Solar Investment Tax Credit Extension: 26% for 2 more Years (2021)

Here is some good news for all environmental enthusiasts who would like to invest in solar projects and base their households on renewable sources of energy. At the end of 2020, the authorities have announced that the solar investment tax credit will remain at 26% for two whole years, even though there were speculations about solar tax credit for 2021 dropping four percent.

That pretty much means that every solar project that starts during 2021 and 2022, no matter if it’s a commercial, a residential, industrial, or a utility-scale one, will be able to get a tax credit at 26%. The Government’s decision to lower it down at 22% this year has been postponed and moved to 2023.

It’s pretty clear that this solar ITC extension will allow so many more people to dive into much wanted solar projects under the same terms as their predecessors, but also that they should hurry and stop hesitating because a couple of years from now, the conditions will change drastically. According to new official information, no-one will be able to get more than 22% tax credit in any market, and commercial markets, as well as utility ones, will be locked with 10% starting 2024.

Solar tax credits were extended thanks to the support of many people that were not part of the industry, like congressional leaders or more than 200 bipartisan mayors. But still, this decision came as a surprise given that so many bills that were introduced in the past years with an attempt to extend the solar ITC have been rejected.

The fact is this extension came as a result of the economic disaster that follows the current pandemic situation, and apparently, Congress wanted to provide their fellow Americans with some support and good news. The idea was to make sure as many people as possible get an opportunity to be part of the American energy economy rebuilding that will be implemented in action during the next couple of years.

What Equipment Do You Need for Setting Up a Solar System for Home?

mounting solar panels on roof

It’s pretty clear that solar systems are becoming more and more popular as time goes by and that there are more and more people willing to do their part regarding environmental preservation and reducing their own carbon footprint. Now, let’s not pretend that we all decided to go solar only because it was the right thing to do for our planet. The truth is, that’s only one reason, while the other lies in the fact we could save so much money on electricity bills if we were about to have a solar system installed upon our roof. But let’s be clear – there’s nothing wrong with that, on the contrary. 

According to statistics, during the previous year, 23 percent of growth has been detected when it comes to the number of residential solar systems being installed. And what’s been pretty obvious by now is that this number will be even higher at the end of 2020. The reason for that huge growth lies in the fact efficiency of solar systems has been drastically improved in the last few years, but also, the cost of solar panels has dropped significantly. So if you are interested in installing solar panels, here is what you need to know and have.

Solar panels for household

Usually, solar systems for home usage will be installed on the roof of your home, and they will convert the sunlight into the electricity you can use to power up your house appliances. Quite often, these solar panels systems are being called PV, as photovoltaic systems. 

If you choose your system wisely, and if we are talking about only high-quality solar installations, the roof-mounted solar construction will eliminate or reduce your home’s dependence on the local power grid, and therefore you will be able to save on electricity bills month after month.

We cannot deny that a home solar system is quite an investment, but the truth is it will most definitely pay off, and you will find yourself in a position to count on and use mostly clear and renewable energy that will prolong the lifespan of the planet we all live on.

Now, be aware that we have off-grid and on-grid solar power systems but that most solar systems for the home will remain connected to the grid. The off-grid solar installation is more appropriate for remote areas that have limited access to electricity in general.

Main components of the solar system

In order to understand how exactly the solar system works, you need to know what are its main components and how they work. We are referring to:

  • Solar panels
  • Solar racking
  • Solar inverters
  • Solar monitoring system
  • Solar storage

Solar panels

You cannot have a solar power system without solar panels. In other words, they are the main part of every solar installation, and when choosing which to buy, you should consider their efficiency rating, quality of the materials they are made of, warranty periods, their price and type.

Residential solar systems are usually based on one of these two types of solar panels – monocrystalline and polycrystalline. There are no huge differences between them, except the fact monocrystalline panels are a bit more expensive and slightly more effective.

Now, how many solar panels you will install and where you are going to place them depends on several factors, like what’s the climate like in the place you live in, do you have enough surface on your roof for solar installation, do you want to generate enough electricity for your entire household’s need or you would like just to cover one part, etc.

That’s something you should consult with a professional installer, but there’s also an option of using an online solar system size calculator. Also, be aware that if you have an extensive capacity solar system, you can probably send a surplus of electricity back to the grid in exchange for credits via net metering.

Solar racking

Even though it looks that way, solar panels aren’t actually attached directly to the roof. They stand on a solar ranking that can be constructed in different ways and in different angles, depending on what’s the desirable position of the panels regarding sun exposure. The racking is mounted on the roof, and solar panels are lying on top of it. This element needs to be built in a good quality manner and to be very durable and sturdy, so you can be sure your solar system won’t be endangered in case of bad weather.

Solar inverter

Solar panel systems cannot work without solar inverters. It is a device that has the ability to receive direct current (DC) solar panels generated and to transform it into alternating current (AC) our home appliances are working on. So without it, the power produced by the sun would be useless.

There are three types of inverters – micro inverters, centralized or string inverters, and power optimizers. Microinverters are pretty expensive, and solar systems based on these inverters need to have more than one – each solar panel is connected to one inverter. They will allow your system to work well even if some of the panels do not perform at their maximum at the moment.

The centralized inverters are more affordable, but they can fail to do their job properly, given there’s only one inverter on the whole solar system, regardless of the number of solar panels. And if there’s shading, the whole system could experience production loss. When it comes to power optimizers, they actually optimize the output of DC current, and they need to be installed in each solar panel. The system with power optimizers will need a centralized inverter as well.

Solar monitoring system

If you would like to be familiar with how your system is performing, how much electricity you were provided in the previous period, you should rely on the solar monitoring system. It will be able to show you how much electricity your solar installation was generating per day, per hour, or per year. Also, it will alarm you if there are any changes in the system.

Solar storage

When mentioning solar storage, we are actually talking about solar batteries. There are those that can store and save energy your solar system generated for later on, when you need it, or only overnight until the sun rises again and the system starts working again. They are a very important part of the solar installation because they will enable you to have a fully functional home even when the power is off or when the grid connection is not available. But also, they can keep the excess electricity before you are ready to send it back to the grid and use the net metering services.

The cost of a solar system

The overall cost of your specific solar power system will be determined by several factors, so we cannot speak about this subject in general. The fact is, solar panel systems are not cheap, but another fact is that there is a federal solar tax credit that will deduct 26 percent of the cost that installing a solar system brings from your federal taxes, as well as other solar incentives.

Regarding the calculations, you should know that the average payback period is usually six to seven years, depending on the size of the system, and that most solar panel manufacturers will give you a 25-year long warranty. That means there will be around 18 years where you won’t have to pay a dime for the electricity you are using, or that at least these expenses will be drastically reduced.

Solar installers

Who to trust with your solar system is always a huge question. Because not every installer is a good one, and because the overall performance, as well as the lifespan of the solar system, will depend on the way the system is set up. It can also affect the return on your investment. It is essential your installer is well experienced, licensed, and recommended by a significant number of people.

Conclusion

When you decide it is time for you to start thinking about your future solar system, and you begin to search for the best solar panels, know that three things are crucial in that matter – for them to be reliable, highly efficient and that they are covered with the warranty. The efficiency will show you how much electricity your system can generate per square foot.

The reliability depends on the quality of materials solar panels are made of and the technology they are based on. And finally, the warranty period will let you know for how long you can count on your solar system to provide electricity.

Top 10 Economic Benefits of Solar Energy

solar-power-station-energy-from-natural

Going solar can be quite an expensive endeavor, that’s true, but there’s no slightest doubt that it will be worth it. Not only will you save a lot of money on electricity bills in the future, but you will contribute to the most important environment-friendly movement’s goal, which is keeping our planet alive and in the best possible shape for all future generations we will leave behind. But for now, let’s focus on the most important economic benefits of solar energy usage.

Economic benefits

1. Lower utility bills

There are, let’s say, more traditional ways of saving on electricity than switching to solar, like turning off the lights more often, at least when you’re not in a room, and taking it down a notch with cooling and heating electricity-based systems, but those things can only go so far. If you decide to install solar panels on top of your roof, there’s no doubt that you will cut down your electricity expenses dramatically. Of course, how much exactly you will save depends on many factors – how many solar panels you have, whether you completely go off the grid or not, what you use the solar system for, etc. We talked about the average cost of utilities in US households, so you know that each state has different utility costs. Those people who live in places with high electricity rates will find transiting to solar extremely beneficial.

2. Net Energy Metering

Having a solar system installed can help you not only cut down on electricity usage but earn money as well. If you have a solar system that’s powerful enough to cover all of the needs of your household and still generate more energy, you can send it back to the grid and sell that surplus to the local electric company. But bear in mind that not every state has a NEM system and that these policies can vary a lot from state to state.

3. TOU rates

You are probably familiar with TOU (time-of-use) rates and how much they can increase your monthly electric bills. TOU rates are defined by your local utility, and they vary a lot depending on the time of the day. That means that electricity spent in peak hours, when demand for it is the biggest, will be the most expensive, while it will be the least expensive during off-peak hours. Now, if you have a solar system with a battery attached, you will be able to use your home appliances whenever you want for the same cost because you won’t be blackmailed this way by the electrical companies.

