Green Energy Is Great Energy

Green Design

Energy is a huge expense for home and business owners. And the demand for energy continues to increase each year. According to the World Energy Outlook, demand for oil and energy resources from industrialized nations is expected to almost double by the year 2030.

Beyond the cost of traditional power, the environmental consequences of traditional energy production are significant. Few people realize that pollution from the air makes its way into our waterways. On average, about 25 percent of the pollutants in local U.S. water bodies come from the air. In Tampa Bay, about 50 percent of the pollution comes from the air.

By using renewable energy, Grady Pridgen, Inc. is investing in clean energy in our communities and in better air and water quality for everyone.

Here are some of the ways we’re using — and planning to use — renewable and alternative energy:

Demand Reduction: The first and cheapest step in becoming more energy efficient is to reduce demand. Simply changing habits to reduce energy can substantially reduce demand. Turning off lights, washing clothes and dishes during “off peak” electrical demand times. Installing a turn-off switch for equipment and appliances to eliminate loss of phantom energy (most televisions, stereos and computer equipment still consume electricity after they are turned off.) Finally, insulation and shade trees keep homes cooler and require less electricity.

Fluorescent & LED Lighting: Typically, lighting can account for between 35 to 65 percent of the total energy used within a commercial building. Fluorescent and LED lighting uses only a small fraction of the energy consumed by incandescent lights.

Passive Solar: The orientation of your home or building in relationship to its physical environment can have a great effect on utility demand. The use of windows, natural lighting, breezes, shade trees, etc. can greatly reduce energy demand.

Plasma Converter: The technology exists to vaporize matter. The process creates extreme heat (30,000°F), which is almost three times the heat of the sun. Anything from trash to hazardous waste can be burned at that temperature without emitting harmful gasses. Grady Pridgen, Inc. plans to use this process in our zero waste recycling program.

Net Metering: Incorporating alternative renewable energy into buildings can create more electricity than a building needs. It is possible to sell the excess power back to the utility provider. Unfortunately, in a vast majority of cases, the utility company offers to pay a small fraction of the rate they charge the consumer. Hopefully, states will follow Georgia’s recent requirement for utilities to pay a premium for excess renewable power.

Solar Street Lighting: Solar street and pedestrian lights are set up off the power grid, meaning once installed, the light they supply costs nothing because the sun powers them. There are many other benefits, as well. Take for instance, the extensive power outages from the recent over-active hurricane season. With solar lighting, the lights stay on even when the power’s out.

Solar Power Systems: Solar power systems that use photovoltaic cells and converters can offset a significant portion of a household’s electricity demand. Though the systems require a considerable investment, over time they pay for themselves and can be factored into a mortgage to make the cost more manageable.

Solar Water Heaters and Chillers: Installing a solar water heater is one of the best ways to lower energy expenses because up to one-third of a home’s energy use goes to heating water. Because the savings are so significant, this investment has a very fast payback time.

Geothermal Energy: Geothermal energy, another renewable energy source, uses the Earth’s heat to produce energy. Rocks and water located deep inside the Earth capture heat from magma. This heated water, or steam, can them be pumped from the ground and used for heating and generating electricity. Geothermal energy does not produce pollution and does not contribute to the greenhouse effect.

Going solar

Very often there is confusion about the various methods used to harness the sun's abundant and clean energy. Energy from the sun can be categorized in two ways: (1) in the form of heat (or thermal energy), and (2) in the form of light energy.

Solar thermal technologies use the sun's heat energy to heat substances (such as water or air) for applications such as space heating, pool heating and water heating for homes and businesses. There are a variety of products on the market that utilize thermal energy. Often the products used for this application are called solar thermal collectors and can be mounted on the roof of a building or in some other sunny location. The sun's heat can also be used to produce electricity on a large utility-scale by converting the sun's heat energy into mechanical energy.

Photovoltaics (PV) is a technology often confused with solar thermal and is in fact what many people mean when they refer to "solar energy." Photovoltaics (photo=light, voltaics=electricity) is a semiconductor-based technology (similar to the microchip) which converts light energy directly into an electric current that can either be used immediately or stored, such as in a battery, for later use. PV panels/modules are very versatile and can be mounted in a variety of sizes and applications; e.g. on the roof or awning of a building, on roadside emergency phones or as very large arrays consisting of multiple panels/modules. Currently, they are being integrated into building materials (such as PV shingles, which replace conventional roofing shingles). Source: Solarenergy.com