From the moment we wake up in the morning until the time we go to bed each night, we all use different forms of energy to perform our daily activities. On a daily basis I use energy for transportation to commute to and from work and run errands; for cooking meals using either my gas range, microwave or charcoal grill; for heating my home in the winter and cooling my home in the summer; for daily showering, and for lighting my home in order to be comfortable and productive. Most of the resources we rely on for energy are nonrenewable and will soon be depleted. Let’s take a closer look at how energy affects the following daily activities:
Transportation – I use my vehicle to commute to and from work and to run any errands during the week or on weekends. In order for my vehicle to operate properly it needs fuel. Gasoline is refined from crude oil, which is a fossil fuel.
Cooking – Natural gas, electricity or propane can be used when cooking food. These energy sources are created from fossil fuel.
Heating/Air Conditioning – For heating one can use natural gas or heating oil and for air conditioning, electricity is used. Natural gas and heating oil are fossil fuels and electricity is created from fossil fuel.
Computers – Electricity is created from coal which is a fossil fuel.
Lighting homes/offices – Homes and offices use electricity as their source of energy which is created from coal and is a fossil fuel. During the course of a year, our energy consumption needs can change due to several factors. With the implementation of telework in many companies, our gasoline consumption can be reduced by working from home several days a week; by eating out more often, we can reduce our energy consumption from not cooking every day; our heating/cooling energy consumption might increase due to working from home several days a week; our energy consumption for computer use may increase due to working from home several days a week and this would also increase our energy consumption costs for lighting. Our energy consumption can vary from month to month or day to day, depending on the factors involved, such as teleworking more, eating out more or the temperature on any given day. If it is seasonably warm or cool, the temperature would impact the amount of heating/cooling we would do in our homes and offices.
I currently get my electric from PEPCO. PEPCO does not produce electricity they purchase the electricity on an exchange and sell it to the consumer. I get my natural gas from Washington Gas. Like PEPCO, Washington Gas does not produce the product they purchase it from a producer and sell it to the consumer. I purchase my water from Washington Suburban Sanitation Commission who owns and manages about 10,000 miles of water and sewer mains. At this time they currently operate three reservoirs, with shared access to a fourth reservoir (www.wsscwater.com/hme/jsp/content/www-intro.faces). Gasoline, natural gas, propane, and electricity are all sources of nonrenewable energy. Since these sources of energy are nonrenewable, we need to find other ways to generate the energy we need for every day essential activities before our current supplies are depleted. We have to consider the advantages and disadvantages of renewable energy sources and what effect they will have on our environment.
There are several renewable sources for generating energy that can be used as alternative energy sources, such as geothermal energy, wind energy and hydropower. As with the nonrenewable energy sources, the renewable energy sources have both advantages and disadvantages. The biggest advantage to them all is the unlimited supply of resources and less negative impact on the environment.
Geothermal energy is heat from within the earth that is often referred to as geothermal power. “Geothermal energy can be put into four classifications: dry steam, hot water, geo-pressurized and hot, dry rock resources” (Tillery, 2009 p. 70)....
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