4. Federal and state incentives

If you wonder what are the economic impacts of solar energy, you should know that you can get both federal and state incentives that will make it easier for you to buy and install a solar system, but also to cover the investment in a shorter time frame. That leads to being able to save a lot of money on electrical bills much faster than you anticipated. At this very moment, every person who decides to purchase the solar system can deduct the cost of it by 30% on the basis of federal income taxes. Also, many states and local governments have property and sales tax exemptions that can be quite helpful as well.

5. Solar home value

According to many analyses, investing in the solar system is a great decision because it will increase the value of your home significantly, among other things. So if you think you may want to sell your place sometime in the future, it will be a good idea to buy and set up solar panels. This move can increase the value of your property by $20.000 or even more. As you can see, the impact of solar power on economics is very diverse and extremely effective.

aerial-view-private-houses-with-solar-panels-roofs

6. Sunlight is free

If you have a heating system based on electricity, your expenses may vary a lot with time. That’s because the price of electricity may go up at any moment. But if counting on the sun’s energy, you will always be in a safe zone since the sunlight cost is zero, and because it is, and always will be there. It is a renewable resource, unlike natural gas or fuel. These energy sources are expensive, and they are contaminating our planet constantly.

Environmental benefits

Previously, we talked about the economic impact of solar energy, but let’s not forget that the money issue isn’t at the core of the solar concept. It’s all about preserving the environment actually and making sure we are not destroying the planet we were given to live on. So here are several more important benefits than those economic ones.

1. Greenhouse effect

According to EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), cars and other motor vehicles dramatically contribute to the creation of greenhouse gasses, which affects our environment tremendously. And the greenhouse effect is what causes global warming.

2. Air pollution

It may seem unreal, but the truth is that around 6.4 million people die each year from air pollution. The air we breathe is so contaminated that in some parts of the world, governments recommend their citizens not to leave their homes if it’s not necessary. Given that fossil fuels we use every day contribute to air pollution in great amounts, every person who decides to go solar will help our planet to recover and to become free of all the pollutants and toxins.

3. Social impact

It is a well-known fact that global warming in the past often leads to wildfires, hurricanes, some devastating floods, rising sea levels, and droughts. The consequences of these disasters lead to people facing the destruction of property and homelessness, increased food prices and, therefore hunger, as well as rising health care costs. Relying on renewable energy in these scenarios saved a lot of lives, and it provided a perspective of the future disengaged from the negative social impact caused by the usage of fossil fuels.

4. Job creation

The solar industry is growing each day, and it’s becoming stronger and more reliable. Since unemployment is one of the biggest problems of today’s society, we cannot forget to point out that this rising industry is providing jobs for so many people all around the world. Ten years ago, there were around 90.000 people hired to be part of the solar industry in the US, and in 2018. the number was 240.000

Average Cost of Utilites Spend By U.S. Household Each Year

doing accounting

If you are thinking about buying a house or renting an apartment, you better calculate how much does utility cost per month in order to properly draft your household budget. These expenses aren’t negligible, and they can severely affect your lifestyle. They include the electricity and gas bill, the heating and cooling cost, water expenses, trash and recycling, Internet and cable service, and landline phone.

Now, be aware that the amount of money you will be spending on these utilities depends on several factors. First, they are dictated by the place you live in, then by the square footage of the place, but also by your determination, or the lack of it, regarding the steps you can take to reduce the amount of energy your home consumes – through the usage of solar lights, for instance.

Now, you will probably be shocked by this information, but the fact is the average household in the United States spends more than 2000 dollars each year on utilities – that’s according to the federal Energy Star program. But let’s start from the beginning and see how much money each utility will drain from your pockets and what the things you can do in order to reduce these expenses are. This is an overview of how much utilities are on average in the US.

Average monthly bill for water

If you want to calculate how much your apartment or house spends on water supply, you need to take into account the size of your home, where you live, and what your habits regarding water consummation are. For instance, long showers and washing dishes without closing the tap will most definitely increase your bills.

According to EPA (Environmental protection Agency), American households tend to use a great amount of water on a daily basis. Their estimation is that each US home spends around 88 gallons of water a day for each person, which means your water bill will most likely be somewhere between $50 and $60.

In 2018, a family of four members that spend approximately 50 gallons of water for each person a day had a monthly bill of $35 on average. In those households where members weren’t careful about how much water they were spending and where every person used around 100 gallons of water a day, this utility bill raised to $70.

But bear in mind that in some cities water costs more than in some others. That means that even if you make an effort regarding water preservation, there are huge chances you will still have to pay quite an amount for this utility. Also, another thing you should know is that sometimes, when you are renting an apartment, the water bill is included in the rent, which means you won’t have to pay for it separately.

Average monthly bill for electricity

When it comes to the electricity bill, things are pretty much the same. How much you will have to pay for it at the end of the month will depend on the size of your house or your apartment in the first place, but your daily habits will play a huge role as well – whether you turn off the lights when you leave the room or not, for example.

Three years ago, the average electricity bill in the US was $111 each month. That’s according to the US Energy Information Administration. But the thing is, the average cost of electricity is very much determined by the state you live in, and that’s something people in some of these places are furious about. This is something to think about if you are deciding where to live.

For instance, in 2017, the average monthly electricity bill in Alabama was $142, in Colorado $82, in Kansas $114, in Montana $94, in Utah $81, in Texas $122, in West Virginia $119, in New York $103, in New Mexico $79, in Hawaii $149, and in California $101. Certainly, if you take some measures and install solar panels for home, you could have a lot.

Average monthly bill for natural gas

Now, establishing the average natural gas usage per household can be a bit tricky because it can depend on several variables. First of all, you need to know if the water heater in your new place, the oven, furnace you use for heating, and other home appliances are powered by electricity or by natural gas.

husband counting the cost of utilities

Then, besides the size of your place, it is important where you live as well. The climate in your area will greatly affect your average gas bill. So, if you live in a colder climate, where winter months last longer and temperatures go very low, and your heating system is based on natural gas, your bills will definitely be much higher than if you are to live in some summer state.

In that matter, the size of your home will play a major role also. If your place is big, you will need much more gas to heat it up. Given that these bills can go pretty high, it is recommended to make some steps in order to reduce gas consumption. That includes adding additional layers of insulation or inserting multi-pane windows.

The American Gas Association explains that the average gas bill for US households per month is around $55, or around $660 a year. But bear in mind that each state has different statistics. In 2017 the average household in Arizona spent $419, homes in Alaska had to pay $1609, in Florida, the cost of gas was $399, in Maryland $809, in Nevada $422, in New York $1012, and in Texas $481.

Average monthly bill for Internet, phone, and cable TV

Even though these things aren’t considered to be utilities in that traditional sense, the fact is utilities, as a term, refer to every service that keeps a place running. Today’s lifestyle is unimaginable without the Internet connection, phone service, or cable TV, so we needed to take them into account when talking about this subject.

We all know that people are hooked on TV, so it’s no surprise that according to a report from 2018, around 78% of households in the United States were subscribed to some sort of TV service. Even though that’s a pretty high number, the fact is, in previous years, this trend was even higher. In 2103, for instance, 86% of households had a TV service subscription. When it comes to money, the assessment is that TV service costs around $107 a month, which is a significant amount. If you think about it, some households pay less for water and electricity each month than for TV service.

Regarding the Internet, it’s pretty clear that we cannot live without it. Based on research that was conducted two years ago, 83% of United States households had an Internet connection, so today, the number is most definitely higher. And for that service, American people usually have to pay around $66 each month.

The most expensive states for utilities

Since we pointed out that there are huge differences in utility costs around the US, we decided to take every utility cost into consideration and provide you with a list of most expensive and list of least expensive states in this matter.

Apparently, it is most expensive to live in:

1. Hawaii – Most people couldn’t believe it, but this state reports the highest average gas and electricity bills in the US. You will have to pay around $300 for electricity over there, and around $230 for gas. The overall monthly utility cost in Hawaii is $730.

2. Alaska – It’s no surprise life in this state can be expensive since it’s cold most of the time, and average heating bills will create a significant impact on your finances. But besides that, what’s also expensive in Alaska is the Internet. People there have to pay around $107 a month for the Internet connection. The overall monthly utility cost in Alaska is $527.

3. Rhode Island – You will have to pay around $521 for utilities if you live in Rhode Island. That’s because the cost of gas and electricity is extremely high. They marked fourth and second place if you look at the nation’s utility cost statistics.

4. Connecticut – This is another country where life can be pretty expensive due to electricity and natural gas consumption. The average monthly bill for gas is $144 and for electricity $187. That’s way, people there are constantly shifting to other sources of power that are free of charge, like wind or sun.

5. New York – If you wanna live in New York, you will have to pay $477 on average, just for regular utilities. The electricity bills only, on average, are $173 a month, and for gas, you will have to pay around $1000 annually.

6. New Hampshire – Just like in New York, you will have to organize your budget, so you are able to pay around $477 every month on utilities in New Hampshire. The average cost of gas in this state is $107, and the usual electricity bill is somewhere around $169.

7. South Carolina – In order to live in South Carolina, you will have to set aside $473 each month for utilities. That includes an electricity bill of $140 on average and natural gas that’s pretty expensive there. It will cost you around $150 each month.

