We are only just beginning to learn the impact of different energy technologies and their cost effectiveness for our environment and our economy. There has been a lot of discussion over the years about what makes for a “green” house, and many people have tried to come up with the best way to define “green.” It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the myriad of technologies available today and the way they can affect our lives and the environment.
There is a lot of debate about what is, and isn’t, sustainable. However, there are still lots of technologies available, and this is the real issue at hand. One of the easier to understand and cheaper to use energy technologies is solar power, which is already used to great effect. But not without a significant environmental footprint. The amount of energy that is generated by solar power is significantly less than a typical house’s natural gas or electricity usage.
As you can probably imagine, solar power is a big concern in the area of sustainability. The amount of energy generated by solar power is significantly less than a typical houses natural gas usage.
In the United States, we still have to deal with the reality of fossil fuels and nuclear power. The problem is that we continue to use fossil fuels in the production of electricity that has a detrimental effect on the environment. We also continue to burn natural gas for our homes and businesses. Both fossil fuels and nuclear radiation have an effect on the environment in the form of air and water pollution.
But let’s say you don’t want to use fossil fuels or nuclear power. You’ve decided you don’t want to use your house or your car to generate electricity. What would be your alternative? You could go with renewable energy sources, like solar power. The sun provides about 25% of the electricity we use in the United States, but we still have to deal with the reality of fossil fuels and nuclear power.
This is what I meant by sustainability being about more than environmental concerns, or not having to worry about the environment. It’s about making sure the planet is still productive, that resources are not diminishing and that we can still live a fulfilling life.
I really, really, really want to like this article. It’s very interesting, gives a great overview on how renewable energy and energy technologies can be integrated into homes and lifestyles. However, it seems somewhat biased towards renewable energy sources. For example, although I understand solar panels are great in terms of having a sustainable footprint, it seems like they can be rather expensive.
The price of solar panels is only one example of the many factors that go into this decision. There are also things like solar shade, shading, and glare, and the amount of time it takes for the sun to reach the ground. These things may not always apply to your specific needs, but in the end they’re all very important, and can make the difference between being able to live a life that feels like a dream or a living nightmare.
Not long ago we published a study that showed a significant correlation between the “sustainable footprint” of a home and the carbon footprint of it. I think this is a good reminder of the importance of looking at a home’s footprint as an integral part of its carbon footprint. As an example, a home that is built to meet a specific solar shade, solar shading, and solar glare policy will likely be more sustainable because it will have a lower carbon footprint.
I think the lesson here is that we need to be more careful with how we design a home to be sustainable. If the design is designed to be sustainable but the owner is not, then that is not the kind of home that will be sustainable.