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It may come as no surprise that large, energy-rich countries like the United States use the most energy, but how much per person? This map includes energy consumption data from the International Energy Agency and includes electricity, as well as fossil and gathered fuels. Solar panels, also called solar thermal, convert sunlight to heat and then heat to electricity. Though solar photovoltaics are more efficient converters of sunlight, they are also more expensive. As of May 2011, the world’s largest solar power plant is a concentrating solar thermal power plant in the Mohave desert in California.
The world’s largest solar photovoltaic plant is probably the Sarnia Solar Project in Ontario, Canada. Sunlight heats a design element (water, air, chemical fluids), and that thermal energy is transmitted for other applications, such as heating water, heating space, or generating electricity. Solar thermal power plants use concentrators that bounce the sunlight off elliptical mirrors to a central tube, in which the specialized fluid lies.
Well-engineered photovoltaics have a band gap that coincides with the energies of as broad a spectrum of light as possible, to convert the maximum amount of the sunlight into electricity.
As sunlight energy pops electrons into the conduction band and away from their home atoms, an electric field is produced.
An ever-expanding variety of semiconductor materials can be used to make solar cells; universities and companies worldwide are researching these options, from special bio-plastics to semiconductor nanocrystals. Silicon has to be processed under clean room conditions — carefully regulated atmospheres — to remove impurities and prevent introducing contaminants, both of which can change the band gap. Today, commercially-sold cells are made from purified silicon or other crystalline semiconductors like cadmium telluride or copper indium gallium selenide. LEDs absorb energy in the form of electricity, exciting electrons into the conduction band. It’s a highly efficient process because energy isn’t wasted on producing heat, which happens with standard tungsten filament bulbs. Nowhere has rapid energy growth been more conspicuous than in the world’s most populated country, China. Between 2008 and 2035, China may triple its electricity demand, adding power plant capacity equal to the current U.S. In 2008, China generated another 19 percent of its energy from oil, which it imported from all over the world, more than half came collectively from Saudi Arabia, Angola, Iran, Oman, Russia, and Sudan. China is in hot pursuit of securing as much oil as possible, as the nation’s reliance on imported oil is growing far more rapidly than its oil production.
Only a small proportion of China’s energy comes natural gas, produced domestically and imported in liquified form, but that may change as prices lower and liquified natural gas terminals are constructed.
China is the world’s biggest user of hydroelectric power, which made up 6 percent of energy and 16 percent of electricity in 2009.
India produces oil domestically, but like China, the rate of India’s increasing oil consumption far outstrips its production. India doesn’t have the electricity capacity to serve its population but aims to add many thousands of megawatts in the near future.
Like China, India has nuclear power, with 14 nuclear plants in operation and another 10 in planning, the reactors purchased from France and Russia. Until China recently outpaced it, the United States was the biggest energy consumer in the world, though per capita use isn’t the highest but in the same range as several developed countries worldwide and less than the per capita use in Canada.
Indonesia’s energy demand is growing rapidly, split between coal, natural gas, and petroleum sources.
Tropical Brazil is the largest country in South America both in area and population, and it is the third largest user of energy in the Americas, after the United States and Canada. Brazil produces almost as much petroleum as Venezuela and produces slightly more fuel than it consumes. While Brazil depends on oil for other energy applications like transportation, the country gets an astounding 84 percent of electricity from hydroelectric dams. Pakistan has limited access to electricity and energy sources, and its rural population still relies on gathered fuels like wood for heating and cooking. In 2009 around 60 percent of the population had access to electricity, far better than its neighbor Afghanistan, at just 15 percent. Meanwhile, several proposals for gas pipelines through Pakistan have yet to get solidified, including one from Iran to Afghanistan (which is opposed by the United States). Like nearby Pakistan and India, with which it shares cultural and political histories, Bangladesh also suffers from electricity shortages.
Most of the electricity in this delta nation is generated from natural gas, with smaller amounts each from oil, coal, and hydroelectric sources.
In 2011, Bangladesh signed a contract with oil company ConocoPhillips, allowing off-shore drilling for natural gas, despite internal protests that insisted Bangladesh should keep more of the gas for its own. Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country, and it is world famous for its oil, most of which is exported for sale by huge foreign oil companies like Royal Dutch Shell, ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Petrobras, and Statoil. Even though Nigeria is fossil fuel-rich, only 47 percent of the population have access to electricity, and less than a fifth of energy in that country came from petroleum and natural gas in 2007, reflecting the widespread use of more traditional fuels like wood. Russia has significant wealth in fossil fuels, including the largest natural gas reserves and the second largest coal reserves, after the United States.
The country has a well-developed pipeline system to transport oil from remote regions, a system which is almost entirely controlled by a single state-run company, Transneft.
Russia operates 31 nuclear reactors, half of which employ a similar design to the ill-fated Chernobyl plant in the Ukraine. Japan doesn’t have significant fossil fuel resources, one reason that much of its electricity industry relies on nuclear power.