8. Massachusetts – The costs of the main utilities are pretty high in Massachusetts as well. The gas bills are around $100 annually, but electricity is what will hit your budget severely. The monthly expenses will be as high as $185.

9. Vermont – This is another state where the living can be quite heavy on your finances. That’s because the average monthly electricity bill goes around $160, and for using natural gas during 30 days, you will have to pay $110 on average.

10. Maine – Apparently, Maine is the state where utilities cost the most. Overall, you will probably spend $464 each month on utilities, where $146 will go for natural gas and $132 for electricity bills.

The least expensive states for utilities

Now, here is the list of ten states where living is more affordable, at least when it comes to utility costs.

1. Idaho – If you are thinking about moving somewhere where you won’t have to spend a lot on utilities, Idaho is the place. Natural gas is very cheap, so you will have to spend $52 each month, and electricity will cost you around $93 – it’s the fifth cheapest state in the country by these parameters.

2. Utah – According to our research, the price of electricity, the Internet, and natural gas is above average in this state. You will have to set aside only %52 for natural gas and $81 for the electricity you spend in one month.

3. Montana – Thanks to the fact natural gas costs $52, which was the single most affordable rate in the US in 2018, Montana is considered to be the third cheapest state to live in, in the matter of utility costs. The electricity bill is also something to think about if you are planning to move there – the average monthly bill is $94.

4. Washington – Even though the Internet in Washington is very expensive, the fact other utility bills are pretty low places this state in one of the cheapest states to live in. The price of natural gas there is $823 annually, and monthly electricity bills are around $98.

5. Nevada – The main reason Nevada is on this list is because of the low cost of natural gas. Every year you will spend around $422 on this utility, but electricity is affordable as well. In 2018 the average electricity bill in Nevada was $101.

nevada sunset

6. Louisiana – Apparently, two years ago, Louisiana had the lowest electricity bills in the country. Their residents had to pay only $86 monthly. Because of that, this state was ranked as the sixth most affordable in the United States.

7. Oregon – Here is another state where living is cheap. The overall utility costs in Oregon are $381 on average, and the prices of gas and electricity are among the lowest in the country. Annually, you will spend around $685 for natural gas and $103 for electricity, but monthly.

8. South Dakota – The truth is, electricity bills aren’t that low in South Dakota – the average monthly bill is $115, but the price of natural gas and the Internet is very affordable. Overall, you will have to set aside $382 for all utilities every month.

9. Arkansas – The average Internet bill in this state is only $51, the average monthly electricity bill is $89. That’s why Arkansas found its place in the least expensive states you can live in in the United States.

10. Wisconsin – Finally, the last state on our list is Wisconsin, due to the fact you will have to pay around $390 each month on utilities overall. The price of the Internet and natural gas is way below the national average but bear in mind that electricity is pretty expensive in this state.

How big of an impact utilities are on your finances?

There’s no way you can avoid paying utilities every month, and the fact is, they can severely affect your finances every month. That’s the reason why you need to think thoroughly about where you wanna live, and what is the cost of average bills per month in that exact place. There is no doubt that utility costs particularly strikes families with low incomes.

According to several studies, low-income households spend around 22% of their overall tax-free income on their residential utilities, including the usage of natural gas. On the other hand, those households that have a higher living standard and earn more usually spend around 5% of their incomes on things like water and electricity bills.

So the conclusion is that utility costs don’t affect everyone the same way. They are a much bigger burden on people who are on a budget and are living from paycheck to paycheck.

How to reduce your utility bills?

There are things you can do in order to reduce the cost of utilities each month. Sure, one can always choose to move to another state where costs of living are among the lowest in the country. But if you don’t have that luxury, you can always try to achieve the same by changing some of your habits or turning to some of the energy-efficient solutions.

Avoid long showers

By closing down the tap while you are applying the different products on your body and by taking a quick and efficient shower, you will definitely lower down the water bills at the end of each month. You won’t believe this, but if you reduce the shower time by five minutes only, you will cut down the amount of water you consume dramatically.

Install solar panels

The answer to the question – is solar power for household worth it, is definitely yes. By setting up the solar system on top of your roof will cut down the amount of electricity you spend on your household. How much exactly depends on many factors like the number of solar panels you use and the location where you live, but the results will be noticeable for sure. And if you wonder how to install solar panels, there is a guide on our site that can be helpful.

Be careful with the thermostat

In order to lower your cooling and heating bills, you need to work your way with the thermostat. During the winter months, you can keep the temperature in your home higher when you are in the house and lower when you are out, like during working hours. Also, in the summertime, air conditioning should be on only when it’s needed, not all the time.

Replace windows and doors

Another way you can keep your energy bills lower you should think about replacing all the windows and doors that are leaking air with those models that are more energy-efficient. Sure, that will be an investment, but it will pay off in a couple of years. You need to keep both hot and cold air inside your home.
Invest in light bulbs

It is a fact that new LED or fluorescent light bulbs will spend less energy than those old regular ones. It seems like this isn’t a big deal, but if you replace all the bulbs in your home with one of these, you can drastically reduce the energy you spend each month in your household. Also, you should think about investing in solar light for your driveway and your backyard.

Conclusion

We hope we were able to help you with calculating your average monthly utility costs. This is an important subject if you are thinking about buying a new house or renting a new apartment. The fact is, there are some things you cannot change, like the fact electricity or natural gas usage is more expensive in some states than in others. But there are things you can do to reduce your costs in this matter, and we made sure you know how exactly.

10 Types of Energy Sources

electricity produced with 4 wires connecting

There are many different sources of energy nature gave us unconditionally, so we can use them to generate power. It sounds unbelievable, but those forces are so strong and constant, that with the help of them, we can provide everything we need in this modern-day life. Thanks to the sun, wind, earth, and water, we can generate electricity that will run our cars, lighten up our lights, provide heat for our homes, etc. Here are the top ten energy sources all of us can use.

1. Solar energy

Solar energy is the energy of the sun that’s collected by solar panels and then generated into electricity. We know that the number of house owners who decided to use solar systems in order to power up their homes is getting bigger and bigger every day, but there is also a possibility of using power from small substations that are supplied by solar energy through huge panel fields placed in deserts, for example. There is, however, one problem with solar energy. It is not available to everyone with the same capacity. How much solar light you will get depends on where you live, the precise location.

2. Wind energy

Even though solar power is definitely number one when it comes to natural energy sources, the wind is slowly becoming its fare rival. The whole idea around this phenomenon is to use the power of the wind to launch and turn large wind turbines that will power up the generator and create electricity.

The wind farms are very popular and widespread, but there are some questions regarding the environment that created some concerns and needed to be asked. For example, how do they affect our environment? It is proven that wind farms could be dangerous to wildlife, especially birds, and there is also a matter of noise produced by turbines.

3. Geothermal energy

Geothermal energy is sustainable power created inside the ground we are walking on. Radioactive partials beneath the earth’s crust are raising the temperature in the ground. Because of that, hot rocks are turning water inside the core into the steam, and steam is making the ground turbines work and generate electricity. This natural source is usually used for residential or industrial needs for space and water heating, but the greatest problem with it is the fact that it is not available all around the world. Geothermal energy can be produced only at specific spots.

4. Hydrogen energy

When we talk about hydrogen energy, we actually talk about water power, because two-thirds of water’s chemical construction is this element. It can be used as a fuel that will generate electricity if it gets separated from other elements. Hydrogen is another source that can be used to provide our homes with lights and heat, but it can also power rockets, ships, cars, and other vehicles. The best thing is that it is a renewable source that can be created on-demand, and it will not leave any harmful traces in the atmosphere.

5. Tidal energy

The energy created by the tide is quite unbelievable. It is based on kinetic energy that follows incoming and outgoing tides that are converted into electrical energy. Coastal areas are known as the best ones to use this sort of natural source. That’s one of the greatest advantages of tidal energy if you look at it from a perspective of coastal people, but it is also its huge disadvantage, given that it’s therefore limited to certain areas. Another thing that’s a downside is that it seeks for great investments in order to be used. Tidal energy is a renewable source of power, and it has the ability to produce a significant amount of energy, even in situations where tides are at the lowest speeds.

6. Wave energy

The ocean turns out to be tremendous and a multiple source of energy. Besides tidal, there is also wave energy that is based on the movement under the water surface. It is one of the greatest sources of energy since it is environmental-friendly, renewable, and safe for the atmosphere. Same as tidal, it can be used in coastal places, so those countries don’t have to be trapped by the dependence of fuel that is purchased from foreign countries. However, there are some downsides of wave energy – it can be harmful to the marine ecosystem, it can disturb water vehicles, and it is very much dependent on wavelength.

7. Hydroelectric energy

A huge number of people, the whole cities, actually can be dependent on hydroelectric energy. This source has excellent power. Every damn work on the strength of water because it is used to turn the generators, which then produce electricity. That way hydroelectric energy supplies electrical stations with electricity everyone can use to power up their homes, machines, vehicles, etc. The biggest problem this type of energy faces is the fact that most dams are old and technologically outdated, and it takes a lot of work and money to make them more safe, productive, and current.

