three types of energy derived from fossil fuels namely; coal, petroleum and natural gas. Fossil fuel has since the inception of the industrial era been the major source of pollution of the environment. The use of any of the mentioned types of fossil fuels leads to serious environmental issues which have been talked about almost every day by agencies campaigning for a cleaner and safer environment.

1.    Coal

The effects of coal mining and usage are very telling on the environment. From the mining of coal, through its processing stage to its usage are all fraught with various forms of environmental pollution. It has been estimated that the usage of coal alone by industries causes the lives of around one million living organisms to be cut short as according to the WHO.

The effects of coal mining and its usage include the following;

  • Loss of lives during mining disasters,
  • Suffocation
  • Gas poisoning
  • Collapsing of the roof
  • Explosions

These effects do not even come anywhere closer to the negative impact coal mining and its usage tends to have on the environment as a whole which include destruction of land, air pollution leading to global warming and pollution of water bodies.

2.    Petroleum

Petroleum has always had a very negative effect on any living organism that it comes into contact with. Processing and usage of petroleum causes various degrees of damage to all living things including the environment. Due to the fact that most of man’s activities are made easy through the use of petroleum products, the ability to check its eventual effect on the environment has always been a problem.

3.    Gas

Natural gas has always been classified as the most environmentally friendly of all the various forms of energy derived from fossil fuels. Though it is currently being touted as the cleanest energy from fossil fuel, studies carried out shows a rather alarming finding as it has been estimated that by the year 2030, natural gas would become the second highest source of CO2 emission into the atmosphere. Aside it surpassing oil (petroleum) on the CO2 emission ladder, it is also in itself a GHG containing harmful substances that make carbon dioxide look like an angel.

       Nuclear Industries

The GHG emissions from nuclear industries are mainly due to the nuclear fission and accidents associated with these nuclear energies. The harmful gases that are emitted from the use of nuclear energy are quite a bit low when compared to that of fossil fuel.

       Electrically Powered Industries

Though electrical energy features on the list of clean energy sources due to its minimal amount of harmful gases emission, the total number of people currently switching to the use of electricity is becoming somehow alarming as the little amount of CO2 emissions have gone up considerably. Even with this considerable increase in the CO2 emissions from electricity usage, it does not qualify it to be even ranked with the main orchestrator behind global warming in the form of fossil fuels. This makes electricity-using industries safer to have around than fossil fuel powered industries.

       Industries that Use Wind Energy

The effect of using wind as a source of energy ranks so low on the environmental pollution scale with the likes of fossil fuel and nuclear energy also being on that same scale.

After taking such a careful look at these industries and the type of energy they use, when the question of which of them are the worst in terms of polluting the environment is brought up, one has no other choice than to go for industries that rely on fossil fuels as the worst in polluting the environment.

Do Electric Gardening Appliances Reduce My Carbon Footprint?

What is carbon footprint?

Carbon footprint is the total carbon dioxide (CO2) released into the atmosphere through the activities of an individual within a specific time frame. This calculation is normally done yearly.

The various activities of humans do release some amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and this CO2 is also a major chemical in the greenhouse gases which brings about global warming. Humans, either knowingly or unknowingly, through our daily activities add some quantities of carbon dioxide to the already existing carbon in the atmosphere and this in turn helps in worsening the global warming situation being experienced nowadays.

Activities like driving a car that uses any of the fossil fuels as its energy source, heating your room and even producing food and other consumable products, in one way or the other lead to the emission of CO2 into the atmosphere and this takes the global warming phenomenon to a whole new level.

Understanding the concept of carbon footprint helps us to get a better view of the impact our activities are having on our atmosphere

Since nations and institutions begun campaigning and creating an awareness for a reduction in the amount of harmful gases that the activities of man emits into the atmosphere, people have now been made very conscious of the impending danger our activities can put each and every one of  us and the entire world into. This has led many to decide to adopt environmentally friendly attitudes to help sustain, if not make better, the temperature conditions we have right now.

