Ethical Living and the Need to Save Energy

Will our energy consumption kills us?

It’s possible, but doesn’t have to be probable.
Our energy consumption is basically what’s been causing climate change. Most of our energy sources release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and this, in turn, helps to heat up the planet.

But not all energy was created equal. Some energy sources are greener than others and many don’t release any carbon dioxide at all. Plus, if we reduce our energy consumption we also reduce our C02 emissions. But it doesn’t have to stop there. It is now possible to generate your own free energy to power your house. In the future it’s likely that most households will generate all their own energy needs and will be making money by selling the surplus back to the grid. Imagine no more electricity bills! Ever.

So how do you do it?
Let’s start with reducing your consumption;

* turn off lights when you are not the in the room and turn appliances off at the plug so that the standby light isn’t on – its amazing how much energy that little light consumes!
* wash your clothes at 40 degrees, higher temperatures use much more energy
* fit energy saving light bulbs through out your house – they last longer, save you money, are cooler and therefore don’t degrade your light fittings. It’s a win-win-win
* ensure your loft is well insulated and if you have cavity walls, get cavity wall insulation. These two measures can cut your bills by around £350 per year
* when buying electrical appliances look for ones that are A rated – they use less energy and cost much less to run
* turn your thermostat down, you probably wont notice the difference in the temperature but the planet and your pocket will notice
* defrost your fridge and freezer – it will work far more efficiently

As well as reducing your energy consumption, sign up to get your electricity from a green energy company that uses renewables. Renewable energy sources include wind power, geothermal, biomass, solar, hydroelectric and wave and tidal energy. Most companies now offer green tariffs and its easy to make the switch.

Now that you have saved so much money how about investing it in generating your own power? You’ll cut your bills even further and may even be able to eliminate them altogether.

Easy home options include:

* Solar PV (photovoltaic) panels. These use energy from the sun to create electricity to run appliances and lighting. PV does not require direct sunlight, just daylight, so can still generate some power on a cloudy day.
* Solar water heating. This system uses heat from the sun to work alongside your conventional water heater and can provide almost all your hot water needs in summer and about a third the rest of the year.
* Micro Wind Turbines use the wind’s lift forces to rotate aerodynamic blades that turn a rotor which creates electricity. Small home use ones are available that can either be roof or mast mounted.
* Micro Hydro power. This uses running water turning a turbine to produce electricity. You need to be close to a suitable site, which could simply be a small stream.
* Ground source heat pumps. These provide space heating by using a buried ground loop which transfers heat from the ground into the building.
* Air Source Heat pumps will heat your hot water by extracting thermal energy from the surrounding air and then boosting its temperature.
* Biomass is produced from organic materials, either directly from plants or indirectly from industrial, commercial or agricultural products. For small-scale domestic applications of biomass the fuel usually takes the form of wood pellets, wood chips or wood logs

By reducing our consumption, signing up to a green tariffs and generating our own energy we can all ensure that our consumption doesn’t kill us.

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