Japan is the world’s third larger oil consumer, and it does produce some oil domestically. Japan also invests heavily in foreign oil, including in the United Arab Emirates, the Congo, Algeria, Russia, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Brazil, Canada, the United Kingdom, Vietnam, and Indonesia, to name a few. As of June 2011, Japan is still recovering from a massive earthquake and tsunami that devastated its northeast coast on March 11, 2011, forcing the shutdown of several nuclear reactors as well as damaging refineries, oil and gas generators, and electricity transmission infrastructure.
Japan imports most of its oil from the Middle East: Saudi Arabia, Iran, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar together supplied 77 percent of imports in 2009. Climate change includes any change resulting from different factors, like deforestation or an increase in greenhouse gases.
Greenhouse gases are those thought to contribute to the greenhouse effect, an overall warming of the Earth as atmospheric gases trap electromagnetic radiation from the sun that would otherwise have been reflected back out into space. Noteworthy greenhouse gases are methane, nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6).
Currently, the composition of the atmosphere is mostly nitrogen and oxygen, with just 0.033 percent carbon dioxide and all other gases accounting for even less. According to 2010 models cited by NASA, 20 percent of the greenhouse effect is attributed directly to carbon dioxide and 5 percent to all other greenhouse gases. Some greenhouse gases are produced in natural processes, like forest fires, animal manure and respiration, or volcanic eruptions. Machines are so complicated these days it’s difficult to quickly explain how they work. Furthermore, we’re insulated from the market because, from our perspective, supply is virtually bottomless.
And yet, the power plants, the fuels markets and the power companies are a competitive, by design. Further complexity arises because utilities enter long-term contracts with power plant owners for electricity at a particular cost, years ahead of time. Many large power plants, nuclear and coal plants particularly, can produce huge amounts of energy. At the same time, other kinds of power plants are applied to the peak load, the maximum amount of energy needed. American electricity infrastructure developed regionally, in a slowly filling patchwork of power plants, power lines, and power authorities. As with the stock market, electricity markets have different products and ways of investing, but every region has different rules about which ones are allowed and how they should be bought and sold. For a map of which states have restructured (deregulated) their energy markets to allow for retail choice, see here. The first major use of electricity began in 1879, when Thomas Edison began installing incandescent lighting in notable locations like Wall Street in New York City. At that time, Americans used various other light sources, like oil lamps, candles, and fires.
Most lighting was very poor – and often dangerous – in comparison to fluorescent bulbs, and electricity became popular quite quickly. The first electrical systems depended on extremely local power plants, within a few blocks, or even within the building. Electricity isn’t merely the existence of electrons but the flow, and it is their flow that provides power.
Electricity is the flow of electrons, which themselves are small charged particles associated with atoms. Electrons moving can be diverted to do work, sort of in the same way that water traveling downhill can be diverted to run a mill or turbine. When you plug in something like a light, electrons flow from the plug, through the light, and back out through the plug.
Today, inside the home, electricity powers computers, televisions, telephones, lights, refrigerators, heaters, air conditioning, healthcare-related devices, video games, rechargeable toys, stereos, alarm systems, garage doors, ovens, stovetops, dishwashers, clothes washers, routers, can openers, DVD players, DVRs, and countless rechargeable devices like phones and electronic tablets.
Computers, televisions, and handheld electronic devices have become increasingly popular, while refrigeration, heating, and cooling have become more efficient. Today, most households have more than two televisions, with 88 percent of homes have two or more televisions in 2009. When trying to lower your energy use, a good place to start is getting a picture of the many ways you use energy now. An average American uses more than four times as much energy per year than the global average, 308 million British thermal units (Btu) annually, compared to 73 million Btu per person per year globally,according to recent U.S.
The most straightforward uses that you can measure and control are probably in the home and through transportation. Reducing energy use in transportation is guaranteed by replacing car, truck, or motorcycle trips with biking or walking.
Nonetheless, social customs, transportation infrastructure, suburban development, weather, and promotion of driving over other forms of transportation make it inconvenient and sometimes impossible to change Americans’ driving habits, at least without changing jobs or moving to a new city.
Other alternatives include public transit, ridesharing, and smaller transportation modes like skateboards, scooters, Segways and even electric bikes. In China, the low-speed electric bicycle is extremely popular and far more efficient than driving or even taking the bus. Estimating home energy use is getting easier now that utilities have installed smart meters that display electricity demand moment-to-moment. For devices that cycle on and off, like refrigerators and air conditioners, you’ll divide the resulting number by three. You’ll also want to examine how much natural gas, propane, or other fuels you use for heating and cooling space, heating water, and cooking.
If you’re in the market for replacing you refrigerator or other appliance, and want to find out more about efficient options, a good resource for information is the Energy Star program.
Another detailed resource for tracking your energy-related emissions of greenhouse gas is the Home Energy Saver, built by the U.S. You can improve your efficiency by replacing appliances and redoing construction, but you can also conserve energy by using less demanding settings, adjusting the thermostat, and turning items like computers and televisions off when they’re unused. Unlike the days of candles and whale oil lamps, today we have many electrical lighting options.
Instead, that type of bulb will be replaced by lower wattage incandescent bulbs, as well as compact fluorescent bulbs and even light-emitting diodes.
The standard light bulb has a tungsten filament that exhibits incandescence when electric current travels through it.