Ø  Some adopted environmentally friendly ways of living

  • The use of electric vehicles: This is the use of vehicles that do not make use of fossil fuel as its energy source but rather uses electricity to propel these vehicles. By using such a vehicle, an individual is able to drastically reduce the amount of greenhouse gases emitted which would have been emitted into the atmosphere through the burning of the fuels by ICE vehicles.
  • Electric heaters: This has to do with homeowners going eco-friendly by choosing electric heaters as their main heating method in their various homes. Using these electric heaters ensures that the safety of the environment becomes our topmost priority. These electric heaters do not emit any of the harmful greenhouse gases that cause global warming. Its usage also ensures that the user is does not indirectly pollute the quality of air in his or her room as the usage of other heating methods like the wood-burning chimney do tend to produce some amount of smoke which leads to air pollution. Moreover, these electric heaters also ensure that one’s room is not made dirty as there is no real fire and so no firewood is needed.

Gardening Appliances

As the campaign for an environmentally friendly way of living rages on, there seems to be an aspect that has somehow been relegated to the background of the fight against the worsening state of the environment. This has to do with the various gardening appliances that are being used by homeowners.

For a very long time now, people have resorted to the use of gardening equipment without giving a thought to whether they are environmentally safe or not. The lawn mower happens to be one of such gardening appliances that have been widely used by both individuals and organizations without knowing how environmentally friendly they are.

Lawn Mowers

There are two main categories of lawn mowers and though they all ensure that we do get the grasses in our lawns and parks neatly cut, they do offer contrasting things when the safety of the environment is taken into consideration.

Categories of Lawn Mowers and Environmental Impact

Gas Mowers (Power Mowers)

These mowers have been in existence for quite some time now and the amount of harmful gases they emit into the atmosphere have goon unchecked for as long as into the mid 1990s.

Though using these garden mowers do get the job done, it is important to know that the job gets done at the expense of the individual’s health and that of the entire world population. Their use comes with a whole lot of problems that seem to always go unnoticed. Some of these problems are listed below;

  • The older ones are the most less efficient lawn mowers around
  • Up to a third of their fuel and oil go unused as they leak out of the engine
  • They emit gases that are not only harmful to the human respiratory system but also contribute their quota in further deterioration of the problem of global warming
  • When the inhalation of these harmful substances go unchecked for some time, it eventually cause cancer to the victim and also destroys the entire respiratory system
  • The smog that is emitted from these gas lawn mowers tends to inhibit the growth of the plants they come into contact with.

Although these gas mowers are now being subjected to the EPA’s Phase II and Phase III regulations, which have significantly reduced the amount of greenhouse gases they emit, they still do use gas and the burning of the gas by the lawn mower leads to some degree of greenhouse gases being emitted.

Electric Mowers (Push Mowers)

These are lawn mowers which do not make use of any of the fossil fuels as its source of power. It rather uses electricity to generate the power it needs to get the lawn mowed. These mowers fall within the range of environmentally friendly gardening appliances even though there remains some degree of pollution from its usage.

The usage of these electric lawn mowers presents the user with the following benefits;

  • They do not emit any harmful gases
  • They help in eliminating the situation where gas and oil spills onto the grass being mowed
  • They are also very efficient

Using an electric mower helps reduce carbon dioxide by as much as 80lbs within one year which is equal to the quantity of carbon dioxide released by just one power mower.

EPA Fact

The quantity of gas burnt by Americans in their bid to mow their grass every year is equal to eight hundred million gallons.

Union of Concerned Scientists Fact

The quantity of harmful gases released by a single power mower within the period of one hour equal that of 8 cars going at a speed of 55 mph over a one hour time frame.

The use of all other electrically powered gardening appliances reduces the quantity of harmful gases that would have been emitted into the atmosphere if gas powered gardening appliances are used.

Using the electrically powered gardening appliances in one way or the other helps in reducing the emission of GHG into the atmosphere and this eventually leads to creating a better environment for all humans.

Should I Use A Fire Or Heater To Heat My Home? How Efficient Are They?

It is very common these days to see people giving so much thought to the idea of getting their homes warm enough so as to ensure that they will be able to feel very comfortable when inside their homes. Winter always brings along a very severe form of coldness and it is always in the right direction to prepare oneself for such weather conditions. Being prepared enough also brings the problem of which heating method or equipment to use. There are numerous home heating ways known to man and each of these heating methods does come with their own advantages and disadvantages. Taking a closer look at some of the pros and cons of some of the most commonly used home heating methods helps you to arm yourself well enough to know which one to use with regards to your safety and how efficient such a heating equipment is.

