As time passes, the need for clean, alternative energy sources only increases. And while there are applications across all sectors, one of the most important is residential real estate. Understanding the latest trends helps create some context for what direction things are headed.
Electricity generation is one of the leading sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. According to the EIA, power plants that burn fossil fuels and other materials made from fossil fuels, as well as some geothermal power plants, account for nearly 40 percent of total energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2).
In the United States, roughly 67 percent of total electricity generation in 2016 was produced from fossil fuels (such as coal, petroleum, and natural gas), biomass, and municipal and industrial wastes. The emissions that result from combustion of these fuels include C02, carbon monoxide (CO), sulfur dioxide (SO2) nitrogen oxides (NOx), particulate matter (PM), and heavy metals (like mercury) – each of which has negative effects on the environment.
Furthermore, eclectic power lines and other destruction infrastructure leave a rather significant footprint. In addition to altering the aesthetic appearance of cities and landscapes, they often require trees, vegetation, and wildlife to be removed or disrupted.
While electricity itself is a relatively safe and clean form of energy, it’s all of these negative byproducts that hold it back. The sooner we can find ways to get around electricity, the more sustainable our environment will become.
As one person among millions, you might not think you have a part to play – but you do. By doing your research and finding safe, clean, and cost-effective sources of alternative energy, you can begin to power your home with renewable energy sources that don’t hurt the environment. Are you willing to give it a shot?
Every house or apartment needs some sort of energy to power appliances and home systems. Electricity may be the standard, but it’s not the best option. Here’s a look at some alternative energy sources that are making a splash in residential real estate.
- Solar Panels
Solar is one of the most commonly used forms of renewable energy in residential applications. This is due to the ease of installation, as well as the direct cost savings. As SolarNorcal mentions, there’s currently a 30 percent federal tax credit on installation, which significantly decreases the upfront cost. Once you tack on the monthly savings over 5-, 10-, and 20-year periods, it’s a no-brainer.
- Wind Turbines
While not possible in crowded urban areas or suburban neighborhoods, wind turbines can be used in rural settings (or any real estate setting where there’s lots of space and lax zoning regulations).
While they can be loud (and take up lots of space), wind turbines are highly efficient, stable, and long-lasting. They can easily generate most (if not all) of your electricity needs.
While not cost-effective in many applications, geothermal can be a great source of power in the right situation. It’s especially helpful for heating and cooling.
As WPGHCI explains, “Geothermal systems utilize the stable temperature built up in the earth by storing it in a loop of pipes buried underground. Water circulates in the loop providing geothermal heating, cooling, and hot water at remarkably high efficiencies when you need it throughout the year.”
The best part about geothermal power is that there’s very little cost after installation. The temperature beneath the ground stays the same year-round, which means you never have to worry about conditions being right.
- Nuclear Power
Nuclear power is one of the most abundant forms of alternative energy in the world. More than a dozen counties rely on nuclear power to produce at least a quarter of their electricity each year.
Nuclear power works extremely well most of the time. The biggest drawback is that there’s the potential for catastrophe when something goes wrong.
There’s no doubt that we need more environmentally-friendly policies and initiatives from a top-down perspective, but a cleaner tomorrow begins from the bottom-up.
As a homeowner, there are practical steps you can take towards investing in alternative and renewable energy sources that limit your carbon footprint and promote sustainability in your immediate community. Hopefully this article has given you an idea of the various types of alternative energy on the market and how feasible some of them truly are.
The next decade is a critical period of time for our environment. Either we’re going to take a step back and continue to experience significant deterioration, or we’re going to become a generation that stewards the resources we’ve been given in a smart, safe, and efficient manner.