8. Biomass energy

Organic materials can be transformed into biomass energy that can be used in many ways. We are talking about crops, trees, plants, wood chips, yard clippings, and animal waste. All those things can generate power adequate for home heating, cooking, or they can be used for fuel in industrial production. The whole process is based on burning biomass materials in a combustor or furnace, which will produce hot gas. Then, that gas goes into a boiler that will generate steam, which will be expanded by the steam engine in order to produce usable energy. The disadvantage of this source is that it can create a big amount of carbon dioxide, which is released into the atmosphere.

9. Nuclear power

There is a huge dilemma about how efficient and safe it is to use nuclear energy as a source of power because of the dangerous waste in leaves behind, but the fact is that at this moment, it is one of the biggest renewable sources of energy in the world. This energy is created thanks to the unique nuclear reaction, which is then collected and directed into the power generators. This energy is usually used for generating heat through steam turbines that create electricity in nuclear power plants. Nuclear power can be generated by nuclear fusion, nuclear fission, and nuclear decay.

10. Fossil fuels

If we are talking about fossil fuels, we are referring to the coil, natural gas, and oil. These are the main sources of power in most parts of the world. Oil can be transformed into several products, but the most popular is gasoline, while the natural gas, which is not so popular as coil and oil, is presented in the form of heating source and power that launches vehicles. The reason there is a huge controversy when it comes to using these natural sources is the fact the process of getting them out of the soil and converting them into the usable power is causing heavy destruction and pollution of the environment. Besides that, people forget that these sources are limited, experts predict that we will be able to use them only for another 100 years.

Conclusion

There is no way we can say with absolute certainty which one of these energy sources is best for us. They all come with some advantages and disadvantages, it’s up to us to assess what are our priorities, and what will create less or non-damage to our planet. Experts are underlining that the most important thing is to change the way we consume energy that comes from nature and to create a balance between that will make these sources sustainable.

List of 25 Biggest Environmental Issues

We have a lot to worry about. Our planet, the only one we have, is more fragile than ever and exposed to a lot of threats. Even though we are fighting to admit it, we are the ones who are responsible for that, collectively. It’s on us the fact that the air, water, and soil are polluted to the alarming level, or that we do nothing, or at least too little about climate change. It’s on us the fact deforestation is even a thing that has its name, or that nuclear issues even exist. So let’s take a second to acknowledge that and accept the responsibility. If you wonder what are the top 25 biggest environmental problems, besides these previously mentioned ones, here is the list.

Current Environmental Problems

1. Air pollution

One of the biggest global environmental issues is air pollution. The air we breathe is very much contaminated by gasses and poisons released by industrial and manufacturing plants. The air becomes polluted when a huge amount of harmful substances are released into Earth’s atmosphere. One of the most contagious toxins are industry and engine vehicle fumes.

2. Water pollution

When it comes to water and soil pollution, it can happen so easily and so fast, but it will take years for them to recover completely. It’s very much alarming the fact that clean drinking water is becoming a rare thing in some parts of the world, and politicians shamefully turned that into a monetary. The most common water polluters are industrial and agricultural waste, acid rain, and urban sprawl.

3. Land pollution

The contamination of our soil is mostly caused by mechanical waste, and it leads to the degradation of the Earth’s surface. Human activities, like mining, agricultural, industrial, and construction work, as well as deforestation, are the ones that are responsible. The thing that’s concerning is that soil pollution affects the quality of air and water too, which negatively affects human health. It’s a vicious circle that’s difficult to stop.

4. Global warming

The term global warming refers to the rise of the Earth’s climate system’s average temperature, caused by humans. Thanks to the burning of fossil fuels, the greenhouse gasses are being released into the atmosphere. They trap the sun’s warmth and raise up the air and soil temperature, which is causing a huge environmental change that brings out many unexpected consequences like melting ice, ocean disruption, and extreme weather.

5. Climate change

Global warming has a significant impact on global climate change. These two phenomena are linked. The irresponsible human behavior leads to raising the temperature of Earth’s climate system, and that causes considerable shifts in weather output. Because of that, we have floods and droughts, devastating storms, tornados, and other natural disasters in many places on Earth.

6. Increased carbon footprint

Based on temperature increment, there are a lot of greenhouse gasses present in the atmosphere. That’s something that can potentially cause many problems. A carbon footprint is basically a total greenhouse gas emission expressed as carbon dioxide equivalent. 

7. Deforestation

It is well known that forests are the ones that create new oxygen we all depend on. So it’s devastating to hear that areas that are covered by trees are taking only 30 percent of the Earth’s surface and that they are diminishing more and more because people are cutting them for different reasons, without even thinking about the consequences of their actions.

8. Genetic modification

Genetic modification procedures allow people to change the basic and natural characteristics of micro-organism, plans, and animals, by crossbreeding pieces of different DNA. It is a genetic manipulation performed by scientists in an attempt to win over nature. There is a huge moral dilemma regarding this topic, but it’s certain that these experiments brought us some serious problems and challenges.

9. Effect on marine life

There is a disproportionately large amount of carbon in the atmosphere and water all around the world, which is a big problem since it affects the living world under the water surface. The most vulnerable are microscopic fish and shellfish.

10. Overpopulation

Current environmental issues include overpopulation. It is a bit harsh to say this, but experts say that our planet is overcrowded and that overpopulation is a potentially big problem since it reached unsustainable levels. There are not enough assets like water and food to satisfy the basic needs of every human being.

overpopulated buildings

11. Public health

The great number of people that are living in third world countries are in danger because they don’t have access to clean drinking water. Because of that, their health and well being is compromised and in great danger.

12. Loss of biodiversity

Since there is a problem with overpopulation, people started inhabiting so far unoccupied areas, which means they started destroying forests and polluting what used to be clean natural surfaces. As a result, there is a huge loss of biodiversity. Many animal and plant spices are extinguished by now, which can have a great effect on our future, negatively.

13. Household and industrial waste

We are living in a time where we don’t think enough about the consequences of our behavior, so there is overutilization of many assets, like plastic, for example. The fact that plastic needs thousands of years to decompose is alarming because it ends up in our soil and water constantly.

14. Ozone layer depletion

The ozone layer that’s surrounding our planet is protecting us from harmful sunbeams. But there are some depletions of this layer because of the contamination caused by Chlorine and Bromide that can be found in Chlorofluorocarbons. When they reach the atmosphere, they are creating holes in the ozone layer.

15. Natural resource depletion

There are some natural resources that are non-renewable, but we are persistent in using them. That will, most certainly, lead to the point where they will be expired, which will then have some serious repercussions. The excessive consumption of fossil fuels can increase the global temperature, which will then provoke ice caps melting and the massive increase in sea levels.

16. Mining

The continuous extraction of minerals that can be found in Earth’s core is achieved by mining. We do need some of them in order to live the life we are used to, but the thing is, when we bring them up from the soil, they can come with some harmful chemicals that can pollute our water and air we breathe.

17. Natural disasters

The power of nature is unquestionable. The unpredictable earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, floods, cyclones, tsunamis, etc. can be the cause of the death of many people and the destruction of people’s property.

18. Nuclear issues

Nuclear plants contain radioactive waste in the form of nuclear fuel, that’s actually a by-product of nuclear power generation. The way this waste is being dismissed is the main concern because it represents a huge endanger to our environment. It’s toxic and has an extremely catastrophic effect on the life of people who live in that area.

19. Loss of endangered species

The fact that our planet is overpopulated is no joke. People are searching for new regions and spots they can create a life on, and because of that, many animal and plant species are being distinguished. Environmental frameworks are changing since many endangered species are lost until now.

20. Acid rain

Acid rain can happen if some kind of poisonous substance is present in the climate. It is, in a way, regular rain, but it is extremely acidic because it has elevated levels of hydrogen ions. It can be very harmful, and it’s usually brought up by volcanoes, the usage of fossil fuels, or spoiling vegetation that emits sulfur dioxide.

21. Noise pollution

This may sound silly, but noise and light pollution is actually a thing. The sound of construction, heavy traffic, or industrialization can greatly affect our lives. We are talking about an extreme amount of unpleasant noise that will create a huge impact on human and animal activity.

22. Agricultural pollution

It is well known that chemical products like pesticides and fertilizers are being used in agriculture, in order to protect planted fruits and vegetables. Some of them evaporate, but many will stay on the yields and harm them, the crops, and eventually us.

23. Urban sprawl

When we are talking about urban sprawl, we are referring to people relocating from cities to provincial areas with low density. That leads to the spreading of the urban centers in a rustic and unpopulated area, which brings on the environmental concerns.

24. Medical waste

There is a huge need for hospitals and other health centers, but there is a problem of how medical waste is being disposed of. That’s everything that’s used in large quantities in these facilities, like gloves, needles, syringes, blades, tubes, etc., but also body parts and blood. All that can contaminate our environment significantly.

25. Littering and landfills

Among environmental issues today are definitely littering and landfills. Littering refers to disposing the garbage in the wrong location or on the ground, which can lead to a big environmental and economic problem because there needs to be an investment in cleaning up the polluted areas. Landfills are another problem since they can produce dangerous gases that could be fatal for animals and humans.

Solutions to Environmental Issues

Now, we need to accept reality, but not to cry over it. It’s on us to do everything we can in order to make some changes regarding these issues and to improve the conditions we live in. There are several ways we can contribute to our planet’s well being, and there’s no reason to wait with their implementation.

