Every business needs to be aware of the impact it has on the environment. While your business may not be completely green, it’s important to take steps toward being as eco-friendly as possible.
What Is Renewable Energy?
Renewable energy is energy that is derived from things that can be replenished. Most renewable energy can be replaced easily and continues to be produced naturally or through a non-harmful man-made method. For example, a river flows over a watermill and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. This watermill could be used to create electricity, grind flour, or manage any number of tasks, thanks to the water. It doesn’t affect the environment or cause harm to the flora and fauna of the area, but makes continuous use of the flowing water.
Renewable energy has been around for a very long time. Think of sailboats, which use wind to power their movement. Wind is continuously produced in some capacity and provides us with ongoing energy in one form or another. Humans have made use of these natural resources for a very long time before coal, oil, and other similar options became available. However, technology is rapidly advancing and we are better able to use the renewable resources we have now.
The Dangers of Non-Renewable Energy Sources
Unfortunately, once things like coal and gas and petroleum were discovered, they were used as fuel to create our energy. This is often referred to as dirty energy because it pollutes and has negative effects on the environment. Not only that, but dirty energy has long since caused issues between countries that have these resources and those that do not.
Non-renewable energy resources can be found only in specific places and are produced under specific conditions which usually take thousands of years. This means that humans use up these fuels faster than they can be produced and they will eventually run out. In fact, some fuels are already becoming scarcer, which is driving the push for more discovery and further fighting.
Fossil fuels such as petroleum are also an issue for national security for the countries they are found in. They have to defend their resources and it has been the cause of several wars and ongoing conflict over who owns which territory.
In addition to the usage and economic issues, most non-renewable energy sources are bad for the environment in a variety of ways. Burning coal, for example, contributes to global warming, for example, and can pollute the air. However, fracking for oil can create water pollution and even cause instability in the earth, while strip mining for oil drilling requires the destruction of valuable forests that normally replenish our oxygen.
As you can see, using dirty energy can be quite hazardous to the environment and it’s best to look for another option if you can.
Types of Renewable Energy Resources
Fortunately, renewable energy resources are available for use and as more people become aware of the opportunity to use clean energy, more energy suppliers are looking toward renewable options. There are several to choose from.
The sun is one constant that we’ve used for generations to warm us, but we now know more about how to harness it. The ability to turn sunshine into electricity is just one way to use it as a renewable energy source. You can use individual solar panels on your buildings, or you can turn to an energy supplier that uses solar energy to create electricity. Either way, you’re using clean energy to power your business or space.
Solar water heaters are also available and they produce hot water to use in sinks, showers, etc. as well as for indoor heating. It’s a very powerful source of energy that anyone can access quite easily. More and more energy suppliers are turning to solar power to benefit the environment and to produce clean energy. When designed and placed properly, solar panels and solar heaters don’t have a negative impact on the environment.
Another popular method of generating clean energy is wind. Turbines can be set up anywhere there is plenty of wind, including on platforms in the ocean. The wind turns the blades and creates electricity by moving the electric generator attached to the turbine.
Like sunshine, the wind is almost constant and is free for the taking. The wind turbines need to be manufactured, but once placed, they tend to have very little environmental impact.
Biomass boilers are also a renewable energy source. They use organic material, often wood, to burn. The heat is captured by a steam turbine to create electricity and in a business or home, they can be used for heating purposes, as well.
Just how clean the biomass energy is will depend on the fuel. Trees are considered renewable, but still, produce carbon emissions when burned. The amount of carbon absorbed by the tree as it grows renders this neutral, but it can still be a controversial subject. However, wood chips that are a by-product of a sawmill or wood pellets made from these can be a good way to use what would otherwise be a waste product. Biomass energy is also very efficient.
Hydroelectric power is not nearly as common in the UK as in other parts of the world, but it makes up around 2% of all energy generation. This requires a water supplier or moving water, usually a waterfall or river, to spin turbine blades that power a generator and create electricity.
Hydropower is usually created via mega-dams, but these are not considered renewable, as they drastically affect the environment. However, in the UK, nearly all hydroelectric plants are small and non-invasive. While they divert a small amount of water, they are not destructive to the environment around them and can be considered clean energy.
Energy is all around us and heat pumps can take regular heat in the earth, air, or water, and collect it for use in heating a building. This is a renewable source of heating energy and is easy to use in a business or home setting. The simplicity of a pump using the ambient heat around the building makes this a very popular method of heating buildings, including residential and commercial.
With so many options to choose from, it’s not surprising that more energy suppliers are offering clean energy.
How Your Business Can Benefit from Renewable Energy
Using renewable energy sources for your company may not appear to bring immediate benefits, but it does make a difference. First, you are taking steps to be more eco-friendly, which will benefit the environment in the long run. This is a good goal for your business to have.
However, other people, including clients are often more inclined to shop with a company that has taken steps to become eco-friendly. They want to support the effort, so it can be a good marketing point. You may end up benefiting even more from this by simply sharing your thoughts on going green with your customers.
Renewable energy may even be lower cost, depending on whether tariffs change or you have your own solar panels or biomass boiler. These can immediately reduce the cost of heating your business and may even allow you to produce some or all of your own electricity with solar power.
How to Find Renewable Energy Suppliers for Your Business
Now that you’re aware of the benefits of renewable energy, you just need to find renewable energy suppliers. It’s a good idea to talk to several energy suppliers to learn what they have to offer. Ask them about their tariffs and what percentage of their overall energy is produced from renewable sources.
You can also talk to other businesses that use renewable energy sources. They may be able to recommend a supplier and even introduce you. There are plenty of options available, so talk to as many as possible and learn which suppliers offer the cleanest energy.
Once you’ve found your clean energy, you can begin to implement as many green practices as possible. For example, if you end up using solar power for your electricity, you may add a solar water heater or a biomass boiler to keep your building warm in the winter.
Renewable energy is often the beginning of many greener changes in a company. If you’re interested in learning more about renewable energy suppliers, contact the Energy Desk today for more information.