The energy crisis is one of the world’s greatest issue today. Energy is essential in our lives and it is the key input in the growth of the economy. Without it, we will be facing a bleak future.
There are several benefits of energy. First, it gives us light amidst darkness and it makes the society work. With light, we can do our homework, we can light up the dark streets at night, and we can interact with people.
Second, it helps in the processes of industrialization in our country. Factories won’t work without electricity and if factories shut down, our people will be starving.
The things we use today requires energy. For example, the clothes we wear require 3 gallons of gasoline to be finished inside the factories. The products that these establishments create are needed to be shipped in trucks, train, airplane, or ship and these transportation needs fuel to move. Even food production also requires tons of energy.
Everything we do needs energy. Our homes, schools, malls, hospitals, and the offices require energy. Today, one of the most controversial issues is the sustainable source of energy. Our resources are depleting and the government is doing its best to find possible alternatives for the community.
Energy crisis situation at the world
We are currently experiencing an energy crisis due to limited natural resources and rising demand to power our society. While these resources are produced naturally, it will take thousand of years to replenish it. The energy crisis is ongoing and despite efforts of the government, it is getting worse.
The energy crisis is caused by lots of factors. For one, it is because of overconsumption. People are using and wasting too many resources that they don’t actually need. Indeed, the public needs to be educated of the implications by wasting energy.
It is also linked to the growing population of the world. Hundreds of babies are born every day and there’s a steady increase of energy consumption.
The crisis is also caused by poor infrastructures that supply energy in the communities. Sometimes, there are leakages and frequent breakdowns that can result in a poor distribution system.
Lastly, the energy crisis is caused by other miscellaneous factors such as a military coup, political clashes, strikes, and tax hikes. Unless we solve the issue of politics in our government, we can never find a sustainable solution to this crisis.
Solution to energy crisis
There are both complex and simple solutions to the world’s problem on the energy crisis. According to experts, the government must explore and invest in renewable energy resources. The majority of the power we use today are from non-renewable energy such as coal and fuel. Our problems in energy will never be solved unless we give priority on the exploration of renewable energy.
It is also proper to be energy-efficient. We must use products that can save energy. If we are traveling to a short distance, it will be best to use bicycles or just walk. If we are planning to renovate our homes, we must use LED bulbs for our lamps. These products are brighter, safer to use, and economical.
It is also advisable to design our homes with proper ventilation so there will be no need to buy expensive appliances to have fresh air for our family. The use of solar panels can also minimize our dependence on buying electricity from big companies.
Basically, the one simple solution to growing energy crisis is unplugging off the grid. If all homes and offices will make an effort to reduce its energy usage, then there will be no energy crisis, especially in first world countries. Let’s find out more below.
How to unplug from the grid
Home Power magazine says that there are around 180,000 homes who supply their own power in 2006. In addition, there are 27,000 homes that use the wind and solar energy to offset their grid connection. Going off the grid is a good way of being environment-friendly and getting rid of the frustrating monthly bills.
Here are some tips on how to do it:
Solar technology was used since the 1950s in industrial purposes. In the early 2000s, solar panels were introduced for domestic purposes. According to International Energy Agency, solar power could be the largest source of electricity by 2050.
Since 2008, hundreds of family in the United States have switched to using solar energy to power their homes. In addition, the cost of buying and installing solar power system has dropped to about 50%.
This technology works by harnessing the sun and turning it into electricity. It requires the use of solar panels that we sometimes see in the fields or rooftops. It also uses inverters which are the equipment that converts the DC power from the solar panels to AC power for the grid. When the sun shines on the panels, the cells on it absorbs photons which create an electric field that enables electricity to flow.
As long as the sun shines, solar panels will work. You can install it on your roof or you can ask neighbors to share the costs of building solar panels.
The amount of money and the energy you can save by going solar depends on your usage and the system that you have installed. Using solar panels also reduces the number of pollutants such as carbon that are emitted to the environment. This will then result to clean water and air.
Success Stories: Solar energy
Kathleen Watson of Buckeye, Arizona switched to the use of solar energy in 2011. She paid the system at $10,258 by Home equity line of credit. Watson says that she used to pay $75 a month for her bills but now she pays $10 only for connection fees. Her solar power system generates 100% of her electricity. She has been saving money and being environment-friendly for almost 6 years.
Meanwhile, John and Mami Humann of Mission Viejo, California paid $17,668 cash for the installation of the solar power system on their home in 2014. The couple is both financial managers and they have learned that the benefits of going solar outweigh the disadvantages. They now save about $233 per month for their electric bills.
Apart from successful homeowners, there’s a city which is powered by Solar Panels. It’s in North Adams, Massachusetts. The city with about 13,000 residents is now 100% solar. The project was constructed by Borrego Solar and it features a 3.5-megawatt solar array.