Affordable and clean energy

The first thing we all can do is to turn to clean and affordable energy. We are talking about solar, wind, and thermal energy sources that are renewable, eco-friendly, and cost-effective. According to experts in this field, renewable energy is the number one tool that can help us fight against climate change since these technologies can displace emissions from fossil fuels. Adopting these technologies also means reducing global electricity consumption in a great amount.

Sustainable homes

It is a well-known fact that traditional households contribute to CO2 emission and the greenhouse effect, just like global warming, and that it is essential to shift to sustainable homes in order to regain natural sources balance and protect our health. These houses are environmentally healthy, energy-efficient, and as comfortable and regular ones, and they are based on alternative energy resources. We are talking about the usage of solar panels for homes, wind turbines as their main systems, about geothermal heat pumps, rainwater collector systems, gray water systems, etc.

mother with son standing beside solar panels

Conserving the natural resources

You wouldn’t believe how conservation of natural sources can help with this matter. That’s the process of rational usage and preservation of our environment and everything it has to give. Many natural resources are non-renewable, and their extensive usage is disturbing the natural balance, which leads to some serious consequences regarding our life on the planet. Some ways in which we can contribute when it comes to conserving natural sources are recycling, protecting our forests, driving fewer cars, buying fewer things or at least purchasing products made of recycled materials, conserving energy at home, etc.

Improved food production

Food production is one of the biggest factors of climate change. Since it is creating huge environmental damage in the form of polluting the environment due to an over-usage of nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizers, it is crucial to improve these processes and make sure they are less affecting our planet. The recommendation is to change the global diets towards planet-based nutrition with less animal-based food, highly processed foods, refined grains, added sugars, etc. The other solution is to reduce food waste, to apply new technologies of agriculture, to adopt water conservation, and improve the irrigation systems.

Carbon capture and sequestration

The process of carbon capture and sequestration includes capturing the carbon dioxide at the emission sources, storing it, usually deep underground, and isolating it. That can help us fight global warming and creating greener energy. Thanks to the power plants and excessive usage of vehicles that burn fossil fuels, the amount of CO2 in the air is larger than it should be, and that leads to raising the temperature of the planet. That’s why carbon capture, mainly directly from the power plants, is important if we tend to prolong the life of the planet we are living on.

Conclusion

When we see the statistics and hear about how our lifestyle badly affects our planet, we tend to become very worried and concerned, but the fact is, very few of us make an effort in order to change the current situation. The experts from all around the world are constantly bombing us with devastating information with the intent to make us wake up and start acting on these matters because the clock is ticking, but it seems like we are extremely passive and unveiling to make some changes. That has to end. We have to take our lives into our own hands and show that we are ready to help our planet survive our own negligence. And the truth is, we can do that, together, by adopting small changes and living according to them, day by day.

Sustainable Living – How to Embrace Sustainable Lifestyle?

There are many people in the world who claim that sustainable living is our only option if we want to make sure we have a future as a human race. It may sound a bit dramatic and catastrophic, but it’s not so far from the truth if you really think about it. Sustainability lifestyle is teaching us how to, as individuals, but as a society too, reduce the usage of Earth’s natural sources, how to preserve what we have, what mother nature gave us in the first place. It’s about choices we make every day – to ride a bike instead of a car, to reduce energy consumption, to recycle, to choose renewable energy and use paper instead of plastic bags, etc. So if you wonder how to embrace all that, how to make sure you do whatever it needs to be done in order to know our planet is protected and taken care of, here is the list you need to follow.

Choose minimalism

This may sound confusing because most people will primarily think about interior design, but we are actually talking about lifestyle. In this domain, minimalism implies you should own and use only those things that you really need. Everything is about making sure things we possess we benefit from in the maximum capacity. People who decide to live like this practice recycling, use waste products, and show great support to those manufacturers who are being guided by sustainability as the main principle.

Be part of a community garden

It would be good for you to become a member of a community garden and start growing your own crops because that’s something that can connect you to your environment and raise the awareness of how important it is to experience satisfying labor. This way, you will also be able to contribute to spreading the word of importance when it comes to sustainable living in your area because more green spaces mean fewer carbon emissions in urban regions. 

Use natural cleanser

We all know how damaging it is for our environment to use all those household chemicals, but we still do it because we believe the alternative is too complicated. We assure you that it isn’t, and that will take you just an hour to research and make some natural cleanser that will do the same work just fine. For example, water and vinegar are a combination that will make most surfaces super clean.  The idea is to keep our soil and water system free of harmful substances these products mostly contain.

Change the house lights

It would be great if we could make some effort to try and be less dependent on energy resources. In order to achieve that you should change the traditional light bulbs with CFL, you should use skylights and try entering more natural light in your home, for example. That way, you will spend less of the generated energy, but you will also reduce the amount of waste that goes into landfills.

Say no to traffic

You are not even aware of how much you can contribute to preserving the environment if you make a decision not to use your car in order to transport yourself from one place to another. If you decide that instead of driving a four-wheeler, you use your bike, your legs, or at least carpool, you will significantly reduce air pollution, but you will also promote your health. Even this last option, carpooling, is the right choice because it will enable fewer car pollutants wandering on our streets.

Read more and play board games

When hearing this as a suggestion that will lead to more sustainable living, most people wonder how. What is the connection between reading a book and taking care of our environment? But the answer is very simple – if we reduce the time spent on entertainment that depends on energy resources, we will contribute to sustainability for sure. So take that book, find a perfect spot, and enjoy yourself. Also, playing board games is another great option.

Apply natural sleep schedule

This advice can be interpreted as a continuation of the one that says how you should shift towards natural light. The idea is to live and go through your daily activities, at least most of them, during the day, when you don’t need artificial lighting.  And as the night comes along, you should bring your obligations to an end, and prepare yourself for the bed. If you follow the natural sleep schedule, you will reduce the usage of electricity.

Recycle, reduce, and reuse

All those things mentioned in the caption will reduce your need to purchase new products. That will go perfectly with the minimalism principle, but also, it will create less waste, and our environment will remain cleaner and safer. The ability to learn how to reuse some products or how to find a new purpose for other objects can be challenging, and it may take some time, but eventually, you will find joy in doing things that way, that’s for sure.

Unplug devices

Most of you may not know that, but our electronic devices are still drawing electricity, even if they are turned off. In order to reduce energy usage significantly, you can unplug every home appliance you don’t use that often. It’s okay for your TV or computer to stay plugged in, but you can definitely apply this advice on most kitchen stuff like coffee maker, toaster, mixer, etc. You will save energy and support a sustainable way of living, but at the same time, you will save some money, which will be visible on your next monthly bill.

Live in right-sized house

There is no place for exaggerations if you want to live a sustainable way of life. The experts in this matter say that one of the most important things is to live in a house that supports and reflects your choices. That means a smaller one, the one that will provide you with enough space but consume as little energy as possible. Another advice is to follow the greenhouse standards while building it, and to purchase furniture that is made with sustainability on their mind.

Change your washing habits

Even though this item is not physically on top of our list, in the real world, it most certainly is. It turns out that we are always watching something – our dishes, our clothes, ourselves or our home, and there are a few problems regarding that fact. First of all, scientists already proved that our immune system becomes weaker because of our obsessive need to be clean. Second of all, we tend to spend huge amounts of water in order to provide our goal, which is terrible for the environment. We all know there is not enough clean water in some parts of the world.  So our suggestion is to stop the water from pouring when you are in a shower until you are ready to wash the soap away.

Choose renewable energy

We are all aware that climate change is a huge problem that can compromise our future. So to stop these shifts, you should choose to use renewable energy instead of fossil fuels that are known to be harmful. Solar panels can heat your home, lighten up your backyard, they can enable you to cook and live the fullest life. The same thing is with wind turbines. But given that these things are asking for significant investment make sure to get tax credits from the government.

Purchase products with less packaging

This may seem like a little thing, but it actually is a huge contribution to environmental protection. When you are purchasing new things, pick those that have less packaging, because most of it, if not all, will end up in your trash, and later on in landfills. Even though that is a normal system in today’s societies, that doesn’t mean that it’s the best one since those huge piles of trash tremendously contaminate our soil. Thanks to that, the health of humans and animals is in danger as well.

Renounce of plastic

Please, please, please, say no to plastic. It is the material that never goes away, and it’s everywhere around us. The scientists say that it takes millions of years for plastic to decompose entirely, so our planet is becoming a huge plastic trash can that doesn’t have the capacity to hold it inside anymore. It affects our soil, the oceans, and marine life tremendously. Sea birds, seals, whales, and other fish are dying because of it continuously. So it’s definitely time to renounce plastic and reach for the good old paper bag.

Conclusion

It seems like it is our responsibility, and not only choice, to embrace all this advice and start living by them. It takes so little effort to greatly contribute to this huge cause, so we urge you to accept that and become a more responsible human being. Do that for this planet of yours. For you, your kids, and all future generations.