Fireplaces

Having a fireplace in one’s home has always added some form of worth and class to that particular home. Listed below are some of the fireplaces that are currently being used in various homes, how efficient they are and some of their pros and cons.

Wood-Burning Fireplace

Fire, as we already know, has always been a major source of heat to mankind. The moment a fire is set; there is the generation of heat energy which ensures that the nearby surroundings around the fire become warmer. Making use of fire as a way of keeping our homes warmer has always been the most common way known to man since the day that fire was first discovered. Modern homes are now fitted with chimneys or fireplaces where logs are burnt during those times when the weather gets very cold. These days almost every homeowner or anyone looking to buy a house wants to be assured that the house he or she wants to buy has a chimney or a fireplace, although only a few really make use of the fireplace. Going the traditional way of getting your home warm with a chimney adds some worth to a property.

Ø  Advantages of a wood-burning fireplace

It presents one with such an antique sense of feeling as one is comfortably curled in a couch relaxing whilst the wood in burning in the chimney crackles producing such a nice smell.

Ø  Disadvantages of a wood-burning fireplace

  • When it comes to efficiency, wood burning fireplaces rank very low. Though one feels warm whenever these chimneys are lit, they do not necessarily mean that the rooms are also being heated. This is mainly due to the fact that most of the heat escapes through the chimney opening. The escaping heat from the fireplace also pulls with it the heat of other rooms in the house making the rooms colder than they were at first.
  • It also consumes the oxygen that is present in the room. This is also due to the fact that for burning to take place, oxygen should be present. This leads to pressure being put on the little oxygen present in the room.
  • It also brings about pollution of the atmosphere as the smoke feels the room. This is always mistaken for the burning wood having a nice smell.

Gas Fireplace

Another way of getting our various homes heated is through the use of gas fireplaces. This is the use of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) as the main source of energy for the gas fireplace. Using the gas fireplace has some advantages and these include;

  • Using a gas fireplace makes it possible to have a very clean room which is not the case with using wood.
  • It does not leave unpleasant smell of smoke in your room
  • It does not use the oxygen in the room

The disadvantage of using a gas fireplace is that it is very costly to acquire a propane tank erected if you have a house which does not have a natural gas pipeline.

Moreover, there is the risk of accidental fires being caused by any unchecked leaks to the propane tank which may in turn lead to the loss of properties and even lives.

Electric Fireplace

This has to do with getting one of these technologically advanced modern day chimneys which uses electricity as its main source of energy. They come in various brands, makes and models and also have different sizes. This helps a potential buyer in getting the one that perfectly suits his or her home. They are also very stylish and therefore add worth and prestige to properties.

Ø  Advantages of an electric fireplace

  • It ensures that a room is heated very well without allowing the already existing heat to escape
  • They are also portable and as such can be moved to any place within the house where it is needed most
  • They also do not corrode easily hence they do last longer than the gas fireplaces
  • Due to the fact that electric fireplaces make use of electricity, they do not release any harmful substances into the atmosphere and this makes it have the edge over all the other heating equipment as humans keep looking for ways to reduce the GHG in the atmosphere

Ø  Disadvantages of an electric fireplace

  • The warmth in a room goes away as soon as there is an outage in power supply
  • Using an electric fireplace also causes your energy bill to increase sizeably

Taking a careful look at the pros and cons of all the above discussed fireplaces, one is bound to settle on an electric fireplace mainly due to it being Eco-friendly in nature and also being very efficient. Of all the discussed fireplaces, electric fireplace are the most efficient as it helps in heating a room without producing any harmful by-products.

Is the UK Doing Enough To Save Energy Consumption?

Energy, as we do know, has so many definitions. However, the one that really causes us to see what it really means is the power which is gotten from usage of either chemical resources or physical resources mainly for the provision of heat and the ability to power machines. Simply put it is the ability to execute any given task as easily as possible. Energy is required in the execution of all work and all kinds of mobility. Even in humans, the food that we do take in chemically metamorphoses into energy which helps us to carry out all types of work that demand some kind of energy in their execution like walking, talking, among others.

Since the day of the first humans up to date, man has always relied on different forms energy to get almost everything done without doing much himself. Man has made use of energy sources like fossil fuels, solar, hydro, wood, and other sources to get work done within a very short period of time.

