Indirectly Solar Energy is utilised in all forms of energy helpful to
mankind (Except perhaps in man made nuclear generated energy).
Sad to say every one of us has contributed at some small level to
this colossal waste of energy.
Can we the average people do something about this?
Can we harness Solar Energy in our homes and small commercial establishments
and if so how?
Lighting –Since time immemorial sun light is the prime source of illumination on Earth.
This is true for all living beings!
Heating – Next to Illumination, the sun provides Heat energy,
may it be direct or indirect.
Cooling – Cooling from heat? Wind, evaporation, vegetation and
photosynthesis provide cooling naturally.
Food preservation – Another way mankind has utilized solar energy for
eons is for food preservation by dehydration
Cooking – Though cooking by solar heat has not been practiced till recent times,
today many impoverished nations, where energy is in short supply,
find solar cookers a useful tool.
Transportation – Transport on land has not caught up as a means of transport.
But wind current generated by solar energy assist in transportation of sail boats,
still a major mode of transport in many parts of the world.
Frankly you would see, a home can be made sustainable by shear basic practices that
existed even before the dawn of civilization!
One however does not have to resort to basic practices if you are bent on spending
a little for making your home sustainable.
What do you have as modern advancements in these categories? Lighting
Natural light utilization for illumination is a science by itself!
Practiced by good architects who are conscious of the value of conservation,
they incorporate wide open indoor spaces, sky lights, lighting chutes,
lighting with fibre optics, glazing etc.
Non-traditionally incorporation of solar photo voltaic panels in the building fabric
can cater for the whole house’s electrical energy needs!
A wide range of designs in Panels are available enabling the architects to
manipulate them to obtain best aesthetic affects.
Thermal Panels are a popular choice for many homes for their hot water needs.
Combined with incorporated electrical heaters, they are a reliable source of
energy for heating water. While hot water needs can be taken care of
by thermal panels, any electrical power requirement for heat has to
rely on Photovoltaic cells with storage battery packs if the building is remote from
the utility power grid.
Cooling – Cooling is a function of Ventilation, power driven fans, and
air-conditioning. Natural ventilation by means of architectural design is
a preferred method, the use of fans (of all types) consuming electrical power,
Air Washers etc. would assist in cooling a building in the hot Seasons.
Food preservation, Cooking and transportation
Are not practiced as viable alternatives in present day Ireland as more rapid modes
are demanded. However if you take measures to manage the other
three energy consuming areas mentioned above,
that’s good enough to make our world a better place from
a sustainable perspective to live in.