Air Pollution Causes: What Are the Effects & Solutions?

air polution

It’s almost terrifying that we can hear the word pollution attached to almost everything that makes our environment. It means that toxins, poisons, and other contaminants changed or violated the most important segments of our life – our soil, our air, or water that our life depends on. Today, we are going to talk about the fact that a lot of dangerous chemicals and gases are being released in our atmosphere, and what does that mean for us, and for plants and animals that are cohabitating this planet too.

Air pollution can be visible and invisible, and it can be a consequence of natural events and shifts or a result of human impact. But the thing is, either way, it affects our lives significantly, and in so many ways, that’s simply unacceptable to continue with this ignorance and indifference we show when this topic pops up. So here are all the facts you need to know in order to take this a bit more seriously and do something about it.

Types of Pollutants

The most common division of pollution types is the one that says there are primarily air pollutants and secondary pollutants. Classified in the first group are pollutants that are a direct result of some process. The perfect example would be sulfur-dioxide that’s emitted from many factories. Secondary pollutants are those that were created by reactions and intermingling of primary pollutants. If you need an example, here is one – smog originated by the interactions of primary pollutants.

What Causes Air Pollution?

There can be many things causing the contamination of the air we breathe. Pollution can be a consequence of natural phenomena like seasonal change, temperature change, natural disasters, etc., and we cannot do anything about them. But the fact the quality of our air is changing and degrading is mostly our fault. It happens because we are retackles and unaware of how much damage our actions, or the absence of them, can cause. 

You should know that our atmosphere is created by 21 percent of oxygen gas, 78 percent of nitrogen gas, and some other trace gases like carbon dioxide and argon. It’s necessary that this balance remains the same in order to keep the life of all species here on Earth. The entrance of different air pollutants can have extensive and quite damaging effects on all of us, and they can have many different forms – carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide radioactive decay, methane…

Anthropogenic Causes

There is no doubt that the most harmful contribution to air pollution is the one made by a human. We are mostly talking about our everyday choices, like relying on fossil fuel and a lifestyle that demands the presence of heavy industry. But also, we can add modern agriculture, accumulation of waste, and some other man-made processes on the list.

Agricultural activities

According to the world’s experts, agriculture is responsible for 24 percent of annual emissions. But there is approximately another 20 percent of air pollutants that come from agricultural activities, like CO2, that are being removed from the atmosphere by sequestering carbon in biomass. Ammonia, for example, is one of the most common byproducts of agriculture, and it represents extremely hazardous gas that’s being released in our atmosphere. Also, the usage of pesticides, fertilizers, and insecticides can be quite dangerous since they emit harmful chemicals into the air and water. And there is a massive problem of deforestation, that’s based on the removal of trees, which have the ability to sequester carbon and clean the air.

Fossil Fuels

One of the main air pollutants is sulfur dioxide that is emitted during the process of fossil fuel usage, mostly petroleum and coal, but also other factory combustibles. Besides that, there is pollution created by vehicles like cars, trucks, trains, airplanes, etc. That’s why the world’s experts are appealing to replace them with some other, more environment-friendly options. The overuse of them is what is dangerous, because of the harmful gases like carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides they are constantly emitting. The statistics show that industry accounts for 21 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions, transportation is responsible for 14 percent, and electricity and heat give us another 25 percent.

Waste

Our garbage is being deposited in landfills, and it is a well-known fact that they generate methane, which is potentially very dangerous. The fact that the number of people in urban areas is constantly growing means that we have more and more locations turned into landfills, so methane is practically all around us. Because of that, and all other pollution we release into the air, we have consequences in the form of smog, acid rain, global warming, and serious health problems we are exposed to. Scientists believe the Earth has several self-regulating mechanisms that are trying to maintain the balance of its ecosystem, but they are clearly not enough to fight with this amount of pollution.

Exhaust from Industrial Plants and Factories

Another fact that’s not surprising is that industrial facilities are constantly releasing large amounts of carbon monoxide into the atmosphere, which is harmful enough per se, but there are also hydrocarbons, other chemicals, and organic compounds that are destroying the quality of the air we breathe. The thing that is the most concerning is the fact that we have manufacturing industries almost on every corner, all around the world. So there is no way of avoiding this problem, no matter where you live on this planet.

Indoor Air Pollution (Household Activities)

This is probably something we never think about, but we are certainly very much responsible for air pollution as individuals because we use many chemicals that are causing toxin release into the atmosphere. We are talking about household cleaning products in the first place, which we all tend to overuse and painting supplies. If you ever wondered what that unbearable smell your walls are emitting after the painting process is, that’s toxic evaporation that’s been released into the air. And there is one more thing, regarding indoor pollution – SPM (Suspended particulate matter). Those are little particles in the air like dust and combustion that are affecting the quality of air.

Natural Causes

When it comes to these natural causes of air pollution, you need to know it is not much you can do about it. The contamination of the atmosphere is a result of naturally-occurring phenomena, and since nature has different cycles, these things will, at some point, be more common than in others.

Volcanic Activity

There are a lot of volcanoes all around the world that are, thankfully, in the sleeping phase. But if one of them erupts, and that is a legitimate thing that can happen, there will be a significant amount of pollutants catapulted in our atmosphere. The volcanic explosion is one of the major natural pollutants. It produces huge amounts of chlorine, sulfuric, and ash, which are then spread with the wind in very distant areas. And another terrifying fact is that compounds like ash from volcanoes and sulfur dioxide have the ability to reflect solar radiation.

Wildfires and Dust

It sounds quite unbelievable, but wind and dust can create quite a dangerous situation that can affect people’s health. If it happens that in a large open area with very little vegetation, the strong wind starts blowing, it will pick up all those small particles and create a dust storm. Dust particles, in that case, will have a natural warming effect, which is very dangerous for all living creatures. And when we talk about wildfires, they usually happen during dry periods in wooded areas. The result of that, besides the destruction of forests and death of live creatures, is the smoke and carbon monoxide that will be released into the air and increase carbon levels in the atmosphere. That will allow for greater warming by causing a greenhouse effect.

Animal and Vegetation

As a result of animals eating and digesting that food, we have a situation where our air is being naturally polluted by methane. The most responsible for that is cattle. On the other hand, we have to be aware that certain vegetation, like oak, poplar, black gum, and willow trees, emits tremendous amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) during warm days. VOCs will then react with primary anthropogenic pollutants, such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and other carbon compounds. As a result, we will have low-lying hazes that are full of ozone.

Dangerous Effects of Air pollution

The first image, when someone mentions air pollution, is a picture of smoke pouring out of the factory chimneys. Yes, they do pollute the air we breathe, but it’s not just them, and it’s not only that smoke we notice with our eyes or our noses that can pollute our environment. It’s quite terrifying knowing something you cannot see can be extremely dangerous and harmful for us. But the fact is, we are exposed to that almost every single day. After we established what the things that cause air pollution are, let’s talk about all those harmful effects this phenomenon can and will cause. We can divide them on effects that have consequences on our planet and atmosphere, and those that affect human beings, animals, and other forms of wild lives.

Global Warming

Global warming is gradual and long-term incensement of the temperature of the atmosphere here on Earth. It is caused by the greenhouse effect and based on the impact of numerous harmful and dangerous pollutants. Global warming is the result of climate change. Since the temperature is rising, the icebergs and ice caps are continuously melting, which significantly increases the sea level, causes extreme weather, and regional changes in precipitation. It is proved that from the mid-20s, we, humans, are the greatest factor that contributed to global warming.

Wildlife Endangerment

There is no difference between animals and us in this matter. Just like the pollution of air affects us, it affects all those different species that were forced to change their habits and place they live in, in order to survive. These shifts can negatively affect the ecosystem and lead to a situation where certain species can become endangered. Another problem is the fact that those toxic chemicals and pollutants are being deposited over the surface of the water, which means marine life animals can be in the problem too.

Acid Rain

When fossil fuels are burning, nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides are being released into the sky. That causes air pollution and leads to what we tend to call acid rain because water that is high in the atmosphere meets with these chemicals and turns into an acid compound in nature. So acid rain is a form of precipitation with elevated levels of acids. It can be very dangerous to people, animals, and even crops. From the 1970s, some governments are making efforts to reduce releases of those harmful compounds in order to prevent acid rain from falling.

Respiratory and Heart Issues

We may not be aware of that, but 65 percent of deaths in Asia is caused by air pollution, and more than 50 000 people in America die each year because of the same problem. The changes harmful chemicals make in our atmosphere can lead to serious heart and respiratory problems. There is also a higher risk of getting some kind of cancer. In those areas that are truly troubled by this huge number of children have asthma and pneumonia. Polluted air can irritate your eyes, throat, lungs, and nose, it can affect your arteries and lead to a heart attack.

Eutrophication

If the high amount of nitrogen that is present in some type of pollutants gets to the sea’s surface, it can develop and transform into algae. This is called eutrophication, and it is a condition that can potentially be very dangerous to the plants, fish, and other animal species that live above the water surface. If you see green algae “carpet” on top of the lake or a pond, know that it is because of this chemical. Eutrophication usually happens if there is an oversupply of nutrients like phosphorus or nitrogen.

Depletion of the ozone layer

The ozone layer is protecting us from harmful ultraviolet rays, but it is constantly depleting because of the presence of hydrochlorofluorocarbons and chlorofluorocarbons in the air. The fact that it is becoming thinner and thinner is very troublesome since UV rays can harm our skin, our eyes, and our health overall. Also, they are devastating for the crops. Because of all that, scientists are continually looking for ways of preventing this from happening.