Compact fluorescent bulbs, the sometimes spiral-looking bulbs, fluoresce instead of incandesce. However, today, a wide array of tools and professionals are available to assess the efficiency of heating and cooling and put it into perspective with cost. Blower door tests change the air pressure inside a building relative to the outside to measure how quickly the air pressure returns to normal. The invention of new electricity-dependent devices outstrips the speed that we are making our homes more efficient. Fuels are often measured in Btu to show how much potential they have to heat water into steam or provide energy in other ways, like to engines. Weekly Electric Output is compiled from data collected through an online web data entry page from most of the country’s major, investor-owned utilities, municipalities, and Federal power agencies, accounting for roughly 75-80% of total electricity output. Therefore, proper insulation and ventilation is the first and most important energy saving measure. In hot regions, energy use for active cooling (air conditioning) can be minimised or even avoided if the construction is well-thought out. Try to minimise electricity use: its generation needs a lot of energy, mostly heat produced in coal, gas or nuclear plants. Fluorescent tubes are even more efficient than compact fluorescent lamps, and last even longer (10,000-20,000h).
Especially avoid halogen floor lamps, which typically have a power of 300W or more, produce lots of heat and are actually so hot (some 500° Celsius) that they can cause serious burns and start fires.
They use two to 10 times less electricity for the same functionality, and are mostly higher quality products that last longer than the less efficient ones.
Remarkably, energy consumption by the most efficient refrigerator models is largely unrelated to their size. These efficient refrigerators are about 5-15 percent more expensive to buy, but will save you loads of money and energy in use. Avoid refrigerators with a built-in frozen food compartment, if you have a separate freezer.
Consider a 'hot fill' model which connects directly to your efficient gas-fired water heater. If using a clothes dryer, make sure that your washing machine can spin at 1600 or even 1800 rpm. The most efficient washing machines save some 1,500 litres of water per year - a double gain! If line drying is not an option, first make sure that your washing machine can spin at 1600 or even 1800 rpm.
There are two clothes-drying technologies that use far less energy: the gas-fired clothes dryer and the dryer with an electric heat pump. Consider a 'hot fill' model which connects directly to your efficientgas fired hot water heater. Enable the power management function on your computer, the screensaver does not save energy. Use one large power strip for your computer, broadband modem, scanner, printer, monitor, and speakers. A power strip is also the most practical way to switch of VCR, TV and DVD-player stand-by losses (you can cut off all three devices at once).
In the 15 countries of the EU in 2000, the total energy lost to standby in households was estimated at 94 billion kWh, or the equivalent of 12 large nuclear or coal power plants. A solar boiler can further halve that figure to1,900 kWh in a moderate climate zone (and even less in sunny regions) - for a total energy savings of about five times what the electric boiler uses.
Hot water is the second most important area of energy use in a household, after space heating, and thus needs extra attention. Using a water-saving shower head, combined with a solar boiler reduces energy needs to some 950 kWh heat (gas or oil), or almost 10 times less than when an electric boiler is used with a traditional shower head! In order to start saving money on your energy bills and understand home energy consumption, you have to know where the best place to start is.  You could spend your whole life dedicated to cutting out all of your vampire loads, but that probably isn't going to be the best use of your time when going after heating and cooling would produce a much bigger bang for your buck (and time).
The pie chart above shows the percentage of energy consumed in regards to energy bills in the typical American household.  The chart was constructed from a Dept. Turn down your temperature setting on your heater to 130° F (don't do much lower to prevent Legionnaires Disease). And finally you should target your lighting.  But I have a whole category dedicated to this, so this area is covered in detail.
I'm not saying you shouldn't cut out your vampire loads, but spend your time wisely and make sure you target the biggest energy consumers first, then start targeting other areas!  Knowing where to start is half the battle, and Mapawatt Blog is here to help. Tags: energy billenergy starheating and coolinghome energy conservationhome energy consumptionhome energy usehousehold energy usevampire loadswater heatingenjoyed our post?
We also found that leaving any pilot light on, or backup hot water tank is a voracious power eater. For ALL the right reasons- Economicall, ethically and environmentally, the absolute BEST thing that anyone can do to reduce their HVAC bills (and a significant portion of domestic hot water heating) is to install a geothermal heat pump system.


Energy is used in many ways in the home, including space heating and cooling, water heating, refrigeration, appliances, lighting, televisions, computers, stereos, and more. According to DOE?s Energy Information Administration, almost half of the average home's energy consumption is used for heating. Installing energy-efficient systems in a home is more cost-effective than meeting the energy needs of less-efficient equipment with solar energy. Decreasing hot water requirements or electric requirements of the home will decrease the size of the solar water- heating system or solar electric system and, therefore, will reduce the cost of the solar systems to be installed. Every kilowatt-hour you trim off your projected annual use in a PV-based system will reduce your initial setup cost by $10-$12. There are two basic types of occupancy sensors: Passive Infrared Radiation sensors, and Ultrasonic sensors. Low-flow shower heads and faucet aerators can significantly reduce the amount of hot water used in the home. If there is no dishwasher in the home?or if the dishwasher is equipped with its own automatic water heater?turn the water heater down to 120°F (49°C) to save energy and money. If a family is accustomed to leaving lights and appliances on when they?re not in use, it will take a lot of dedication on the part of family members to change these energy-wasting habits. Phantom loads are caused by 120VAC to DC chargers such as cell phone chargers, and by appliances that still use power even though they are turned off, such as televisions, computers and audio equipment. This Zero-energy home built by Habitat for Humanity features an integral collector storage system to provide hot water.
