It is inevitable that fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas will continue to be depleted. To ensure that we can maintain our current standards of living and enable continuing progress and developments to be made, other forms of energy generation need to be developed.
In recent years the development of renewable energy systems has been foremost in the minds of governments and energy suppliers. An exciting range of renewable energy systems have been developed that also meets the growing demands of the general public to protect the environment from the effects of climate change.
Some renewable energy systems harness solar, wind and water power from the environment to create ‘clean’ energy. There are large-scale systems, such as hydroelectric power stations and wind turbines, that have created prominent landmarks throughout the countryside.
There are also small scale systems that can be incorporated into individual homes that enable members of the public to become self-sufficient for their energy needs. These systems include solar energy systems, such as photovoltaic and solar heating panels. These create electricity and hot water respectively.
Solar Energy Systems
You may have noticed that solar energy systems are becoming more prominent on homes throughout the UK. Other small scale systems include micro-wind generators, and air source and ground source heat pumps.
Utilisation of some of these systems has been more successful than others. Micro-wind generators have received poor publicity because wind speed is reduced in urban environments, leading to poor performance. This highlights the importance of selecting appropriate systems for particular environments to ensure that the payback reflects the initial investment.
Energy Efficient Lighting
Individuals may consider the installation of these systems too expensive, which is understandable in the current economic climate. However, everyone can take small steps to reduce energy consumption. These steps include the replacement of traditional incandescent lamps (light bulbs) with energy efficient lamps. The development of compact fluorescent lamps and light emitting diode (LED) lamps has been a huge step forward in creating more energy efficient lighting systems.
If sustaining the environment is not enough reason to embrace renewable energy systems, there are other benefits, including cost savings.
MOL delivers a specialist product knowledge course to the builders’ merchants and electrical distributors’ industries. We have recently launched a renewable energy systems module that details both renewable energy systems and complementary energy efficient end user products.
Improving industry knowledge of renewable systems is another step towards a sustainable future.
To ensure that both we and successive generations have a sustainable future, it is important that renewable energy systems become an integral part of energy production and that we all take measured steps to ensure that the energy we use is generated and used in an efficient way.
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