All About Energy
Energy encompasses our entire planet; it’s everything, and we use energy for everything we do. Energy sources can be categorized and renewable (solar energy from the sun, wind, geothermal energy from heat inside the earth, biomass from plants, and hydro-power from hydro-turbines at a dam) and non-renewable (oil, natural gas, and coal.) Unfortunately, fossil fuels, along with nuclear energy, are supplying 93% of the world’s energy resources, meaning alternative energy practices only account for 7% of the world’s energy needs. Energy use and supply is essential to society’s productivity, but the over consumption of our non-renewable resources projects an unsustainable future. There is no escaping the fact that fossil fuels will one day be depleted at the rate of our consumption.
Renewable energy can supply a significant proportion of the United States’ energy needs, creating many public benefits for the nation and for states and regions, including environmental improvement, increased fuel diversity and national security, and regional economic development benefits.
Renewable energy benefits include:
- Avoiding the impact of fossil fuels on our planet (air/water pollution, harm to plant and animal life, toxic waste, and a contribution to global warming.)
- Aiding the economy: pollution affects human health; therefore, healthcare costs soar to make up for the damage.
- Lifting the burden of Co2 tariffs, a tax on electricity generated by carbon-intensive methods, a plan recently enacted in the U.S.
- Alieving citizen’s vulnerability to unpredictable fuel prices—wind and solar power are not fuel-dependent or subject to price fluctuations.
Renewable sources of energy include:
Currently, none of these sources may act as a substitute for oil. In order to prepare for the inescapable depletion of oil reserves, we must adjust our convenient lifestyles and embrace renewable sources.
KGMB and Energy
In an effort to promote the benefit and unique functions of alternative energy sources, KGMB offers their Renewable Energy Tour. The tour provides visitors with an up-close view of the building’s newest additions: solar panels and geothermal heating and cooling.
Every time you plug an appliance in you consume an amount of energy, a well-known concept, but are you aware of exactly how much energy you use? Appliances are often left plugged in when not in use, affecting our air, water, soil, wildlife, and pocketbook. Generally, the home appliances that are used to create/remove heat use the most energy, e.g. refrigerators, stovetops, heating/cooling system, microwaves, dryers, etc. However, smaller appliances like coffee pots and toasters can add to your electric bill if frequently left plugged in. Even if you frequently turn off your lights, chances are, you have an array of items still plugged in, sucking energy even when turned off. These are known as Energy Vampires.
- Account for about 5% of an individual’s home energy use
- Costs consumers more than $5.8 billion annually
- Sends more than 87 billion pounds of heat-trapping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year
Energy Efficiency vs. Energy Conservation
There are basic steps you can take to limit your energy use and save some extra money in the process. Energy efficiency refers to technology that produces the same end product while using less energy, such as an energy-efficient air conditioner that produces the same level of cooling capacity but uses less energy than a standard cooling system on the market. Switching out older, less energy-efficient models is important because older devices were not built keeping energy conservation in mind. Once owning these products, you should practice energy conservation by unplugging them while not in use. While both terms refer to an overall reduction in energy use, energy conservation involves cutting waste of energy, whereas energy-efficiency does not.