These sources of energy, as we are well aware of, have helped man tremendously in the provision of comfort and simplifying tedious tasks and making them very easy to do. An example is the idea of having to travel a distance of about 100km on foot, some years ago and embarking on a similar journey with a vehicle. The energy one will use in travelling for 100 km is not something to be comprehended easily with its accompanying hazards that will be encountered on the journey such as wild animals and unbearable weather conditions. However, when one considers travelling on a journey of 100 km in a vehicle, all that one can think of is the joy and comfort that comes with such journeys. This is mainly due to the fact that a vehicle was used in the second instance. Such journeys are some fun to be embarked on these days that kids always want to know when the family will be embarking on such a very long journey.

Whilst the talk about energy making it a lot more simpler to do all kinds of work can go on and on and on, but there has been a twist in the story of energy of late.

Researchers have been able to carry out some studies and their findings have sent chills down the spines of numerous governments and major institutions. This has to do with current calculations which show a growing trend in the area of energy and how it is being consumed on a daily basis. Without carefully laid down rules and regulations to help check how energy is being consumed, there will come a time when there won’t be anything left to propel the various kinds of machines that we do have.

This has led to many nations putting in place measures that are to ensure the little energy left is consumed wisely.

The UK has also been on the forefront of this battle of trying to help check the energy consumption of its citizens. This can be seen in the various measures it has put in place to save energy consumption like ‘The Green Deal’.

The Green Deal is a policy instituted by the government of UK to allow loans to be given to institutions that have decided to undertake certain energy-saving measures. This policy was launched on October 1st, 2012 by the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

Some of the major policies that have been laid down by the UK government to help save energy consumption include;

  1. Reduction in VAT rate for energy saving material
  2. Home Energy Conservation Act 1995 and Energy Conservation Act 1996
  3. Zero Carbon Buildings
  4. Supplier Obligations-Community Energy Savings Programme
  5. Micro generation
  6. Act CO2 Campaign
  7. Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership
  8. Transport Innovation Fund
  9. Smarter Choices
  10. Act on CO2 (Transport) Campaign and Eco Driving
  11. Climate Change Agreement
  12. Carbon Trust programmes
  13. The Energy Saving Trust
  14. Climate Change Act
  15. Energy Act 2010
  16. Low Carbon

These are but just a few of the policies that have been put in place in a bid to save energy consumption in the UK. Taking a deeper look at what each of these policies entails provides one with how serious the government of the UK is in saving energy consumption.

With these regulations in place, the question about whether the UK is doing enough to save energy consumption needs no response at all for these policies do speak a lot about how dead serious the government really is with regards to saving energy consumption.

Though it is a known fact that the rate at which energy is being consumed on daily basis keeps growing exponentially, with the introduction of policies like the ones made by the UK, the little energy left may be used to sustain this world for a little longer than prophesied by the numerous researchers.

On a separate note, have a merry Xmas and a happy new year!

Are Electric Cars A Viable Solution?

The rate at which the world is growing seems to be geometric. Mega cities are springing up everywhere with their population well over millions of people. This number keeps on increasing due to the fact that people in the rural areas keep on migrating to these mega cities. As people are moving from one place to place, the need for transporting these people crops up. The moment transportation of people are things comes up, one’s mind settles on the various forms of transportation, that is whether one decides to go by air, land or sea. With each of these forms of transportation, there is the use of fossil fuels and with the use of these fossil fuels; our environment is exposed to constant pollution. The effects of this pollution needs not be told again as there has been numerous campaigns towards ensuring that we get to live in a world free from pollution at its effects. Through pollution from machines using fossil fuel as its main source of energy, the quality of air that we breathe is reduced to the barest minimum and this causes a lot of problems for the entire world populace.

Finding solutions to the problem of pollution

The world has always been on its toes in a bid to finding lasting solutions to the constant problem posed by pollution from all the machines using any of the energy derived from fossil fuels. This is evident in the anti-pollution campaigns which are now a very common thing to come across these days. Governments are coming up with anti-pollution regulations all aimed at helping to curb the problem of pollution.

Though it did look like the war against pollution was not one to be worn by the world, recent developments have led us to believe otherwise. The tide has now turned in the favor of the world with the introduction of vehicles that do not emit these dangerous substances into the atmosphere. These vehicles have been designed to use electricity as its main source of energy and they are referred to as Electric Vehicles.

