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Renewable Energy

Green Technology

What Impact Would a Fourth Industrial Revolution Have on the Planet?

March 18, 2019
fourth industrial revolution

The first industrial revolution started in the 18th century, and most people know it as an era that spurred the development of the steam engine and contributed to more urbanization. Several other industrial revolutions followed, and a common thread among them was that each period had tremendous technological advances. We’re now in the fourth industrial revolution (4IR). How might it affect the Earth?

Professor Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, argues that it’s fundamentally different from previous revolutions. The earlier ones helped humans break free from their dependence on animals and gave them access to the digital world, plus furthered mass production. However, this era blends the physical, digital and biological worlds through a range of technologies.

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Green Technology

Renewable Energy Initiatives Around the World

January 3, 2019
renewable energy initiatives

Climate change is a global issue, and around the world, countries have organized renewable energy initiatives to reduce their environmental impact. These projects and programs reflect a society more conscious of its footprint, aware of the effect of carbon emissions and excessive waste on the planet’s health.

Though it’s a slow transition — and some are still reluctant to accept the change — the United States is moving closer to clean energy every day. While the president has made his position clear, state leaders across the nation continue to push for renewables as they distance themselves from fossil fuels.

Overseas, policymakers have shown the same dedication to preserving the environment, developing plans to decrease their dependence on coal, oil and natural gas. We’ll touch on a few of these ambitious initiatives and others like them, exploring projects in Tunisia, Nicaragua, Wales and China.

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Green Technology

Waste Companies Turning Food Waste to Energy

November 26, 2018
food waste to energy

About one-third of the food the world produces each year for consumption by humans gets wasted or lost. In fact, they throw away up to $2,200 in food per year. This creates a financial burden for families as well as waste companies and municipalities that must determine what to do with all this waste. New York City, for example, spends about $400 million each year shipping the waste it collects to landfills and incinerators across the country.

This wasted food also has a significant environmental impact. It represents a lot of wasted resources — not just the food itself, but also the land, water and energy it took to produce it. Food decomposing in landfills also releases a gas composed of approximately 50 percent methane and 50 percent carbon dioxide, both of which contribute to the greenhouse effect. Landfills are responsible for about 14 percent of human-related methane emissions in the U.S.

There are various efforts underway to prevent this food waste and its negative impacts. In 2015, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) set the nation’s food waste reduction goals, which aimed to cut waste by 50 percent by 2030.

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Green Technology

Are Wind and Solar Viable Options for 100% Renewable Energy?

November 9, 2018

As public concern over climate change increases, more people see the need for sustainable energy production. Traditional power generation relies on burning fossil fuels like coal and natural gas, a process which releases the warming greenhouse gas carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Renewable energy sources like wind and solar aim to produce essential energy without the carbon emissions.

The popular demand for 100 percent renewable energy, reflected in public opinion and policy in states like California, has lead to increased investment in wind and solar power in recent years. Despite growing interest in renewable energy, it remains unclear whether renewable energy alone can get us to a zero-carbon future.

Wind and solar power represent great potential for clean, renewable electricity. However, they may not fill all the world’s energy needs by themselves. Let’s examine wind and solar as a path to 100 percent renewable energy and consider possible alternative solutions.

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Green Technology

How Renewables Can Prevail Despite Trump’s Renewable Energy Policy

September 20, 2018
Trump's renewable energy policy

America’s Trump-Republican government has rendered its judgment on climate change with vast silence and outlined its renewable energy policy by doubling-down on coal. We thought Trump’s renewable energy policy would reach “peak contrarian” when we pulled out of the Paris Climate Accord. But the truth is, we’ll scarcely have a single environmental regulation on the books by the time this administration is shown the door.

The good news is, there’s lots of good news. We don’t have to get partisan about the damage done when the wrong people get elected. Let’s focus instead on the undeniable momentum behind the pivot to renewable energy, despite Trump’s renewable energy policy.

Understanding that the U.S. is just one piece of the global puzzle, and that what’s happening here is raising consciousness elsewhere in the world, might help our current political situation feel slightly less sad and regressive. So let’s jump into the good news about why renewables are set to prevail no matter who’s at the helm.

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Green Technology

4 Environmental Impacts of Heat Pumps

July 30, 2018
heat pumps environmental impacts

Heat pumps are an integral part of many homes’ HVAC systems, used for heating and cooling. They are found in homes around the globe, but until recently, experts haven’t started looking at heat pump environmental impact. How can your heat pump impact the environment and what can you do to improve your home’s carbon footprint?

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Green Technology

Wind Energy vs. Solar Energy for Meeting Renewable Energy Goals

April 30, 2018
wind energy vs. solar energy

Having goals is an integral part of progress, regardless of what they entail. Individuals, families, communities — and yes, even countries — set a series of goals. As you achieve goals and set new ones, your options change. Moving from fossil fuels to renewable energy for an entire nation doesn’t require you to decide on one kind of energy source. Instead, it’s a better idea to take a look at all the available options and use as many of them as possible.

With that in mind, it’s important to note there are tons of options for renewable energy sources. The factors that determine what’s “best” for a given area depend on its natural resources. Places like Chile in South America have a plethora of wind, sun and geothermal energy. Other regions, like Iceland, are better suited to water and geothermal than they are to solar. Meanwhile, China has arranged to make biomass available to their citizens regardless of natural availability, which changes individuals’ ability to produce energy independently.

The U.S. is in a unique position. We have a vast landmass to work with that enables us to take advantage of many resources, not just one or two. However, given the availability of land and the way the economy has worked out, our two most common options are wind and solar. Here, there are solar options for everything including backpacks and sunglasses. Wind isn’t as common for everyday use, but it is a significant contributor to the energy grid.

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