Towering over the landscape, wind turbines generate electricity by harnessing the energy of moving air. According to the U.S. Energy Information Association, wind power is the fastest-growing source of renewable energy in the U.S. Wind power increased 33.5 percent from 2008 to 2009, with total generation reaching more than 73,000 megawatts in 2009 (see References 9). Although wind power continues to grow in the ...
Organizing a carpool to work can be a greater challenge than setting up one for school. You and your colleagues may have to scramble if your schedules are changed on short notice. Still, if you bring some flexibility to the task, you can help the environment and keep a fatter wallet (see References 1). When gas prices jump, ride sharing can provide significant savings. (see References 2).
Conventional hydropower generates electricity by trapping river water behind a dam or impoundment, then releasing it through a turbine (see References 1, page 1). Hydropower is a renewable, or alternative, source of energy precisely because it uses natural water cycles, such as the flow of rivers, to produce electricity (see References 2).
Chlorine, the active ingredient in conventional laundry bleach, can spur an allergic reaction or irritate your respiratory tract. Chlorine bleach mixed with ammonia, a common ingredient in commercial toilet bowl and other cleansers, releases toxic gases into the air (see References 1). If you use gray water from laundry to irrigate your landscaping, or you are searching for alternatives to toxic household chemicals, ...
More Articles on Alternative Energy
The push is on to use alternative fuel sources to power U.S. vehicles. The 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act takes up the cause -- it mandates the use of 36 billion gallons of renewable transportation fuels by 2022 (see References 1). If every cloud really has a silver lining, then the urgent need to reduce dependence on fossil fuels -- both for environmental and economic reasons -- calls upon American ingenuity to escape this predicament.
Like other developed nations, the United States relies heavily on fossil fuels. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, less than 10 percent of the country's energy supply is derived from renewable sources (see References 1). The supply of fossil fuels is limited, and burning them creates greenhouse gas emissions; consequently, replacing coal and oil with alternative energy is a high priority (see References 2). Alternative energy sources may be used on a small scale by individual homeowners and businesses, especially in the cases of solar or wind power. They can also be large-scale operations connected to a municipality's existing electric power grid, in which case they supplement or replace conventional power plants.
Most of the energy in the United States is produced by burning fossil fuels like coal, petroleum or natural gas, which release carbon dioxide into the air and contribute to global warming. Clean alternatives like solar, wind, geothermal and hydropower exist, but large-scale production is hindered by cost and technology. A 2009 Gallup poll showed that 77 percent of Americans favored an increase in the availability of alternative energy sources, yet only 8 percent of the nation's energy came from renewable sources that year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (see References 1). Be part of the solution instead of part of the problem by supporting the development of alternative energy from every angle.
The energy you use at home has an impact on the environment: many energy sources are generated by burning fossil fuels. By using alternative energy sources, you can reduce your impact on the environment and save a considerable amount of money in utility costs.
Several different alternative fuels are available to consumers who wish to power their vehicles with something other than gasoline or diesel fuel. The most widely available in terms of vehicles and infrastructure are ethanol, biodiesel, propane and natural gas (see References 1). In addition, green power generation using alternative fuels, such as biomass, is available to many consumers through green power partnerships (see References 2).
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, U.S. energy consumption fell 4.8 percent in 2009, but only 8 percent of that energy came from renewable sources (see References 1). Many people rely on traditional electricity sources simply because they don't know what's out there, and most don't realize that their electric company may get some of its electricity from renewable sources (see Resources 1). Depending upon your area, you may be able to request a higher percentage of green energy from your power company, or you can install your own system.