  • Electric Vehicles (EV)

An electric vehicle, also known as electric drive vehicle, is a vehicle that uses electric motors instead of gasoline engine as its main source of energy that propels it. These are vehicles that are mainly powered by electric motors or traction motors.

During the 19th century, electricity became one of the trusted sources of energy for vehicles as it offered users some kind of ease of use as compared to those that were powered by fossil fuel.

Features of an electric vehicle

  • They are powered by electricity
  • They do not emit any harmful substances into the atmosphere
  • They make use of batteries or generators which ensures that electric current into energy for the vehicle.

These features of the EVs make them an ideal candidate for the war against Internal Combustion Engines (ICE) which emits very harmful substances into the atmosphere whenever they are used.

Can Electric Vehicles solve the problem of pollution?

When one takes a closer look at the advantages of these Electric Vehicles, you get convinced that Electric Vehicles do really offer us a very powerful tool in the war against pollution.

Though these Electric Vehicles fall short when it comes to its ability to embark on very long journeys, that is, it cannot be taken on very long journeys to places that do not have recharging facilities as the batteries can only sustain the vehicle on short journeys, it remains a matter of time before a way is found to curb this problem.

Taking a look at the advantages and disadvantages of electric vehicles provides one with a clear picture of what these vehicles are and what they do offer to any potential user

       Advantages of electric vehicles

  • It does not make use of gas
  • They also offer the user the ability to certain incentives for opting to go green and save a lot of money which would have been spent in buying gasoline
  • They do not emit any harmful substances into the air
  • The total number of users of electric vehicles keeps on increasing significantly
  • They are also very affordable these days as compared to the olden days when they were very costly
  • Their engines do not need the kind of constant servicing usually associated with internal combustion engines
  • They also do not produce the kind of noise that gasoline powered vehicles produce

    Disadvantages of electric vehicles

  • There are not many places around where one can recharge his or her electric vehicle
  • It raises your electricity bill for every month by a huge margin
  • They cannot be used to go on very long journeys and also do have a designated speed limit
  • It takes a very long time for the battery to be properly recharged
  • It cannot accommodate a total number of passengers that is more than two
  • They cannot be used in places where constant power supply is not guaranteed

How has the world reacted to Electric Vehicles?

Electric Vehicles are seen as the surest way to having an environment that is free from pollution from the numerous Internal Combustion Engines around. This can be seen in the regulations of certain countries with some of them having places within their cities where only Electric Vehicles are allowed.

The total number of Electric Vehicles currently being used in various parts of the world has also increased drastically with Nissan supplying customers with over one hundred thousand units of their Nissan Leaf model as of November 2014.

After going through the this article and getting a clear idea of what electric vehicles do bring to the table, it does not take very much to get convinced that electric vehicles are really up there when it comes to finding lasting solutions to the constant problem of pollution posed by these internal combustion engines. It all comes down to when these vehicles will finally be commercialized. And that can be said to be very soon.

 

What Are Countries Doing To Reduce Greenhouse Gases?

There has been an ongoing campaign for quite some years now directed towards creating a global awareness on the effects of global warming. Before a problem can be solved very well, there is always the need to look at the root causes of the problem so as to tackle them from the base. It is therefore very appropriate to first take a look at what really brings about this global phenomenon known as global warming.

The main orchestrator behind the global warming phenomenon is referred to as the greenhouse gas with water vapor as the major greenhouse gas. There are four other gases which forms part of the greenhouse gases. These are namely;

  1. Carbon dioxide (CO2)
  2. Methane (CH4)
  3. Nitrous oxide (N2O) and
  4. Fluorinated gases

These gases form a group of compounds having the ability to trap heat energy so as to keep the surface of the Earth warmer than it would have normally been had all that heat been lost. These gases are therefore always referred to as the primary causes of the greenhouse effect which in turn leads to global warming.

As the greenhouse gases increase in quantity in the atmosphere it leads to an eventual increase in the temperature of the atmosphere which consequently brings about climatic change. They allow the free passage of sunlight into the Earth’s atmosphere, trapping some of the heat in the process. Those that are allowed to pass through the greenhouse gases touch the surface of the Earth and then bounce back into the atmosphere again. The greenhouse gases then traps the heat that is being emitted from the surface of the Earth back into the atmosphere. This cyclical nature involving the absorption and trapping of the escaping heat causes the temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere to increase drastically which consequently causes global warming in the long run.