Solar energy—energy from the sun?can provide the energy needed for many of these uses. Zero-energy homes are both energy-efficient and capable of producing enough of their own electricity from solar and other renewable energy resources to offset the amount of energy purchased from the utility. Buildings must exhibit certain characteristics to be a good candidate for a solar energy system. Slope: For roof-mounted systems, the preferred roof slope is equal to the latitude at the site, between 39 and 42 degrees in Pennsylvania. Structure: Although most roofs can support the added weight of a solar energy system, you should check the condition of the rafters. Access to wiring (solar electric) or plumbing (solar water heat): Ideally, the south-facing roof should be near the main electrical service entrance if you are installing a solar electric system. The further a home is turned from south, the less its ability to collect solar energy in the winter. Solar energy systems can be designed to heat water or living spaces, or to provide electricity. In passive solar designs, the majority of windows are placed on the south elevation, as shown here. In heating-dominated climates like Pennsylvania, most windows should generally face south to collect solar heat during the winter when the sun is low in the sky. Windows on east-, west-, and north-facing walls are reduced in heating climates, while still allowing for adequate daylight.
An indirect-gain system has its thermal storage between the south-facing windows and the living spaces.
Most residential solar collectors are flat panels that can be mounted on a roof or on the ground. Different communities have different restrictions and requirements in place regarding the installation of solar energy systems. Grid-tied PV systems should be interconnected by a licensed electrician in compliance with the National Electrical Code (NEC). It is wise to investigate all requirements prior to beginning your project to ensure that installation is fully in compliance. What?s the most important step to ensuring that a PV system provides the highest fraction of total energy used in a home? What building characteristics must be present in a home in order to be a good candidate for a solar energy system? Most developing and resource-rich countries offer high subsidies for fossil-fuel consumption. In the developed world, subsidies for oil is mostly non-existent despite some of the countries blessed with large reserves of oil. The average retail price plunged to the lowest in the end of 2008 at the height of the credit crisis but has recovered to reach well above $3.00 per gallon now.
Compared to the market-based pricing in the developed countries, emerging and oil-rich countries offer heavy subsidies for consumption of fossil-fuels primarily to simulate economic growth, alleviate poverty, etc. You cannot say that the subsidies for oil is non-existent just on the basis of prices at your petrol pump. This briefing is part of the EEA's report The European Environment - State and Outlook 2015. We use cookies to record some preference settings and to analyse how visitors use our web site.
Every day we are heated by its electromagnetic rays, and plants use the sun’s energy to make sugars and ultimately proteins and other good things to eat. Photovoltaic cells, or solar cells, convert sunlight directly into electric current by way of carefully-engineered semiconductor materials. Solar Energy Generating Systems has a capacity of 310 megawatts and uses parabola-shaped reflective troughs to concentrate electromagnetic radiation. In solar thermal power plants, sunlight heats a specialized fluid, which in turn heats water into steam, which can run turbines and produce electricity. Electrons (natural components of atoms) in the photovoltaic cells absorb light, which excites them to a state where they can be conducted as electrical current. The negatively-charged electrons separate from the positively-charged “holes” they leave behind, so that when electrons are freed into the conduction band, they move as electric current in the electric field, electricity.
Nonetheless, the photovoltaic cells available today require precise manufacturing conditions and are therefore far more expensive to produce than solar panels. Thin film-based photovoltaics require special production methods, like chemical vapor deposition.
Cadmium is a readily available but highly toxic heavy metal, as is arsenic, another chemical used in some cells. However, that year, 58 percent of photovoltaics were imports, primarily from Asian countries like China, Japan, and the Philippines. When the electrons in the semiconductor material drop back into the valence band from the conduction band, they emit energy in the form of photons, or electromagnetic radiation. LEDs also last a much longer time as they do not have filaments to burn out, and because they are very small and several units are used to replace one large traditional lamp, they do not all burn out at once. People who live without the energy infrastructure of electricity depend on portable petroleum fuels, manure and methane gas produced from manure, wood, grass, and agricultural wastes. Countries are expanding energy investment to non-fossil sources like biofuels, wind, solar, and geothermal. South Asians seemed better off than Africans that year, at 62 percent, but the real story is much more diverse. China used to export its oil, but by 2009 automobile investment was expanded by so much, the country became the second largest oil importer (United States is first). Several powerful, national oil companies provide the domestic oil, both from on and off-shore sources. However, India doesn’t have enough electricity for everyone, and only 65 percent of the population has access to electricity. A 2004-2005 survey by the government found more than 40 percent of rural Indians used kerosene instead of electricity for home lighting. India therefore has to import oil; in 2009 its most significant sources were Saudi Arabia, Iran, Kuwait, Iraq, the United Arab Emirates, Nigeria, Angola, and Venezuela, in descending order. The United States relies on petroleum, coal, and natural gas, as well as a small part nuclear, hydroelectric, and various non-fossil sources. Traditional sources of energy like wood and agricultural waste continue to be used, particularly in rural areas and remote islands, and the International Energy Administration estimates these fuels provide about a quarter of the country’s energy. In the past, the country also exported more oil than it used, but as of 2004 that balance changed. Nonetheless, even with access, most of the population can’t rely on electricity unless they are wealthy enough to own generators.
