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Alternative Energy

Essay by   •  November 8, 2010  •  Essay  •  1,712 Words (7 Pages)  •  1,402 Views

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As we know, the United States consumes more power than any other country in the world. The success of the U.S. can be directly related to its power consumption. Most of our electricity that power our homes comes from burning fossil fuels (Coal, oil etc.) that puts Co2 in the atmosphere, this is causing major pollution. The U.S. has mainly refused to take this matter seriously, as showed by their refusal to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, and continues its high consumption. The amount needed in the future will only rise and because of that reason we need new alternative sources of energy. These new alternative power sources include wind, solar, and hydro. Two of which are of great interest to architects are 'Active Solar' and 'Wind Technology.' I believe that architects have a responsibility to look for new sources of energy, not just for our environments sake but to gradually lose our dependency on fossil fuels which is quickly running out while demand keeps increasing. This research paper is about the ideas behind the technology and how Architects can use active solar and wind technology to power homes now and in the future.

Wind technology is "a system of equipment that is used for gathering and converting wind into mechanical or electrical energy and of transferring these forms of energy to the point of use or storage." The two main uses are for electric generation and water pumping.

Wind has a lot of the drawbacks as does Solar(which I will get to later) but the constraints are less geographic and much more meteorological. Which means the future of this type of energy source is dependent

upon some of the most erratic forces on earth. I almost support this idea because it will force the development and use of some very impressive storage and planning systems.

Wind technology is not without its positives though. Conventional wind machines are getting much better in regards to noise and safety and the simple answer to the problem of densely settled areas is for architects and engineers to place the machines in the ocean, or have people get used to them in close proximity, which I don't see happening any time soon. Wind technology in rural areas does make practical sense. Home builders, farmers and small businesses can easily set up a small wind generator without much opposition as you would encounter in highly dense areas. Wind energy is cheap and clean; In northern Europe it is common for small communities to invest in their own wind turbines.

Active Solar refers to "taking advantage of solar energy by the means of mechanic or electrical systems for heating and electric conversion." Solar collectors is often placed on the roof, but can just as easily be placed on a framework placed on the ground, on carports, or gables. To maximise solar gains, houses need face south, with wind concentrated on the south-facing side. Stone, concrete and brick, which absorb energy during the day and release it slowly at night, should be used. Also, adding a south facing sunspace can increase solar gains in homes.

The solar panels use oil or water as conductors to trap and store solar

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