Wastewater is anything from water that flows down the sink or toilet to runoff from snow and rain that enters storm drainage systems. Wastewater treatment processes remove a variety of contaminants from water to make it usable again. The benefits of such treatment depend on the nature of the contaminants in the water and the end use of the water treated.
It is essential to distinguish between renewable flooring materials and rapidly renewable flooring materials when considering sustainable building products. Renewable flooring materials include traditional hardwood flooring, which replenishes if properly harvested. Yet, despite responsible forestry techniques, stands of hardwood might take several decades to a half-century to return to former levels. On the other ...
Nonrenewable resources are used worldwide to create electricity, heat homes, power vehicles and manufacture goods. Resources are considered nonrenewable if their quantities are limited or if they cannot be replaced as fast as they are used up. Some nonrenewable resources have been formed over millions of years and will eventually be depleted altogether. (See References 1)
Renewable resources are those resources that are easily replenished; many biological resources fall into this category. However, when consumption of these resources exceeds the rate at which they are replenished, the resource may be exhausted. To prevent this, renewable resources must be managed in a way that allows them to recover before irreparable harm is done. (See References 1) Unfortunately, the breaking point ...
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The sources of the energy that people use the world over fall into two general categories: renewable and nonrenewable. While the supply of renewable resources, such as sunshine and wind, is virtually limitless, nonrenewable resource supplies are finite. Some nonrenewable resources, including oil and coal, are the product of millions of years of conversion from fossils, the buried remains of ancient plants and animals. Others, such as uranium, are not categorized as fossil fuels but are still rare and nonrenewable. (See References 1)
Renewable resources are an important aspect of sustainability. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the most frequently used renewable resources are biomass, water, geothermal, wind and solar (see References 1). Unlike fossil fuels, we can regenerate or replenish these resources. Although biomass in the form of wood once supplied 90 percent of U.S. energy needs, all renewable energy sources combined supplied only about 8 percent of in 2009 (see References 1). With the rising cost and decreasing availability of nonrenewable fossil fuels, renewable resources are receiving increasing attention.
Overreliance on nonrenewable resources over the past few centuries has revealed their inherent vulnerabilities. In the past few decades, mounting environmental problems, increasing worry over secure supply chains, and economic instability due to volatile energy prices have routinely plagued industrialized and developing nations as they strive to meet ever-growing energy demands. Although there are still technological hurdles to clear before renewable energy can be efficiently exploited, the economic and environmental benefits of renewables suggest that this is a sound area of investment.
Nonrenewable resources are raw materials, which take long periods of time to form. (See References 1) Most energy producing nonrenewable resources are fossil fuels, which take thousands to millions of years to form. Fossil fuels develop when carbon, from decomposed plants and animals buried in soil, experiences geologic pressure and heat. Over time, this carbon converted into the fossil fuels that we now use to generate energy. (See References 2 & 3)
Renewable energy is reliable and plentiful and will potentially be very cheap once technology and infrastructure improve. It includes solar, wind, geothermal, hydropower and tidal energy, plus biofuels that are grown and harvested without fossil fuels. Nonrenewable energy, such as coal and petroleum, require costly explorations and potentially dangerous mining and drilling, and they will become more expensive as supplies dwindle and demand increases. Renewable energy produces only minute levels of carbon emissions and therefore helps combat climate change caused by fossil fuel usage.
High upfront costs can pose a financial barrier to installing a residential solar system. Fortunately, methods of financing the system make home-generated solar power more accessible. An investment in residential solar power typically pays off in four to five years, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. In addition, the investment boosts the value of the home (see References 1).