Solutions For Air Pollution

After getting to know all this, you must have immediately started thinking about all the things you personally, and we as a society can do to prevent air pollution from happening, and the ways we can repair the damages of our own actions. In order to do that, it is crucial to truly understand what led to where we are, what did we do wrong, and what are the reactions that were caused with all that. Regarding these solutions for air pollution, there are things that will sound familiar, but also those that are not so obvious but are equally important.

Conserve Energy

This is one of the things that’s all up to you. It’s a matter of lifestyle, so you need to change the way you think to change your habits. If we are talking about non-renewable energy most people still find as the only acceptable source, a tremendous amount of fossil fuels are being burnt in order to produce electricity. We cannot function properly without it, that’s for sure, but we can reduce its consumption significantly if we turn off the lights when we are not in the room, or if we switch off the fan when we get out of the house.

Minimal Use of Fossil Fuel Powered Cars

There are so many options that are more acceptable and kind toward our environment and, at the same time, more healthy for you. It is necessary to minimize the usage of traditional cars powered by fuel and to turn to some alternatives. You can practice carpooling with your friends and colleagues, make public transportation your main ride, turn to bicycle or hybrid car, etc. It is a well-known fact that vehicles are the biggest contributors to air pollution, and since it’s all up to us, it is time we change that.

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

In order to lower the level of air pollution, we have to reduce the amount of garbage we dispose of. We already explained how methane from landfills badly affects our environment and the air we breathe, so we need to find a way to put a stop to that. One of the ways is to reuse things we already have, instead of throwing them away. For example, you can use your jam jars as a pencil holder on your desk, or plastic boxes for storing some items. Or, you can recycle and reduce waste, which will help in making your carbon footprint smaller. All that together is called waste management, and it’s very effective.

Use Energy Efficient Devices

If you use energy-efficient devices, you will minimize the level of exploitation of natural resources, which is crucial to reducing air pollution. All devices we are using in our household are based on electricity usage, and in the text above, we said how important it is for us to conserve energy. So you have to make some changes again. You can use CFL light instead of traditional bulbs and appliances that can operate under a lower energy setting. This is exactly that thing that looks small for you, but it is actually huge for all mankind.

Emphasis on Clean Energy Resources

The best way to lower the usage of fossil fuel-based electricity is to make your own with the help of renewable clean energy such as solar, wind, or geothermal. Governments all around the world are making efforts to support its population to transit to one of these power sources in order to protect our environment from harmful effects. So think about placing a few solar panels on top of your roof. They will be able to provide enough power to light up your backyard, your house, to heat your water, your entire house, etc.

Conclusion

We know that this seems a lot to take in, but there is no time left for us to ignore the problem that affects us all, and that will, for sure, affect our children. It is not hopeless, there are things we can do, ways we can contribute in order to make sure we are breathing fresh and healthy air. There are no words to describe how important this subject is. It’s simple – we need air to live. So let’s be united, smart, and responsible, let’s just make some changes today and see where they lead us tomorrow.

10 Widespread Used Sources of Energy

source of energy

There are many different sources of energy nature gave us unconditionally, so we can use them to generate power. It sounds unbelievable, but those forces are so strong and constant, that with the help of them, we can provide everything we need in this modern-day life. Thanks to the sun, wind, earth, and water, we can generate electricity that will run our cars, lighten up our lights, provide heat for our homes, etc. Here are the top ten energy sources all of us can use.

1. Solar energy

Solar energy is the energy of the sun that’s collected by solar panels and then generated into electricity. We know that the number of house owners who decided to use solar systems in order to power up their homes is getting bigger and bigger every day, but there is also a possibility of using power from small substations that are supplied by solar energy through huge panel fields placed in deserts, for example. There is, however, one problem with solar energy. It is not available to everyone with the same capacity. How much solar light you will get depends on where you live, the precise location.

2. Wind energy

Even though solar power is definitely number one when it comes to natural energy sources, the wind is slowly becoming its fare rival. The whole idea around this phenomenon is to use the power of the wind to launch and turn large wind turbines that will power up the generator and create electricity. The wind farms are very popular and widespread, but there are some questions regarding the environment that created some concerns and needed to be asked. For example, how do they affect our environment? It is proven that wind farms could be dangerous to wildlife, especially birds, and there is also a matter of noise produced by turbines.

3. Geothermal energy

Geothermal energy is sustainable power created inside the ground we are walking on. Radioactive partials beneath the earth’s crust are raising the temperature in the ground. Because of that, hot rocks are turning water inside the core into the steam, and steam is making the ground turbines work and generate electricity. This natural source is usually used for residential or industrial needs for space and water heating, but the greatest problem with it is the fact that it is not available all around the world. Geothermal energy can be produced only at specific spots.

4. Hydrogen energy

When we talk about hydrogen energy, we actually talk about water power, because two-thirds of water’s chemical construction is this element. It can be used as a fuel that will generate electricity if it gets separated from other elements. Hydrogen is another source that can be used to provide our homes with lights and heat, but it can also power rockets, ships, cars, and other vehicles. The best thing is that it is a renewable source that can be created on-demand, and it will not leave any harmful traces in the atmosphere.

5. Tidal energy

The energy created by the tide is quite unbelievable. It is based on kinetic energy that follows incoming and outgoing tides that are converted into electrical energy. Coastal areas are known as the best ones to use this sort of natural source. That’s one of the greatest advantages of tidal energy if you look at it from a perspective of coastal people, but it is also its huge disadvantage, given that it’s therefore limited to certain areas. Another thing that’s a downside is that it seeks for great investments in order to be used. Tidal energy is a renewable source of power, and it has the ability to produce a significant amount of energy, even in situations where tides are at the lowest speeds.

6. Wave energy

The ocean turns out to be tremendous and multiple sources of energy. Besides tidal, there is also wave energy that is based on the movement under the water surface. It is one of the greatest sources of energy since it is environmental-friendly, renewable, and safe for the atmosphere. Same as tidal, it can be used in coastal places, so those countries don’t have to be trapped by the dependence of fuel that is purchased from foreign countries. However, there are some downsides of wave energy – it can be harmful to the marine ecosystem, it can disturb water vehicles, and it is very much dependent on wavelength.

7. Hydroelectric energy

A huge number of people, the whole cities, actually can be dependent on hydroelectric energy. This source has excellent power. Every damn work on the strength of water because it is used to turn the generators, which then produce electricity. That way hydroelectric energy supplies electrical stations with electricity everyone can use to power up their homes, machines, vehicles, etc. The biggest problem this type of energy faces is the fact that most dams are old and technologically outdated, and it takes a lot of work and money to make them more safe, productive, and current.

8. Biomass energy

Organic materials can be transformed into biomass energy that can be used in many ways. We are talking about crops, trees, plants, wood chips, yard clippings, and animal waste. All those things can generate power adequate for home heating, cooking, or they can be used for fuel in industrial production. The whole process is based on burning biomass materials in a combustor or furnace, which will produce hot gas. Then, that gas goes into a boiler that will generate steam, which will be expanded by the steam engine in order to produce usable energy. The disadvantage of this source is that it can create a big amount of carbon dioxide, which is released into the atmosphere.

9. Nuclear power

There is a huge dilemma about how efficient and safe it is to use nuclear energy as a source of power because of the dangerous waste in leaves behind, but the fact is that at this moment, it is one of the biggest renewable sources of energy in the world. This energy is created thanks to the unique nuclear reaction, which is then collected and directed into the power generators. This energy is usually used for generating heat through steam turbines that create electricity in nuclear power plants. Nuclear power can be generated by nuclear fusion, nuclear fission, and nuclear decay.

10. Fossil fuels

If we are talking about fossil fuels, we are referring to the coil, natural gas, and oil. These are the main sources of power in most parts of the world. Oil can be transformed into several products, but the most popular is gasoline, while the natural gas, which is not so popular as coil and oil, is presented in the form of heating source and power that launches vehicles. The reason there is a huge controversy when it comes to using these natural sources is the fact the process of getting them out of the soil and converting them into the usable power is causing heavy destruction and pollution of the environment. Besides that, people forget that these sources are limited, experts predict that we will be able to use them only for another 100 years.

Conclusion

There is no way we can say with absolute certainty which one of these energy sources is best for us. They all come with some advantages and disadvantages, it’s up to us to assess what are our priorities, and what will create less or non-damage to our planet. Experts are underlining that the most important thing is to change the way we consume energy that comes from nature and to create a balance between that will make these sources sustainable.

Global Energy Crisis Causes, Effects & Solutions

energy crisis

Statistics showed that in the last 200 years, global energy needs had increased quite significantly, to the point where it is unsustainable. While we can now delve into studying why is that, and what have we done wrong in that matter, only one thing is truly important at this moment for us to acknowledge and accept – energy sources we were, and still are using, will come to their end. 

Our future will bring many uncertainties, but among the first ones will definitely be this question – what are we going to do without fossil fuels that we have relied on mostly in the past, and that now have almost dried out completely. The experts in this field know for sure they are close to exhaustion, that it’s just a matter of time they will be depleted, and that we are not really prepared for this scenario. They are calling this global energy crisis. 

