Because of the limited amount of nonrenewable energy sources on Earth, it is important to conserve our current supply or to use renewable sources so that our natural resources will be available for future generations. Energy conservation is also important because consumption of nonrenewable sources impacts the environment. Specifically, our use of fossil fuels contributes to air and water pollution. For example, carbon dioxide is produced when oil, coal, and gas combust in power stations, heating systems, and car engines. Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere acts as a transparent blanket that contributes to the global warming of the earth, or “greenhouse effect.” It is possible that this warming trend could significantly alter our weather. Possible impacts include a
threat to human health, environmental impacts such as rising sea levels that can damage coastal areas, and major changes in vegetation growth patterns that could cause some plant and animal species to become extinct. Sulfur dioxide is also emitted into the air when coal is burned. The sulfur dioxide reacts with water and oxygen in the clouds to form precipitation known as “acid rain.” Acid rain can kill fish and trees and damage limestone buildings and statues. You can help solve these global problems. In the U.S., the average family’s energy use generates over 11,200 pounds of air pollutants each year. Therefore, every unit (or kilowatt) of electricity conserved reduces the environmental impact of energy use.
Renewable energy effectively utilizes natural resources such as sunlight, wind, tides and geothermal heat, which are naturally replenished. Renewable energy technologies range from solar power, wind power, and hydroelectricity to biomass and biofuels for transportation. A non-renewable resource is a natural resource that cannot be re-made, re-grown or regenerated on a scale comparative to its consumption. It exists in a fixed amount that is being renewed or is used up faster than it can be made by nature. Fossil fuels (such as coal, petroleum and natural gas) and nuclear power are non-renewable resources, as they do not naturally re-form at a rate that makes the way we use them sustainable and consumer materials to produce electricity
What can we do to help the environment?
1. Plant and protect trees to moderate building temperatures
Trees conserve energy by shading, cooling the air through evapo-transpiration and reducing the velocity of wind. Selecting and placing trees to shade adjacent buildings in the summer or protect them from the prevailing winter winds can moderate building temperatures. Choose as large a tree as possible but be sure it can grow to its natural size in the space allotted to it, when properly placed; mature trees can reduce the interior temperature of a building by as much as 20 degrees, reducing summer cooling costs by 25-40%.
2. Reduce the heat island effect: shade paved areas
Parking lots and streets are significant sources of heat and pollutants (parked cars emit hydrocarbons that contribute to the formation of ground level ozone), as well as often being unattractive. Trees reduce the amount of heat stored in or reflected from paved surfaces, which can contribute to increased building and car temperatures. Many cities in California have ordinances that require shading of paved area by trees.
3. Shade air conditioners limiting the sun that shines directly on an air conditioner will keep it cooler and running more efficiently. You or your client’s utility bill will be reduced.
4. Design lighting carefully
Outdoor lighting consumes a large fraction of the electricity used in the United States. Site lighting can be designed to use less energy and minimize “light pollution”. Operating costs savings can often recover costs of newer more efficient lamps.
5. Choose and maintain equipment for fuel conservation
Equipment is most often selected for its speed, cost and ease of use. However, reducing fossil fuel consumption is one of the most important practices the landscape professional can do to protect the environment, while lowering the cost of operation the equipment. Choose the smallest, most efficient equipment required to get the job done: bigger is not always better. Manual labor may make the most economic sense for many landscape operations. You can cut the cost of fuel while protecting local air and water quality.
6. Specify local products & suppliers
transporting items the least distance reduces fuel consumption and air pollution. Buying local reduces the hidden environmental costs of transporting materials.
The way the government can be more involved is by giving us more funding to conservation efforts, and by helping us save energy. Stop using the money on unnecessary things. This is the most important part of everyone life, and without energy how are we going to live.
No matter where on Earth you live–whether the crowded streets of Delhi or a sprawling suburb of New York City–your lifestyle has an impact on the global environment. Decisions, such as where you reside and how you get around, have repercussions on the planet well beyond your neighborhood.