That summer, Pakistan has nowhere near enough electricity for its peak needs, which were roughly 25 percent more than its total production capacity. Only 41 percent of Bangladeshis had access to electricity in 2009, according to the International Energy Administration. More than 30 percent of the country’s energy comes from biomass, agricultural wastes, and other combustible, renewable materials. Roughly 65 percent of government revenue comes from the oil sector, and around 40 percent its oil exports are sent to the United States.
However, it also imports a lot of oil and natural gas, the later in the form of liquified natural gas, or LNG.
Global warming is one type of climate change, and it refers to the increasing temperature of the surface of Earth. These gases are thought to affect the climate directly and indirectly, even though they constitute only a small fraction of the blanket of gases that make up the atmosphere.
The remaining 75 percent of the greenhouse effect is thought to be due to water vapor and clouds, which are naturally-occurring. However, the majority of new greenhouse gases are produced from industrial processes and energy production. Nonetheless, today’s machines were built using the basic principles of physics that we began harnessing hundreds of years ago. The price of gasoline sways with the crude oil market, usually somewhere between $70 and $100 per barrel. The prices in the electricity market can easily double or more, routinely, every single day, and consumers like you and me will never know. They are aggregated from the hourly prices at the various distinct places within Maine, which themselves are based on mathematical algorithms and what they predicts is the logical price. They also enter short-term contracts, and they can buy energy on the spot market, right before they need to deliver it. However, to turn on and ramp up these plants to full capacity takes time and costs a lot of money, even though once the plants are running, producing energy is relatively cheap. Usually powered by natural gas, they are called peaker plants, and though the electricity they produce is generally more expensive, they can be turned on and ramped up or down quickly and for far less cost than the base plants. The organizations responsible for reliability on the grid and administering the electricity market aren’t allowed to make a profit.
Edison wasn’t alone in his pursuit of electricity development, but he was the first to install integrated systems in conspicuous places.
By the turn of the century, other electric devices began to become available, and by the 1920s, Americans could purchase electric refrigerators, dishwashers, and washing machines. As time passed, electricity development became a regional responsibility, and today, the United States is split into many different systems of electricity distribution, including both regulated municipalities and for-profit utilities. Under neutral conditions, electrons stay with the atom or group of atoms that make up a compound. The bigger the voltage, the more electrons want to move, and the more power can be delivered. Likewise, the electrons’ kinetic energy is lost when they are put to work in a device. However, it’s not that simple, since we use what’s called alternating current, or AC, which means that the electrons flow one direction and then reverse direction. These recent trends in home electricity use have shifted the greater part of home energy needs from climate control to electronics.
Every year, the average car in the United States is driven 12,300 miles and consumes about 67.8 million Btu worth of fuel. Perhaps you live in an apartment in a big city and commute to work on the train, plug in your phone and computer at work, eat out every day, shower at a gym, and only come home to sleep. If you replace your car every two years, or you have a large home that you’re constantly remodeling, chances are your true energy footprint is much larger than you will be able to calculate. And even if you plug in at work, it’s quite possible to make a decent ballpark estimate of how much energy that takes, too.
Transportation of goods and people accounted for almost a third of greenhouse gas emissions in 2009, according to the U.S. Yes, getting to work is mandatory perhaps, but a whopping 85 percent of car trips are for shopping, errands, and social or recreational reasons, according to a 2001-2002 government survey. Depending on the utility that supplies your power, if you have a smart meter, you may already be able to log in online and track your hour-by-hour power use on any particular day, compare weekdays to weekends, or see if the house-sitter blasted the air conditioning.
While electric devices tend to be more efficient than gas-powered devices in your home, electric devices actually tend to use more energy overall because of loss of efficiency when the electricity was generated and transmitted to your home. Our most popular, the standard 100 watt bulb, is being phased out, in part due to Clean Energy Act signed into law by President George W. Changing the lighting plan, including adding natural light in the form of windows and skylights and solar tubes. Electric current travels through argon gas and a small amount of mercury vapor, which emit ultraviolet light. This technology is  sometimes called Solid State — even though the type of physics that the name is based upon has now changed to Condensed Matter.
Home efficiency experts can use infrared detectors to track where heat is lost, and they can use blower door tests to check how quickly air is being exchanged with the outdoors through holes and leaky ducts. If you walks through a pressurized house during the test, you can also track where air is leaking.
