By Jane Marsh | Contributing Writer
As eco-consumerism reaches the residential sector, homeowners search for sustainable power alternatives. Increasing a property’s energy efficiency and decreasing its carbon emissions can shrink a resident’s footprint. President Biden additionally increased national climate change prevention measures, increasing the sustainability of America’s infrastructure.
Climate change is currently a hot topic, literally. Media stories and new products reach consumers daily, leaving individuals confused. When it comes time to decrease your home’s environmental impact, you can start by evaluating emission challenges.
Fossil Fuels and Climate Change
Nearly 80% of the U.S. energy supply derives from fossil fuels. It is a reliable source and generates enough power to support the nation. Unfortunately, it is the main contributing factor to climate change.
The Earth’s natural temperature control process relies on the atmosphere’s strategic composition. During combustion, fossil fuels interfere with the balance of the planet’s elements. Organically, the atmosphere absorbs solar radiation, generates heat, warms the surface, reabsorbs excess energy, processes it and emits additional heat to space.
The system creates life-sufficient temperatures on Earth’s surface. When greenhouse gases from fossil fuels invade the atmosphere, they compromise its efficiency. The pollutants overproduce heat and entrap it on the planet instead of sending it to space.
Greenhouse gases raise the global temperature over time, generating a ripple effect of ecological degradation. Coal produces significantly more greenhouse gases than propane or natural gas, reaching 228.6 pounds of carbon for every million British thermal units (BTU) burned. Natural gas only releases 117 pounds, making it the most sustainable fossil fuel option.
Fortunately, there are more eco-friendly ways to power a home.
The Case for Electric
Some homeowners transition away from fossil fuels altogether, eliminating the greenhouse gases associated with their energy use. Reducing emissions effectively increases a person’s eco-friendliness. Electric appliances also minimize climate change immediately when fuelled by renewable energy.
Current renewable power systems are significantly less efficient than fossil fuel-derived energy. The average electricity production rate by solar panels ranges from 15%-20%. It takes an extensive panel system to power an entire home.
Because our electricity originates from fossil fuels, the production of panels generates additional carbon emissions. Some individuals believe that pollution will level off once all homes can access renewable energy. The theory supporting it is the environmental Kuznets curve.
Unfortunately, environmentalists disproved the theory throughout history. Once we reach a level of sustainability, we will continue outsourcing fossil fuel-supported goods that are cost-effective. Capitalism always drives societal shifts, and there is no one right way to limit carbon emissions.
Though individuals disproved the theory, there is still hope for climate change prevention. While environmental engineers and scientists develop accessible emission reduction technology, we can utilize natural gas. It’s significantly cleaner than other power sources, decreasing adverse ecological effects.
Natural gas is eco-friendly and economical. Homeowners can save nearly 30% on their utility costs when using the cleaner power option compared to electricity. Utilizing conventional gas appliances is also cheaper than purchasing new electric versions.
Additionally, gas-powered systems use less energy than electric devices. They generate a smaller utility bill over time. When homeowners decrease their energy costs, they also shrink their carbon footprint.
Conventional heat pumps rely on electricity, moving warm air to cool places and vice versa. Many believe geothermal heating systems are sustainable because of their renewable energy use. Heat pumps generate ecological challenges, degrading their sustainability.
Natural gas is better for the environment when it comes to noise pollution. Heating pumps generate loud sounds that interfere with neighbourhood ordinances and the ecosystem. Abnormal noises can be harmful to wildlife.
Researchers evaluated sound pollution’s effect on bluebird reproduction. They found that birds in high noise regions produce fewer chicks than those in quiet spaces. It also interferes with different species’ communication abilities.
Many animals communicate using distinct sounds. Noise pollution can limit their ability to alert pack members when predators are close. It also disrupts their ability to navigate the land, degrading the eco-consciousness of heat pumps.
About half of all American homes use natural gas-powered heating systems. It costs more and creates additional greenhouse gas emissions by purchasing and installing electrical systems. For now, it is more sustainable to continue using the gas-driven versions.
Adopting Natural Gas Heating Systems
Before adopting natural gas in your home, it is essential to ensure its regional accessibility. You can evaluate the supply by reaching out to your neighbours. If they all use natural gas, you are in the clear.
Additionally, you can contact your local utility company to find out about their compatibility with gas lines. After you access a natural gas source, you can install a system. If your home already has a line, you will need a heating professional to perform an inspection.
The next step is to attain the necessary permits and connect compatible appliances. Once your connection is secured, you can begin using natural gas. Over time, your utility costs will decrease and your carbon footprint will shrink.
Until renewable energy becomes more accessible, homeowners must adequately maintain their natural gas heating systems. Ensuring the longevity of the device can increase its sustainability. By the time your setup expires, society may transition toward electric energy sourcing.
Biden plans on creating an electric grid and obtaining our energy from renewable sources. Until the transition occurs, we can continue using cleaner fossil fuels.
When it comes to residential power sourcing, using a combination is more efficient than one supply. You may fuel your heating system with natural gas and your outdoor lights with solar power. Homeowners can significantly increase the sustainability of their properties when pulling a little energy from various sources.
About the Author
Jane is the founder and editor-in-chief of Environment.co where she shares practical tips on how to live a greener life.