By Lianne Palazzolo, Public Relations Assistant
We are constantly working on ways to improve the world in which we live, whether it is by recycling, using public transportation, or even shutting off the lights when we walk out of a room. All of these steady efforts, otherwise known as acts of “going green,” are done for one sole purpose: to save the earth. I am confident that you’ve heard of the term global warming, which is occurring because of our way of life. Most of the activities we endure regularly have a huge impact on the environment in which we live. Driving a car is the most air-polluting action that we do daily because of the vast amount of carbon dioxide released which is severely damaging the ozone layer, which is why public transportation is greatly suggested.
Electricity is another important factor in our ecological footprint. By using power plants to supply electricity to our homes, offices, and all other buildings, pollutants and greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide are produced and released into the atmosphere. These greenhouse gasses are causing the increase in the temperature of earth’s surface, or global warming.
The use of solar energy has recently become increasingly popular. If you drive around town, take notice to the utility poles. Most towns have been installing solar panels on utility poles in an effort to decrease the amount of energy required from power plants. Many public schools are now investing in solar panel roofs to also decrease use of electrical power and to take advantage of the natural energy that the sun provides for us. The amount of sun that touches the earth is enough energy for the entire human population, more than 8,500 times over.
The cost to install solar panels is a large investment. To install solar panels on a home, the cost would be roughly $100,000, depending on the size of the home since solar panels are in fact priced per square foot. This amount of money is shocking to the average person at first and is a big lump sum to spend all at once. However, in the long run, it is very cost efficient if a move is not planned in the near future.
A little more about solar energy:
•Solar energy is a completely free and inexhaustible fuel source
•No fuel, waste, or pollution is expelled in its usage.
•In remote areas, or small villages, solar power can be the saving grace. Sometimes it is the only realistic way to provide energy to a place that is not capable of drawing energy from other sources.
•It can be used for low-power purposes as well as larger ones- from battery chargers, hand-held calculators, and solar powered garden lights to air conditioning, cars, and satellites.
•Sunlight is provided regardless of whether we use it or not. There is no need to process sunlight beyond the amount which a solar cell or solar collector is capable of doing (unlike fossil fuels or even other alternative energy sources, such as biomass.