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Wind energy development environmental concerns include, noise, visual impacts, and avian and bat mortality.

Although wind power plants have relatively little impact on the environment compared to fossil fuel power plants, concerns have been raised over the noise produced by the rotor blades, visual impacts, and deaths of birds and bats that fly into the rotors (avian/bat mortality). These and other concerns associated with wind energy development are discussed below, and are addressed in the Wind Energy Development Programmatic EIS. To get more information about these concerns and access current research, please visit the suggested web sites listed on the Wind Energy Links page.

Noise

Like all mechanical systems, wind turbines produce some noise when they operate. Most of the turbine noise is masked by the sound of the wind itself, and the turbines run only when the wind blows. In recent years, engineers have made design changes to reduce the noise from wind turbines. Early model turbines are generally noisier than most new and larger models. As wind turbines have become more efficient, more of the wind is converted into rotational torque and less into acoustic noise. Additionally, proper siting and insulating materials can be used to minimize noise impacts.

Visual Impacts

Because they must generally be sited in exposed places, wind turbines are often highly visible; however, being visible is not necessarily the same as being intrusive. Aesthetic issues are by their nature highly subjective. Proper siting decisions can help to avoid any aesthetic impacts to the landscape. One strategy being used to partially offset visual impacts is to site fewer turbines in any one location by using multiple locations and by using today’s larger and more efficient models of wind turbines.

Avian/Bat Mortality

Bird and bat deaths are one of the most controversial biological issues related to wind turbines. The deaths of birds and bats at wind farm sites have raised concerns by fish and wildlife agencies and conservation groups. On the other hand, several large wind facilities have operated for years with only minor impacts on these animals.

To try to address this issue, the wind industry and government agencies have sponsored research into collisions, relevant bird and bat behavior, mitigation measures, and appropriate study design protocols. In addition, project developers are required to collect data through monitoring efforts at existing and proposed wind energy sites. Careful site selection is needed to minimize fatalities and in some cases additional research may be needed to address bird and bat impact issues.

While structures such as smokestacks, lighthouses, tall buildings, and radio and television towers have also been associated with bird and bat kills, bird and bat mortality is a serious concern for the wind industry.

Other Concerns

Unlike most other generation technologies, wind turbines do not use combustion to generate electricity, and hence don’t produce air emissions. The only potentially toxic or hazardous materials are relatively small amounts of lubricating oils and hydraulic and insulating fluids. Therefore, contamination of surface or ground water or soils is highly unlikely. The primary health and safety considerations are related to blade movement and the presence of industrial equipment in areas potentially accessible to the public. An additional concern associated with wind turbines is potential interference with radar and telecommunication facilities. And like all electrical generating facilities, wind generators produce electric and magnetic fields.

Saving Energy without Breaking a Bank

Energy is not just the monthly bill you have to pay each month; it is the foundation of everything you do and the life to everything you have. But with the increasing cost of energy, it cannot be denied that we need to take important measures to limit our energy consumption. Saving energy becomes a must and a habit that everyone should seriously adapt.

Heating and Cooling.

Almost half of your electric bill goes for your heating and cooling systems so if you really want to maximize your savings here are the following things you can do:

Clean your air filters at least once a month.

Clean baseboard heaters, radiators, and warm-air registers as often as necessary; make sure that they are working properly; and that they are not blocked by drapes, carpeting, and furniture.

Set the thermostat as high as is comfortable when it is hot or as low as is comfortable when it is cold.

Turn off exhaust fans (kitchen, bath, others) 20 minutes after cooking or bathing. Keeping them on for a long time affects the temperature of the room.

Lighting and Appliances

As much as possible, use natural lights – working near the windows will prevent you from turning on the light and consuming energy. Utilize the power of the sun.

Switch off the lights every time you leave the room even if it is just of a minute.

If you are using the 4-foot fluorescent lights, install reflective backings to maximize the light.

Switch to compact fluorescent lights. There are 4-watt minifluorescent lights and 40-watt fluorescent lights have the same illuminating effect.

Turn off all lights and appliances when not in use. Unplug unnecessary appliances like microwaves, television, stereos, computers, and VCRs if you are not using them. Also, unplug chargers and devices with bloc-shaped transformer on the plug. All of them consume energy when plugged in. Do not leave them on “stand-by” mode.

Look of Energy Star label when purchasing lighting product.

Use task lighting instead of lights that cover the entire room. For example, use lamp shades when reading and not the lights for your room.

Laundry

Washing your clothes cold will reduce washer’s energy consumption by as much as 90%. Air drying eliminates the energy use for machine drying.

Always do full loads whenever possible. If you are washing a small load, use appropriate water level and wash setting.

Refrigerator

Maintain a right temperature for your freezer and refrigerator.

Do not hold the refrigerator or freezer open. The energy consumption increases if the motor works endlessly just to maintain the temperature of the refrigerator and freezer.

Check for leaks and cracks in the gasket. Make sure that your refrigerator is completely sealed to maintain the temperature inside.

Insulation

Heat loss happens when your house is not properly sealed. Use sealants or weather-stripping on windows.

Make sure that air cannot escape or enter in to the pipes, doors, walls, floors and ceilings. A properly insulated home saves as much as 10% in electric bill.