Today, heating, refrigerators, and air conditioners are using less energy, but televisions, computers, and an ever-expanding selection of other electronics are demanding more. A multiplier is used to account for the other 3,000 small utilities that cannot be surveyed weekly. It should, however, be noted that in moderate and cold climate zones, space heating takes up at least half of the overall energy use. Compact fluorescents use four times less energy, and last eight times longer (8,000h instead of 1,000h) than incandescent light bulbs. Only use tubes with a modern ballast starter that avoids flickering and lights immediately - good ones add another 20 percent efficiency. Clever use of reflectors, and directional lamps to get the light where you need it can save you another 50 percent energy cost and improve your comfort!
To some degree, this can be a positive effect, as it can increase comfort and your well-being.
In the EU, models are labelled A++ for the most efficient, then A+, A, B, C, D for subsequently less efficient models.
In the paragraphs below, we provide some indication of the consumption of the most efficient appliances to use as a rough guide when shopping.
In general, they are also high quality products that will last longer, will need less repairing and make less noise. The gas-fired dryer is the best alternative, especially for more intensive use: it uses 60 percent less energy (including the gas) and dries 40 percent faster.
That way, gas is used to heat the water instead of electricity, thereby reducing electricity consumption by 50 percent, or even up to 90 percent for the top models. Standby power consumption is mentioned in the product manual and can be checked before buying. The fast growth of inefficient ICT and multimedia applications could nearly double this in 10 years. Almost every house can have one with the only exception being one in which there is no place to put in the pipe required for an earth loop.
This lesson will introduce you to the ways we use energy in the home, and how solar energy can be used to meet some, or all, of a home?s energy needs.
Another 17 percent is used for water heating, 6 percent for cooling rooms, and 5 percent for refrigeration. Displacing fossil fuel use with renewable energy resources such as solar can make a significant contribution to reducing harmful emissions that contribute to global warming. Decreasing the hot water requirements of the home from 20 gallons of hot water per person per day to 15 gallons per day will reduce the solar water system cost by about 20%. Being smart about the appliances and lights you choose will allow you all the convenience of a typical home while consuming far less energy. ENERGY STAR labeled products meet strict energy use guidelines, using about 30 percent less energy than their conventional counterparts. Both types have their strengths and weaknesses, and some more expensive occupancy sensors include both types.
It?s a worthwhile effort, however, as considerable savings can be achieve simply by turning off lights and appliances when they are not in use. The roof must be able to safely support the added dead load of the solar array and mounting rack and the temporary live load imposed by the installation crew.


To minimize wiring runs, the breaker panel containing the building?s main disconnect switch and then household?s electrical end-use breakers should be easily accessible and relatively close to the solar array. Solar water-heating and solar electric systems will be addressed in more detail later in this course. Passive systems can provide over half the space heating energy by using windows to allow more sun into the home in the wintertime, increased levels of insulation to help to keep the house warm, and added thermal mass—such as concrete, tile, or brick.
In the summer, when the sun is high overhead, overhangs or other shading devices, such as awnings, prevent excessive heat gain. The challenge in northern climates such as Pennsylvania is freeze protection, but there are a number of systems on the market that provide freeze protection.
They require batteries to storage the energy they collect during sunny times for use at night or when the sun isn?t shining. Called flat-plate collectors, these are typically fixed in a tilted position correlated to the latitude of the location.
The table below shows summer, winter, and annual solar resources for Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Before installing any solar energy system, contact your local building code officials to learn about required permits, as well as codes and covenants that could affect where and how you install a solar energy system. Hot water systems should be installed by a licensed plumber in compliance with the National Standard Plumbing Code. Subsidies for oil, natural gas, electricity and coal vary among countries depending on the natural resources present in the respective country in addition to other factors. The EEA is an official agency of the EU, tasked with providing information on Europe's environment. Fossil fuels were also once made from these plant and other organisms that relied on the sun’s energy millions of years ago. This difference in energy, between the valence band (the state of a normal electron staying around its home atom) to the conduction band (electron free to move between atoms) is called the band gap. As tellurium demand is only recently rising in response to solar demand, it’s unknown what the global supply is for this unusual element but it may be quite abundant. However, LED’s work in a completely different manner, far closer to the way photovoltaics work.
Because these sources of energy are informal, it’s difficult to track and include them in statistics.
At the same time, they are competing to secure access to coal, natural gas, and petroleum both at home and abroad.
Until 2009, the United States lead the world in total energy consumption, though not per person consumption, for decades. Nearly 100 percent of Chinese had access to electricity, while in Burma, only 13 percent had access. China is also the world’s biggest coal producer but only third, behind the United States and Russia, in coal reserves.
Furthermore, China has purchased oil assets in the Middle East, Canada, and Latin America, and it also conducts oil-for-loan exchanges with other countries, $90 billion worth since 2009, according to the U.S. The Unites States has significant oil, coal, and natural gas reserves, as well as the potential for significant investment in solar, off and on-shore wind, and biofuels. By 2009, the country suspended its membership in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) because it was using so much of its own oil. Pakistan suffers from lengthy blackouts, even in its cities, in part because of poor transmission infrastructure and widespread electricity theft.
The widespread blackouts crippled the country’s textile industry, its biggest source of exports, and some reports suggest that hundreds of factories were shuttered as a result of sporadic power. Much of Nigeria’s natural gas is flared rather than being collected and sold for fuel.