Using wind turbines
If you are living in a windy area, then wind turbines can generate green power for you. Small wind turbines are electric generators that utilize the wind to create clean and free power for homes, offices, farms, and other establishments.
Wind energy has been used since the time of Ancient Chinese. Windmills were created to pump water in China and grind grains in Middle-East. Throughout the 20th century, wind turbines are introduced for domestic purposes.
This technology can be set-up by professionals at your home. On average, wind turbines measures about 80 feet that can generate a 5-kilowatt capacity to support energy requirements at home. It costs around $10,000 to $70,000 depending on the installation expenses.
The wind can turn the blades and spin the shaft which connects to a generator to store and make electricity. Wind turbines can be horizontal axis and vertical axis.
Regarding success stories on the use of wind energy, the University of Pennsylvania has the number one spot when it comes to revolutionizing energy usage in the US universities. Meanwhile, Rock Port, Missouri has produced 123% of demands for electricity using wind power. The neighboring provinces can also benefit on the surplus. On the other hand, Spain and Norway are some of the popular countries that have been addressing their power issues with the use of wind energy.
Off the city water and sewer lines
There are various options to try when you decide to live off the grid for your water supply. You can try digging a well and building rainwater harvesting system.
Rainwater harvesting is basically catching the rain and storing it for various domestic purposes. It was started in 3rd BC in Pakistan to water the farms. The system includes catchments, coarse mesh, gutters, conduits, and filters. The filtered water can be used for drinking, taking a bath, washing clothes, cleaning the house, and other purposes.
Rainwater is safe, it is sustainable, and it is free. You’ll need minimal energy to make the system work. In addition, collecting and storing rainwater can reduce the costs you spend in buying expensive water for your family.
Countries such as China, Brazil, Australia, Canada, and some parts of the United States utilize this technology for their communities. India has also started the rainwater harvesting (RWH) scheme to supply water in some of its parts such as in Chennai.
The second option for having your own water source is by drilling a water well. Groundwater is the water that is soaked in the soil and other openings of rocks and sand. You can harvest it by making holes in the ground and building wells. The wells are lined with PVC pipe and protected by a screen to prevent the sand and other particles from entering the pipes. The water from the well can be pushed above by pumps or pressure tanks.
Water from wells is uncontaminated, it doesn’t deplete easily, and it requires minimal energy. Several countries in all parts of the world have different success stories with the use of water wells. It is an old technique which is applicable even today.
Living the ‘off the grid’ lifestyle
Aside from installing power and water source, it is also advisable to switch to ‘off-the-grid’ lifestyle. This means that you need to cut your energy consumption as much as possible.
This will include minimizing your online activities on your tablet, smartphone, and laptop. Turn off the appliances when it’s not in use. Open the doors and windows of your home if you think the ventilation of your room is not enough. Minimize the use of an air conditioning unit and let fresh air enter your room.
Switch to walking or using bicycles when traveling. You can also opt to use the mass transportation such as bus and trains rather than bringing your own car when traveling to places. This will reduce your carbon footprints.
Learn to reuse and recycle the things you use to reduce wastes. You can redesign clothes, bags, shoes, and accessories to make it fashionable rather than throwing it. You can turn the biodegradable products in your kitchen as fertilizers for your plants.
When you familiarize yourself with this simple actions, your life will definitely change.
‘Off the grid’ pros
There are advantages of unplugging from the grid. For one, living an off the grid lifestyle will make you independent of state policies. The laws on off the grid resources are lax and you can have the freedom to install one in your homes.
Second, installation is affordable and there are credit loans provided for homeowners. Third, with off the grid system, you have the freedom to expand it anytime that you want. You can upgrade it and bring more energy supplies for your home if you have extra savings in your account.
Fourth, of course, living the off-grid system will teach you to use the energy efficiently. This will open your eyes about the wise spending of electricity and water inside your homes.
Lastly, switching to the off-grid system will give you satisfaction and peace of mind. It will give you a long-term solution to your expensive monthly bills from big companies.
‘Off the grid’ cons
Meanwhile, living off the grid will require a special kind of maintenance. Sometimes the maintenance will require you to spend money. In addition, you will do all the work in taking care of the system such as checking the batteries, cleaning up the filters, and making sure that the blades are working. Unless you ask for professional help, you will face daily checking of the equipment alone.
Living off-grid can be satisfying, but it’s also a big responsibility. It is necessary that you are also willing to flex your electrical activities with weather changes. Sometimes, the weather is unpredictable. If you live in the city and you are impatient with the traffic, then the same is true when you wait for the sun or the wind to come out to energized your generator.
In sum, the majority of people nowadays wanted to unplug from the grid because they wanted to save money, be environment-friendly, and have a sustainable energy source for their family. It is prevalent for many years and it will survive in the years to come.
There are precautions to take when switching to the off-grid lifestyle. Proper research is necessary to make it successful in the end. It is a combination of good education, proper mindset, and advance technology.