In a typical household monthly electric bill, 44% goes to the heating and cooling systems; 33% goes to lighting and other appliances; 14% goes to heating the water; and 9% goes to the refrigerator. Take note of this power distribution to know where exactly you can maximize your saving.

Green Home – Building the Future with energy efficient glass

Everyone these days is looking to build a green home that offers benefits such as energy efficiency, lower electricity bills, better comfort and so on. The article below talks about modern designers, benefits of energy efficient glass.

A good home protects us from harsh weather conditions such as cold, rain, heat and more. A good home also provides a convenient place for you to relax. However, this is changing steadily for the better as homes are more than four walls and a roof. You can now build a home that offers benefits such as energy efficiency, lower electricity bills and is also eco-friendly.
Modern designers:
In recent times, designers are choosing to walk on the path less travelled and get inspired in part by nature. The new generation of architects have a vision of constructing green buildings which do more than just shelter us. Homes built by such architects will guarantee to enhance your mood, boost productivity, reduce energy consumption, maintain the interior temperature and much more.
To build such homes, they make use of various types of material such as uPVC and energy efficient glass.
Take a look at some of the many benefits of energy efficient glass.
Energy cost savings-
Installing energy efficient glass doors and windows will let you control the amount of heat entering or escaping from a building. Apart from lowering your bills, energy efficient glass also adds to the property value of your home. So make sure to install energy efficient glass to reduce your carbon footprint and make your interiors comfortable.
Less condensation-
Energy-efficient glass is useful if you are looking to repel condensation that causes frosting. When frost collects on windows, the room feels colder, this will need additional heating, further increasing electricity costs
Better comfort-
Old windows and doors do not help maintain interior temperature; as a result, they fail to make your homes comfortable. By replacing them with energy efficient glass windows, you can eliminate this issue.
Less damage to furniture:
The sun’s harmful rays can fade artwork, paper, fabric, carpet, and wood. Energy efficient coatings on the glass will help you reduce ultraviolet (UV) rays by up to 75 percent. This helps in protecting your precious furniture and artwork to make them last longer and keep their quality maintained.
Numerous choices:
There are numerous options other than energy efficient glass when it comes to constructing green buildings i.e. heat-reflective glass, solar control glass. Energy efficient glass such as Ecosense, heat reflective glass such as Tinted glass and solar control glass such as Opal glass. All these types of glass can greatly contribute towards a greener environment.
This glass range can be used for various applications such as windows, doors, partitions, facades, skylight and many more.
Today, architects are revolutionizing the infrastructure by building more and more green buildings using such eco-friendly material.
Turning to green home is a need of an hour due to increasing problem of global warming. Green house is also beneficial as it is energy efficient, lower electricity bills and gives better comfort.
By: Mihir Mehta

 

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Saving Energy – Solutions That Will Not Change Your Lifestyle

The rise and drop in temperatures in the coming years, place intense pressures on consumers around the world as this means only one thing, more energy and fuel are needed to control the environment and make homes more comfortable.

Over the years, new technology has been invented to improve the manner of living – energy saving devices are not excluded. However new technology, as always, is a bit expensive at first. And the prices will go down after some time. But instead of waiting for a more affordable energy saving devices, let us apply our common sense today and do some effort in saving energy.

•Avoid “phantom” energy users.

Electrical appliances that are plugged in to sockets even when not in use consume energy. It is like a turning on the engine of your car and idling for a very long time. A single appliance that remains plugged in may not give a significant increase in your electric bill but letting every appliance on “standby” can be a real money spender. Make sure to pull the plugs of every appliance from their sockets whenever you don’t use them.

•Turn down temperature of water heaters.

Water heaters hold about 40 gallons of water and maintain it at a constant temperature. Forty gallons of water that is sitting in your tank for a very long time consumes a lot of energy. If the water heater is not expected to be used for a while, it is advisable to maintain it at a lower temperature.

•The openings and leaks in doors and windows create drafts.

The stronger the draft is, the longer it will take for homes to be heated or cooled – in addition to the extra work that a heater or an air-conditioning system is doing to regulate the right temperature of the house. In newer homes, the problems may be few as today’s’ builders take more attention to sealing drafts potential areas and slots. Older homes may not be as well sealed. Even if the outer walls are insulated, air leaks often occur around wall outlets, switches and vents that could result in water condensation around these areas. A good foam patch could fix the problem.

•If there is really nothing to prepare much cooking for, let the stove and oven rest.

Instead, use the microwave. When cooking in stoves though, the closer the bottom of the pan used for cooking matches the hob ring of the stove, the more energy is saved. Too much flame for the pan and you are paying for heating the air around it.

•CFL lights are energy savers.

Using CFL bulbs will save you more than sixty percent of the cost of lighting compared with using incandescent light bulbs. Sure CFL lamps are a little more expensive but these are recovered easily because of its longer life and the energy saving feature it has.

•Clean appliances regularly.

Dirt and dust interferes with the efficiency of appliances. Likewise, place a good distance; allow about four inches of distance between the wall and appliances that generate heat for your walls not to retain the heat.

•When in the market always look for the energy coefficient and the energy saving features of the appliance you are buying.