In 2009, Russia exported far more oil than it used, and 81 percent of its exports went to Europe, notably the Netherlands and Germany. Almost half of its energy came from imported oil in 2009, and just 16 percent of Japanese energy came from a domestic source.
According to NASA, the term global warming gained popular use after geochemist Wallace Broecker published a 1975 paper titled Climatic Change: Are We on the Brink of a Pronounced Global Warming? The fastest increase in temperatures in the United States is in Alaska, where average temperatures have been increases by more than 3 degrees Fahrenheit per century. However, even though carbon dioxide and the other greenhouse gases are such a small percentage of the total gas in the atmosphere, they affect when, where and how clouds form, so greenhouse gases have some relevance when it comes to 100 percent of the greenhouse effect. Non-fuel, greenhouse gas-producing applications of fuels include industrial production like asphalt, lubricants, waxes and other . And yet, intentionally, the retail electricity prices that we pay are buffered from the wholesale marketplace.
Instead, these kinds of plants are applied to the base load, or the minimum amount of energy needed. At the same time, electricity itself can’t really be tracked, the electrons have no name tags. It has its own stringent environmental laws, it has a public utilities commission and an energy commission, and it has its own electricity market and administrator, the California Independent System Operator.
Calcium (or lime) lights could provide a lot of light, but it was a harsh light and reserved for conditions like the theater, hence the term in the limelight.
However, one electron is indistinguishable from another and can move from one atom to an adjacent one if the atoms make up a conducting material, like various metals. In the same year, 79 percent had DVD players, 43 percent had DVRs, and 86 percent of households had one or more computers.
On average, Americans use more energy in homes than for transport.  The average household uses less (around 41 million Btu worth of electricity). Somewhat heavier than standard bikes, electric bikes can still be pedaled without power on the flat or downhill, and the battery can help the rider stay sweat-free and comfortable on the uphill climb. You can see how much electricity your home draws right now, and you can turn on and off appliances to see how each one contributes.
For example, using the maximum brightness setting on a laptop computer will require more energy.
Bush in 2007.  The maximum wattage incandescent bulb allowed will be 29 watts by 2014, down 70 percent from pre-2011 levels. The bulb keeps the filament in a special gas atmosphere like argon, instead of being exposed to regular air.
That light, in turn, excites a phosphor (fluorescent) coating on the inside of the bulb, which then emits visible light. Extremely long-lived and very energy efficient, LED’s use around 20 percent of the energy of an incandescent for the same amount of light. Ducts are much easier to access than replacing insulation, and they often have holes and cracks, making them a major  source of cold air infiltration, and also indoor air pollution.  Leaks suck in cold, dirty crawl space air including asbestos, dirt, and volatile chemicals (paint thinners, pesticides) that we stow or spray under the house.
Use curtains or blinds to trap heat in during the winter and block sun out during the summer. For more about electricity in the home see the Basics of Electricity and how energy moves through the home. Remarkably, a properly insulated house, which only needs a third of the heat to keep you warm, will not be more expensive to build. A US household uses three times more electricity for lighting, and twice as much in refrigerators than in the EU. For example, a typical 75W incandescent bulb will be replaced by an 18W compact fluorescent. But it can also lead to wasting light, such as leaving lamps on when there is no need to (e.g. Lists of brands and models and where to find them are country-specific and so cannot be listed here, but check the links on this page for more detailed information.
Of course, you should always compare energy consumption ratings, pay attention to energy efficiency labels (see above), and look for Greenfreeze technology. So don't buy a freezer that is larger than you need, especially if you live close to the store.
2 problems: very noisy to run - entire house vibrates when they work - had to put in shock-absorbers especially designed for them - better but not completely.
The pipes to and from the house have to be buried below the frost line and insulated with very thick insulation. It may represent a higher percentage because we've been nibbling away at it for years with efficient appliances, CFLs and so on, but it gets us closer to making PV feasible.
Using renewable energy resources like solar also can reduce dependence on the utility grid, and reduce energy costs. Choosing ENERGY-STAR products can save families about a third on their energy bill with similar savings of greenhouse gas emissions, without sacrificing features, style or comfort. Incandescent lighting is inefficient, converting about 90% of the electric energy to heat, only 10% to light. However, systems designed to meet all energy loads in a home are larger and thus expensive. Although an orientation of due south is best, a deviation of 30 degrees or less from true south is considered acceptable for most solar energy applications.
The solar array and mounting rack will add approximately 3 pounds per square foot of dead load to the roof.
Since off-grid systems generally provide electricity for the entire home, they require storage batteries and usually have some kind of backup generator.
PVWatts can help you determine the solar resource available at your specific site, and also help you estimate the size of solar system needed to provide the necessary solar energy for either solar water-heating or solar electric systems. In fact, some municipalities issue permits for such work only to licensed contractors, and others might require approval of the system by a committee. Today, humans can convert the sun’s energy directly into electricity, through solar thermal and solar photovoltaic systems.