Studies conducted by very renowned scientists have projected the year 2047 as being the exact period when the effects of these gases reaches its maximum limit leading to unbearable weather conditions for the inhabitants of the Earth.

After taking such a critical look at the greenhouse gases and its effect on the world, it is really in the right direction to ask what countries are really doing to reduce greenhouse gases. It is through the activities of man and other natural ways that CO2, CH4 and N2O are released into the atmosphere. Some of these activities are; the use of fossil fuels and industrial-based productions. The fluoridated gases are mainly released only through the activities of man.

Since the inception of the Industrial Revolution Era in the 18th century, the activities of man have impacted heavily on the greenhouse gases and their effects on the Earth’s atmosphere. These dangerous and very harmful gases are being released into the atmosphere in huge quantities on a daily basis.

Though it has been said that the greenhouse gases are the main orchestrators of the greenhouse effect which leads to global warming, humans have been found out to be the real architects behind the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere either voluntarily or involuntarily.

Policies and measures being put in place to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases

In Europe

  1. Promoting the use of electricity from renewable sources
  2. Ensuring that energy is appropriately or efficiently used
  3. Encouraging the use of bio fuels in vehicles
  4. Reducing the quantity of CO2 released by vehicles
  5. Promoting the use of electric vehicles
  6. The Green Deal

In China

  • The promotion of energy-saving  and vehicles that are ensure the safety of the environment
  • Encouraging the use of technologies, that help in saving energy, in the various smelting industries
  • The campaign on stopping plastic bags that were being given to customers free of charge
  • Promoting the usage of energy that is clean and can at the same time be renewed
  • Encouraging the use of biogas
  • The campaign on forestation and other prominent policies

In Canada

  1. Banning the manufacturing of energy generating units that make use of coal
  2. Enhancing technologies to ensure that there will be a 23% reduction in the greenhouse gases emissions from heavy-duty vehicles from the year 2018
  3. Move  to cut down HFCs in the atmosphere
  4. Joining in the Climate and Clean Air Coalition- which is a move across borders with its main objective being enhancing technologies to minimize the use of pollutants that have a very short life span so as to protect the environment and the entire populace
  5. Investing over $10 billion in areas such as green infrastructure and energy efficiency technologies
  6. Financing the Muskrat Falls Hydroelectricity project in Newfoundland and Labrador which will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1.2 mega tonnes

In The Developing Countries

Though the idea of reducing greenhouse gases in a developing country is sometimes seen as being suicidal, Nicaragua has taken a bold step to prove to the other developing nations that there really are affordable ways that can be used to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere. This they did through the introduction of a clean energy initiative in the rural areas of Nicaragua.

Various countries have also joined in the campaign to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. This can be seen as a very noble decision by these various nations in the bid to make the atmospheric temperature as comfortable as it can be for humans.

Does Home Insulation Save Money And Energy?

In a period when the need for ensuring that one’s house is well secured in terms of being able to sufficiently provide for the heating and cooling needs of the occupants, it comes as no surprise when the issue of home insulation rears its head more often than not.

As humans, we do go to different lengths just to ensure that we have enough heat in our various homes when the weather gets cold and enough cooling when the weather gets very hot. This makes it possible for us to feel comfortable in our homes at any particular moment throughout the year. Being able to experience this kind of comfort in our various homes has led some of us into all sorts of problems with the major one being that of money and energy spent.

Huge sums of one’s hard earned money are spent on cooling and heating systems just to be assured that these houses can provide one with the need comfort throughout the year in any weather condition.

With such amounts going down the drain, the need to find better and affordable ways of guaranteeing one’s comfort with regards to the weather becomes imperative. This leads to the idea of home insulation.

In the first place, one will have to be very conversant with the term home insulation.

  • What is home insulation?

This is an affordable way of ensuring that one’s house is in a shape to provide warmth during the winter and some form of coolness during the hot summer periods.

Many a times occupants of houses spend money in acquiring air conditioning devices to provide one with cool and refreshing air and other heat generating devices like the artificial chimneys that are being sold these days. After spending such huge amounts on these equipments, it does not end there. One is also presented with the financial problem of having to foot the constant bills that come with the usage of those equipments. This leads to compounding the already compounded financial problem of the user.

