You have probably heard that you could improve your company’s sustainability by using green energy sources. But what does it mean to ‘go green’ or use ‘sustainable resources’ when it comes to energy consumption?
Green power is any electricity that is generated using low-impact, alternative energy sources, such as solar, wind, geothermal, biogas, and some biomass power sources. Green power sources are fully renewable energy sources that result in the lowest burden to the environment.
Green Power and the Environment
Green power sources are, by definition, zero-emission energy sources. This means that green energy sources do not produce additional carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases during the power generation process. Green energy sources are environmentally friendly from an emissions standpoint, but if the demand on these sources is too high, their overuse could result in other types of environmental damage.
Overusing some green energy sources, such as solar power, can result in habitat loss due to excess water usage and the development of sprawling ‘energy farms’. For thermal energy, problems may arise when additional energy is obtained through drilling into the earth. Although there are aspects of green energy that may be considered drawbacks, these sources are far less harmful to the environment than conventional energy sources.
Renewable Energy Sources
Both green power and renewable energy fall under the umbrella of alternative energy – which can be defined as energy from sources other than fossil fuels. However, not every renewable energy source is a green energy source.
Renewable energy includes energy produced from sources that are lower impact than conventional power sources, but these sources are not necessarily zero-emission. Renewable energy sources include renewable fuels that are replenished over short periods of time, which include:
– green energy sources (solar, wind, geothermal, biogas, biomass)
– solid waste energy generation
Although the impact is typically small, some renewable energy sources do have a negative environmental impact. As with green energy sources, hydropower and solid waste energy sources can also lead to excessive land use. Moreover, while solid waste energy generation reduces the burning of fossil fuels and the amount of waste that ends up in landfills, the burning of municipal waste generates a number of airborne toxins, which may be harmful when released into the environment.
Trends in Renewable Energy
With the falling costs of green energy production—especially for solar and wind energy—there is a current trend toward the development and implementation of alternative energy sources. This trend can be seen in company-level focuses on sustainable operations (with large corporations, such as Apple, Google, and Microsoft, setting short-term goals for 100% renewable energy utilization) and government-level policies aiming to slow the effects of global climate change.
At General Kinematics, we have a commitment to providing high-quality and well-engineered products that focus on improving your processes; designing our equipment with waste reduction and sustainable production in mind. To learn more about what GK equipment can do for you, contact us today!