One of the greatest ambitions of the current millennium is to harness the power of the sun to supply man’s energy needs. This is something that personal energy users and Commercial Electricity users have been interested in. Since the beginning of life, living organisms have relied on the sun for energy in the form of light and heat. Plants use sunlight to make food through the process of photosynthesis. By combining the energy of the sun with water and carbon dioxide, plants create glucose sugar which can be used for energy at a later time. Storing this energy for later use is a difficult problem, but one worth tackling due to the sheer enormity of energy available from this free resource.
Through the process of fusion, the sun combines hydrogen atoms together to form helium atoms and releases energy as a part of this process. For every 1,000 grams of hydrogen that is fused together, 993 grams of helium are produced, with seven grams being converted into energy. The energy produced from this seven grams of mass comes out to be 6.29×1014 Joules. For comparison, in one second, the United States’ average energy usage is 4.69×1011 Joules. If we could harness just a single kilogram of hydrogen fusion per second, the entire energy needs of the United States would be solved.
The sun, being a massive ball of fusing hydrogen, produces 3.8 x 1026 Joules of energy every second. One second of output from the sun could supply the energy needs for all of mankind for nearly half a million years. This energy is emitted primarily as visible light and heat in the form of infrared radiation and radiates uniformly out in a sphere from the sun. At any given time, the earth is receiving 1.74×1017 watts of solar radiation in the upper atmosphere. Of this, about a third is reflected back into space with the rest being absorbed by the mass of the earth. The earth absorbs approximately 3.8×1024 Joules of energy every year. That is less than what the sun produces in a single second, and it is more energy than the world uses in a full year.
The sun formed about 4.6 billion years ago. Since we know the mass of the sun, through calculations involving the orbital period of a small body orbiting a mass, we can use this to estimate the complete lifetime of the sun. At this point, the sun is about halfway through its life-cycle meaning it has another 5 billion years of fusion left. That should provide ample time for mankind to develop an efficient means of harnessing this ever present energy source.
These days, home owners are constantly looking for ways in which to make their homes more energy efficient. After all, electricity and gas prices these days are sky high and show no signs of waning any time soon. As a result, many budget-conscious home owners have realized that they will need to make the effort to be more energy efficient in they want to save money on their monthly energy bills. Fortunately, there are some great ways to go about improving lighting efficiency in Read the rest of this entry »
Saving money on energy bills not only helps to keep more money for other expenses, but it also helps cut down on the use of finite resources. A simple way to cut costs is by using LED light bulbs. Not only are they more energy efficient than standard bulbs, they last much longer.
The average 100 watt LED bulb will cost about 23 a year to operate. Compare that with 88 a year for an incandescent bulb, and the savings works out to 65 a year. Obviously, using LED bulbs in multiple lamps increases the Read the rest of this entry »
1. Make the switch to energy-efficient light bulbs as soon as possible. Some people put off making the switch because these bulbs can be a little more costly, but they are well worth it and end up paying for themselves in the end.
2. Don’t worry about putting light bulbs in every socket of all of your light fixtures. In some cases, doing so can make a room unnecessarily bright, making it both expensive to turn the lights on and also somewhat unpleasant to do so. Instead, just use one or Read the rest of this entry »
People today are becoming more and more focused on living a greener and more energy efficient lifestyle. This is not only good for the environment, but also save you money on power bills. One area where many people unknowingly waste energy is on lighting. Let’s look at some ways to save electricity by lighting your home more efficiently.
1. Use Task Lighting -This is an efficient alternative to lighting up a whole room. If you are Read the rest of this entry »
For many homeowners looking to save a little cash while doing their part to reduce their energy consumption, switching to compact florescent lights (CFLs) has always been one of the easiest and quickest ways. Not only do they use less energy to produce the same amount of light, but CFLs have a longer life. However, LED (light emitting diode) lights may offer an even better way to save both money and the environment.
While LED Read the rest of this entry »