  • Benefits of home insulation

The benefits that come with insulating one’s home are numerous and taking a look at some of these benefits helps any potential user to understand what he or she is really going in for. Below are some of the benefits:

  1. Money that would have been spent on paying of bills for the usage of energy is saved
  2. It helps in reducing the total amount of energy used in a house and the emissions of certain greenhouse gases
  3. It also helps to ensure that there isn’t too much over-reliance by people on systems associated with the provision of cooling and warming of houses
  4. Moreover, it also helps in raising the quality of comfort available in a particular home

These are just some of the benefits derived from insulating one’s home.

One major thing associated with home insulation is that the R-Values of home insulation should always be met, that is; it should be able to ensure that heat does not escape in or out of the house during the warmer and cooler weather conditions respectively. However, there are times when the quality of insulation may be very low and this may be due to any of the following:

  • When they are not properly installed
  • Not taking into consideration the size of the house to be insulated

When these factors are taken into consideration and the right thing done, then one is guaranteed the optimum best when it comes to getting provided with the right insulation for any given weather condition.

Things that you can insulate in your home (where to insulate)

Below are the things that can be insulated in one’s home:

  1. Water pipes: This is insulating pipes that connect the heater and water tanks to the house which are exposed in order to check the loss or gain of heat
  2. Floors: This is the insulation done within the floor of a house to ensure the checking of loosing and gaining of heat in the house even though insulating floors is something that is rarely done
  3. Walls: This means fixing walls with the right materials to prevent the loss of heat during the winter and coolness during the summer time
  4. Roofs and ceilings: This has to do with adding insulation to all the various roof and ceiling types to ensure that a house uses energy efficiently and ensuring that there are no places for heat to either sneak in or out of the house with regards to the ceiling and roofing

 

  • When is it most appropriate to insulate one’s house?

The most appropriate time to insulate a house is during the building of the house itself from its beginning or when there are some general renovations to be done on the house.

The various climatic changes tend to have some kind of effect on the amount of heat lost or gained in a particular period. This raises the need for one to insulate his or her home so as to ensure that the atmosphere within the house remains as normal and comfortable as it can be.

Insulation therefore is a way to check the flow of heat in a particular house at a particular point in time.

After carefully considering the various benefits and comfort associated with insulating one’s home, it can be seen that it really do help us to save some of our hard earned money and the energy that would have been spent on trying to find appropriate heating and cooling systems.

Next Steps

As I linked to in a previous post, the guys over at http://besthalogenheaters.co.uk have up-to-date reviews of heating appliances and regularly publish posts about how to conserve energy, one way is to improve the insulation in your home.

UK Home Insulation is another place that is worth checking out for some tips and info.

How Long Will Fossil Fuels Last And What Will Replace Them?

In a period when the energy consumption of the entire world keeps growing astronomically, fossil fuels have emerged as a light at the end of a very dark tunnel by almost single-handedly providing the energy consumption needs of the world.

In a bid to look at how long fossil fuels last and what other energy source will replace them, it is very necessary to first acquaint ourselves with what these fossil fuels are and how they get formed.

What are fossil fuels?

Fossil fuel is a source of energy derived from decayed organic substances naturally through processes like the anaerobic decomposition of these organisms that have died long ago. The continuous decomposition of these dead organisms which has been in existence for over six hundred years, have given rise to the formation of an energy source popularly referred to as fossil fuel. This idea of fossilized remains being the major architect of fossil fuel formation was first brought up by Georg Agricola in the year 1956 and Mikhail Lomonosov later came out with the same idea during the 18th century.

The period during which these fossil fuels were formed has been referred to as the ‘’Carboniferous Period’’ which was an aspect of the Paleozoic era. Looking at the term Carboniferous, the first thing that comes to mind is carbon hence Carboniferous came about due to the higher concentration of carbon in fossil fuel.

Components of fossil fuels

The major component of fossil fuels is carbon as studies have shown that fossil fuels have a very high amount of carbon with the inclusion of natural gas, coal and petroleum.

How long will fossil fuels last?

Looking at the almost geometric rate at which energy is being consumed by the world year after year, it raises the question of how long fossil fuels will be able to sustain us. According to research done by the Energy Information Administration, it was estimated that in the year 2007, petroleum coal and natural gases provided over 84% of the energy consumed by the world with the rest being provided by the other sources of energy like hydroelectric, geothermal, nuclear, solar, wind, wood and waste. Fossil fuels will surely run out at a particular point in time.

