Sunday, December 26, 2010

Going Green Lifestyle: Alternative Energy Sources

The need for alternative energy sources is nothing new but in this present time, the need is urgent on a global level. People and governments are reeling from the impact of the startling rise in energy costs and alarmed at the many dangers posed by environmental problems.

Across history, we have seen change in the kinds of energies used. As early as the 1200s, people swapped wood for coal as deforestation occurred locally. 300 years later, societies then depended on petroleum after depleting the supply of whale oil used to fuel lamps. In the early 1900s, corn-based ethanol oil supplied the demand for energy.

When the world started to run on wheels and navigate the skies and seas, the need for fuel increased, eventually drying up local oil wells. As a result, the US turned to importing oil to keep transportation, industry, and domestic needs moving, eventually relying so heavily on foreign oil that 58% of its supply is now imported.

According to the latest statistics from the US government, global energy consumption is still increasing and by 2030, it's expected that the world will require 700 quadrillion BTU in order to keep running.

Switch or Stay?

Besides the depletion of our natural energy resources, across the globe, people are also feeling the effects of the increasing cost of electricity and the rising cost of living expenses. On the home front, this poses a dilemma, as family needs are a priority, and electricity certainly qualifies as a basic need.

So what are the alternatives to providing the basics, yet still offer affordability?

As a result, many people are seeing "green". The green movement is tapping alternative energy sources instead of relying too much on utility companies for energy needs. Alternative sources of energy provide renewable sources for your electricity needs at the fraction of the cost of utility-supplied energy.

The switch to alternative sources of energy will take time to put into action across the country but as the energy landscape changes, more homes and industries will be using alternative energy. likely triggering the decline of over-dependence on imported oil. This will be good for economies dependent on expensive imported oil, like the United States.

These are very good reasons for evaluating alternative energy sources NOW.

To get started, assess which alternative source of energy is best for your needs - solar, geothermal or wind energy options.

Popular Forms of Alternative Energy Sources

Solar energy is a favorite renewable energy alternative for domestic energy. This option uses photovoltaic technology to convert sunlight into electrical energy. Solar panels alone produce hot water and steam. Combined, these technologies provide optimum energy to power homes. Solar energy has very low levels of carbon dioxide emissions compared to gasoline emissions of the same chemical compound that is partly to blame for climate change.

For geothermal energy, the earth’s heat is tapped to supply energy needs. To trap this energy, holes are drilled deep to the level where a potential geothermal heat spot is present. The escaping steam is directed into a turbine linked to a running generator, which converts steam to electricity. This is the preferred method for large industry and utility companies.

The homeowner, however, need not dig so far to enjoy the benefits of geothermal energy. The geothermal heat pump uses the stable ground temperature a few hundred feet under the ground to provide you with heat and air conditioning. It can also provide you with hot water.

Wind energy is converted to electricity with the use of wind turbines. Wind power produces a minimal 1.5 per cent of the world’s electricity. Currently, this is a popular alternative energy source in Denmark, Germany, Spain and Portugal.

Choosing Your Alternative Energy Source

Keep in mind that it is not cheap to install solar panels or invest in geothermal or wind energy - it will depend too on the volume of electricity you need to power your home - but the rewards later on will last a lifetime. You may also be eligible for a federal tax credit, if you're a US resident, but many governments around the world are offering incentives to residents to convert to renewable energy sources.

Talk to alternative energy merchants and ask them to help you make the transition from utility supplied energy to alternative energy source today.