Photovoltaics are a lively area of research, and the future production and environmental costs of starter materials, production, and pollution are difficult to predict. Worldwide almost 78 percent of people had access to electricity in 2009, according to the International Energy Agency. However, China’s government predicts it will have seven times its current nuclear capacity by 2020. The situation is also aggravated by lack of capacity planning, insufficient fuel, and irregularities in water supply for hydroelectric. Flaring involves burning off naturally-occurring gases during petroleum drilling and refining, resulting in  environmental degradation, greenhouse gas emissions and loss of revenue. Emissions related to cement manufacture happen when limestone (calcium carbonate) is reacted with silica to make clinker, the lumps ground to make cement.
No one is surprised by a nickel’s worth of change here or there, but when prices increase by enough, some people actually reduce their driving. The rate that we users pay is tightly regulated by regional authorities, which themselves vary depending on where you are (and not only by state). We go straight from experiencing bottomless supply, to blackout, and we have no control over either case.
So even though utilities sign long-term contracts with power producers, there’s no way to guarantee if a power plant in West Texas generated the electricity that it sold to a utility in North Texas. However, some parts of Northern California participate in the Northwest power market instead. Electrons (like other charged particles) move spontaneously when they are in electric fields. Nielson reported in May, 2011 that for the first time in 20 years, television ownership is slightly down, perhaps in part because computers may be replacing the use of televisions, DVDs, VCRs, and video games.
However, it also doesn’t include the foreign energy used to source, assemble, and ship an endless profusion of products to the United States from other countries, like China.
However, to use electricity at home, we have to generate an additional 90 million Btu of primary energy at the power plant, according to the U.S.
In countries like the Netherlands, it’s ordinary to see anyone on a bike, from babies in handlebar seats to well-groomed professionals.
Air conditioners will require much more energy to operate in very hot weather not only because it’s hotter outside but because the refrigerant becomes less efficient as it gets warmer, particularly if the refrigerant gets into the high nineties Fahrenheit.
Tungsten halogen bulbs operate somewhat similarly, with an incandescent filament, but the bulb contains halogen gas, which helps keep the filament from burning out as quickly. For more about indoor air quality see the Environmental Protection Agency’s website here.
The extra investments in insulation, ventilation and high-efficiency glazing, can be offset by a smaller and cheaper heating system. Another 10 percent is lost in electricity lines and transformers before theelectricity even reaches your home. If they are installed they should be installed on their own concrete pad not connected to the frame.
We have since found (for the water lines) that insulating them, then putting them in the thick black corrugated plastic drains with a cut along them, and pumping the foamy stuff around kept the temp (Using a thermostat buried 100' away from the house) at 50 degrees when the temp outside was -15F. To avoid this energy use, plug all of the related appliances (for example, all of the entertainment equipment) into a power strip that has a switch on it. A structural engineer should be consulted if there is doubt that the roof can handle the additional load. If you are installing a solar water- heating system, you will have to have access to the connections to the existing water heater, and there should be room near the existing water heater for the solar water storage tank. A single or double layer of glass is mounted about 1 inch or less in front of the wall's surface. This course covers only the installation of grid-connected solar electric systems without batteries. These collectors can use both the direct rays from the sun and reflected light that comes through a cloud or off the ground.
Instead, the market’s moderated through the transmission authorities, who get the money from the utility, and pay the money out to the power plants.
And there are six small regions in the state of California that are their own balancing authorities, including Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District. An electric field is generated when there’s a difference in electric potential – called a voltage – just like a hill exists when there’s a difference in altitude. Yet, you are participating in energy use through your work, transportation, food, clothes, water, air travel, and electronic devices. They do, however, contain a small amount of toxic mercury vapor and shouldn’t be thrown into the trash. An efficient house will also be healthier and more comfortable to live in - it avoids 'cold radiation' (as from windows), the differences of temperature between heated and non-heated rooms is less, and it can be more efficiently ventilated. As we will explain, there are high efficiency appliances that consume two to 10 times less electricity for an equal functionality, and that are most often also of higher quality. Keep in mind that the cost of wasted standby energy over a model's lifetime can be higher than the cost of buying it!
And you can pat yourself on the back for dramatically decreasing your carbon footprint by no longer using gas, oil, propane or straight electrical resistive heating.
Timers work well in places where the use is intermittent and the occupancy of the space is for short periods of time, such as stairways, hallways, and closets. Solar heat is absorbed by the wall's dark-colored outside surface and stored in the wall's mass, where it radiates into the living space.
Because they use all available sunlight, flat-plate collectors are the best choice for many northern states.
However the price of gasoline at the pump is not subsidized by the state and is determined by the market. The actual market prices and settlements happen in a market that’s administered by a company, not the government. Early CFLs (manufactured in the 1990s) used magnetic ballasts and were heavy, relatively large, and flickered when they were turned on.
In Maine’s case, the state participates in a larger, regional market moderated by the New England Independent System Operator, a non-profit company. Upwards of 400% efficiency and extremely reliable and with virtually no maintenance (change a filter). However, the power lines in Maine are joined in a vast network of power lines all the way across the Eastern seaboard, in the Eastern Interconnection.
CFLs use about one-third as much electric energy to produce the same light as an incandescent lamp. Therefore, market participants in New England can buy and sell electricity outside of New England too. Most CFLs cannot be used with dimming, and CFLs in general do not like enclosed fixtures, where they can get too hot.




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