Although fossil fuels have been in existence for over millions of years now, their wide-scale extraction during the Industrial Revolution era which began not so long ago has led to many being concerned about how long these fossil fuels can last. And the truth is, not very long. The amount of fossil fuel consumed within this very short period of time is so alarming that the fossil fuel reserves are all but finished.  It is only a matter of when they do run out as opposed to if they will run out as we already know that fossil fuels will eventually run out with the passage of time.

Currently, the oil reserves are fast drying up due to the excessive extraction and usage by almost the entire world population. Researchers have been able to estimate the time at which crude oil deposits will be all gone by taking into consideration the total amount of crude oil left and the amount of crude oil consumed by people yearly. Reducing the pressure on crude oil and bridging the energy gap by increasing the production of gas will ensure the sustainability of fossil fuels to the year 2088. Putting in place such measures will ensure that fossil fuels do carry us through to the year 2088 and they will no longer be in existence. Though some new oil reserves will be found somewhere along the line, it does not guarantee that fossil fuels will be around forever.

Aside the fact that these fossil fuels are on a time bomb, their continuous worldwide use has lead to the incidence of global warming which is mainly caused by the CO2 that is discharged during their usage.

This begs the question, ‘’what energy source will replace fossil fuels when they are no longer in existence?” Well, all hope is not lost when it comes to the area of sources of energy to help provide for the world’s energy consumption needs. These forms of energy are referred to as renewable energy sources.

Alternative energy sources to fossil fuels

  I.            Solar Energy: This is the source of energy derived from the heat that emanates from the sun which is harvested through the use of solar panels. This energy can then be used in performing most energy-related tasks. The advantages of using solar energy are uncountable and some of them are;

  1. It adds some form of worth to your property at no extra cost.
  2. It also ensures that the global warming caused by pollution of the environment by the emissions of carbon dioxide that is always associated with the use of fossil fuels.
  3. Many states in the US have already started installing the campaign for solar energy by installing solar panels free of charge.

II.            Hydroelectric Energy: This is the form of energy that is derived from water bodies. The energy created by flowing water bodies is harnessed through the use of turbines. Some countries now boast of their entire energy consumption are now being provided by hydroelectric energy. This form of energy is now emerging as a possible replacement for fossil fuels. This is largely due to the fact that the direction towards a more cleaner and sustainable energy source has turned towards hydroelectric energy. Hydroelectric energy use provides us with the following advantages;

  1. It provides a form of energy that does not negatively affect the environment.
  2. This form of energy can also be renewed and so there isn’t any fear of it running out like fossil fuels. This is to the fact that water bodies cover almost 70% of the total earth meaning this form of energy will always be around so far as water bodies continue to be in existence.
  3. Hydroelectric energy is now the major source of energy in most countries today.

III.            Wind Energy: This is the form of energy gotten from the wind. From the olden days to date, wind has always served as a form of energy by providing the much needed energy used to pump water and also grind grains in farmhouses. These were done by using windmills to harvest the energy from the wind. Nowadays, the windmills have given way to more sophisticated equipment known as wind turbines. The wind turbines are erected about 30m above the ground in order to capture the energy within the wind. These wind turbines trap the wind and use its energy in the generation of electricity. The energy generated by these wind turbines are also very clean and do not cause any pollution to the environment and above all are also renewable due to the fact that wind will always be in existence.

IV.            Ocean Energy: This is the energy derived from the oceans. There are two main energy types namely; thermal energy and mechanical energy. The thermal energy is derived from sun’s heat warming the surface of the sea whilst the temperature of the deep sea water remains low. This change in temperature of the surface and the deep sea water leads to the generation of thermal energy. Mechanical energy on the hand is derived from the waves and tides from the sea. This form of energy is also renewable and also clean to generate and use.

The various forms of energy discussed above are also termed as Green Power. This is the energy derived from the ocean, fresh water bodies, wind, solar and others which do not pollute the environment with their generation and usage.

With these energy sources available, all hope will not be lost when the fossil fuels run out for we will have Green Power which is a more cleaner and renewable energy source as compared to the fossil fuels.