What is the Energy Crisis?

There is a reasonable concern that there won’t be enough natural resources in the future, we as a global society need for everyday life. The fact is, these resources are very much limited, and they are diminishing as our demands rise. In three words, this is what we call global energy crises.

These sources, fossil fuels mostly, will not disappear from the Earth’s surface entirely, but it will take thousands of years for them to restore, and we do not have that much time to wait, that’s for sure. Because of that, there is a global tendency to promote renewable resources that can do the job just as good and won’t cause as much environmental pollution like these current ones undoubtedly do.

sign on the road written pumps are closed

Why Should You Care About it?

Not that we know the energy crisis definition, you must wonder why you should care about it. You don’t have to, but the consequences will come knocking on your door. We are talking about a serious and complex problem that will affect us, but most importantly, our children’s future. Maybe this generation won’t experience the true burden of this global shift, but those that will come after us will most certainly do. Not only that we will end up without oil, gas, and coil we mercilessly spend, but we will destroy our planet if we don’t switch to other, more environmentally-friendly energy sources. It’s no secret, on the contrary, how relying on fossil fuels causes climate change, global warming, and many other global problems. So here is what the energy crisis causes, and why it is so important to see that renewable energy solutions are what we should be focusing on.

Energy Crisis Causes

It would not be fair to say only one industry is responsible for everything that’s happening regarding this problem, there are many manufacturing fields that contributed to this crisis in the first place. And it’s not something that occurred overnight. We will now present the list of all energy crisis causes and effects, the list of all those who have their part in this global crisis and responsibility to take for it.

Overpopulation

The fact that experts are claiming there are too many people on our planet is terrifying, but jet troublesome, because we do not have enough food and fuels for all our needs. And no matter what type of products we are talking about, they are all made with raw materials that drained our energy resources. But let’s not forget that we are basing this conclusion on current consumption and that there are reliable predictions that show all these numbers will increase considerably. They are showing global energy demand is going to grow by more than 50 percent in the next ten years if we don’t do anything about it.

Overconsumption

It is proven that the energy crisis is a result of general overconsumption. First of all, overconsumption of fossil fuels like coal, oil, and gas, but also other non-renewable sources like uranium. Based on some research, the oil will be the first power source without whom we are going to remain. We have only 40 to 60 years left to base our lifestyle on this fossil fuel, while gas will be present in our lives for 70 years until it becomes totally exploited. The coil is most reliable for now, there are reserves for two more centuries.

Aging Infrastructure

One of the reasons we are where we are regarding the general energy shortage is poor and old energy infrastructure. The equipment most companies around the world are using is outdated, and it significantly limits energy production. Most people believe that it is the responsibility of utilities to upgrade that infrastructure in order to provide a high standard of performance.

Energy Waste

People are simply refusing to believe how important energy consumption is. They take it lightly, thinking their contribution is not something that matters. But they are wrong. If only everyone would turn off the light when they leave the room, use the daylight at maximum, turn off fans when they don’t need them anymore, use CFL instead of traditional light bulbs, walk instead of driving short distances, etc., the situation will be so much more different than it is today.

Delay in Commissioning of New Power Plants

There are some countries in the world that have very strange practices. They are showing notable delays in the commissioning of new power plants that have the capacity to fully meet the needs of energy demand and supply. Because of that, older plants are working non-stop until they reach the point of bursting, so they could provide the amount of power people request. And if the supply doesn’t meet the demand, then load shedding and breakdown happens.

Wars Between Countries

Even though this isn’t the first thing that would cross your mind when somebody mentions the energy crisis, but the war between countries actually can lead to this problem greatly. These types of skirmishes could stop the energy supply from some places, especially if we are talking about Middle East countries like Qatar, Iran, Iraq, UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait. If you remember the Gulf War, you probably know how the price of oil reached its peak. At that time, there were global shortages of this source, and people were paying a lot of money to get it.

Natural Calamities and Major Accidents

Energy crisis today is also caused by natural disasters we cannot control or stop from happening, as well by some major accidents that are totally our fault. When we are talking about the first-mentioned problem, we are actually thinking about earthquakes, volcano eruptions, tornados, floods, tsunamis, and similar catastrophic disasters, while in other categories are things like pipeline burst, for example. Those events have the power to create a big gap between demand and supply of power, which can raise the price of energy and lead to inflation.

Miscellaneous Factors

Throughout history, a lot of things happened that greatly affected this subject. Things like strikes, military coup, tax hikes, political events, etc., which were definitely able to make some changes inside the supply and demand process. Also, extremely hot summers or really cold winters can change the people’s need for power. All that can cause serious energy crises.

Energy Crisis Effects

It should be clear by now that these crises are real and that they affect all segments of our lives. The fact that our planet is overpopulated, that we are relying on non-renewable energy sources, that we are not thinking about energy consumption and that nature has its saying in all of this too brought us to the point where our economy, social politics, and our environment suffer.

Economic and Socio-Political

On average, we spend around 40.000 gallons of oil per second, and because of that, most countries reached the maximum when it comes to relying on this source. We need it for transportation, for manufacturing goods, and for generating electricity. Given that we are on the verge of remaining without it, many jobs and industries find themselves in a huge problem. So the situation is alarming, and it brought us to the point where the energy crisis could have a huge impact on the global economy as well as social politics. Every person that works in an industry that makes cosmetics, food, clothes, medication, plastic and other life essentials based on this and every other fossil fuel is in danger of losing a job. The same applies to the automobile industry for people who work as car mechanics or in gas stations. And another problem lies in the fact that all those products will become more expensive if nothing changes.

Environmental

The second issue is our environment and how relying on non-renewable power sources affects our soil, water, the air we breathe, and all living creatures on our planet, including us, humans. The overconsumption of traditional energy sources is causing many negative effects, including incensement of greenhouse gas emissions, because of which we are living in a time of constant global warming. The warmer climate leads to the ice caps melting and therefore rising of global sea level, extreme weather, and many other changes that affect all living creatures. Many of the spices extinguished or were made to change their habitat. Besides that, as a result of relying mostly on fossil fuels, we now have an environment that is greatly polluted, which affects our health in every matter.

Energy Crisis Solutions & Prevention

There are a lot of ways we can help our planet to recover from this energy crisis it is currently experiencing. Many of these measures are applying all over the world, but it’s necessary for all of us to adopt them and start acting by them. It is crucial for us to change the way we think first because only that can lead to shifts in our behavior. So if you wonder how to solve energy crisis, or at least how to contribute to this cause, we brought you some real suggestions.

Energy transition to renewable energy sources

One of the best ways to lower the world’s reliance on non-renewable power sources, and one of the best sustainable energy solutions (oil, coil, and gas) is to turn to renewable sources like sun (solar panels), wind, water, and steam. Experts are claiming that the major concern about using traditional sources should not be the fact that they are going to run out, but that they are continuously polluting the atmosphere and destroying other natural resources in the process. The renewable energy solution is the best one because there is no emission of greenhouse gasses, pollution is minimal, and it is significantly cheaper to use hydropower, biomass energy, wind energy and the power of the sun.

renewable energy wind power mountains

Energy efficiency and conservation

If you are eager to make this energy crisis slow down or completely stop, you should definitely learn how to use less of it and how to preserve it. The first thing is to modernize the energy infrastructure in order to lower the amount of energy waste. Then, switch to energy-efficient appliances and devices, for example, use LED or CFL instead of traditional light bulbs. Once again, don’t forget to conserve energy to – turn off the lights, turn off the fans or air conditioning, recycle, reduce and reuse the products and their packages.

Lighting Controls

Just as we previously mentioned, light control is out of enormous importance when it comes to this matter. The first thing is to remember to switch lights off when you are not in the room, and the second thing is to install new technology that will help you control the intensity and brightness of the lights. That way, you will save a great amount of energy. You can use touch dimmers, slide lighting, or integrated lighting controls in order to conserve energy on a daily basis. Besides that, you will also reduce the overall lighting costs for sure.

Perform Energy Audit

Now, this is something truly great, given that it can show you the real state of affairs. An energy audit can help you establish what the specific areas where you are losing the most energy in your home are. Also, this process can suggest some steps that can help you improve your energy efficiency. However, it is important that an energy audit is done by professionals because only then you will have a clear image and certainty that you have saved some energy, reduced your carbon footprint, and avoided an energy crisis.

Common Stand on Climate Change

It is crucial that all countries in the world create a common stand on climate change matter. We are talking about both developed and those countries that are in a developing process, because only that way, through united actions we have a chance to reduce greenhouse gas emission enough to slow down global warming. Forming this united front is extremely important for more than one reason. First, we want to leave our children a world full of potential, and second, we need to put a stop to this energy crisis for the sake of our environment, but also our economy.

Conclusion

It can be a bit overwhelming knowing that we are the ones who are destroying the world we are living in, and that situation is quite alarming. But on the other hand, it is also empowering knowing that our actions matter, that the way we live our lives, the decisions we make every day can greatly affect the global energy, economy, or social situation. So it is finally time to take your own stand. Decide today to make some changes your kids can be grateful for, and you will be proud of for sure.