Every year a number of homeowners consider the question of how to treat their water. Whether this question is raised due to issues regarding the healthy and safety of the water, or a person just wants to ensure the quality, they will begin looking for a device that can purify quickly and effectively. Depending on how much of the house a person wants treated water for, they will purchase either a point of use purifier or a point of entry purifier. Lets take a moment to review what both of these are and how they differ from one another. In addition, we will review which one is best for you when considering a reverse osmosis water filter.
The technology behind this filtration
Homeowners across Australia are starting to see the benefits, both in costs savings and also in health gains, as a result of RO (reverse osmosis) system popularity. A series of fine particle filters are used as membranes in which unfiltered and potentially harmful water is forced through. The end result is clean, purified water on one side, and all the bad stuff on the other.
Behind renewable energy technology, water purification technology is fast becoming a popular topic in the construction industry within Australia and the rest of the world; ignore it and be left in the dark!
The Benefit Of Reverse Osmosis Water Filters
Forcing water through a semi-permeable membrane, reverse osmosis water filters can help to dramatically improve the quality of water by removing contamination. By installing one either under your sink or for your entire house, you can remove odors, metals, and other contaminations. The effectiveness of your reverse osmosis water filter will depend on its quality, on its size, and on the effectiveness of the individual water filters.
Point Of Use Verse Point Of Entry
If you are considering a reverse osmosis water filter, then the first thing you will have to consider is whether you want point of use or point of entry. Point of use refers to having a reverse osmosis water filter at a particular place in your house.
For example, one of the most common places to have a reverse osmosis water filter is under the kitchen sink. Used to wash dishes and for drinking water, many people see it only necessary to install one there. The reverse of point of use is point of entry. With point of entry, a larger reverse osmosis water filter is installed where water enters the house, guaranteeing that all water is well treated. More expensive, the point of entry method of treating water carries over a range of benefits and drawbacks that depend on your needs.
Your Particular Need
What do you need the water to be purified for? Do you want a source of water in your house that you can drink? If so, having a point of use is perfect. If you want your bathroom sink and kitchen sink to have a reverse osmosis water filter, then point of use still makes sense.
If you want your water to be purified for things like bathing, washing clothes, or for families larger then two people, then it is often suggested to get a point of entry reverse osmosis water filter. Whole house systems are more expensive meaning as a consumer youll want to do your research in order to find the best rated reverse osmosis system on the market, however it also guarantees a wider range of coverage that can be incredibly beneficial, especially if there is some contamination that may pose a health risk to you or your family. While it may come with a steeper price tag, the end result is that all water in your house will be cleaner.
With LED and solar lighting, its easier than ever before to save energy, and improve your environments lighting conditions. There is a lot of chatter around the benefits of LED light emitting diodes compared to conventional lighting with good reason. LEDs are far and away the most energy efficient solution on the market and with further improvements to LED design as discussed in our previous blog, it wont be long before production costs begin to fall, in turn passing those savings on to the public.
Its not just for indoor fixtures either, solar lights using LEDs have improved dramatically over the last few years, to a point where they are comparable to lights using mains power. These high powered solar garden lights are the perfect example, working off as little as 10 watts for 10-12 hours all from the suns rays!
1. Energy Efficiency LED lighting is by far the most energy efficient lighting available. LED bulbs can use about 10% of the power that traditional incandescent and halogen bulbs use and about 50% of the power that fluorescent lights use, for the same lighting result. To give you an example, we recommend that you replace your 50w halogen down light bulbs with our 5w LED down light bulbs. A lot of modern homes these days contain a high number of lights and most of them are running for several hours a day. Reducing your lighting power consumption by 90% can save you big $$$ off your electricity bill, especially with the continually soaring price of electricity. It is not just electricity bills that benefit from the reduced power consumption of LED lighting. Most battery operated lights, such as torches and solar lights, are reaping the rewards of LED lighting also. The batteries in a torch will now last around ten times longer with LEDs than with other bulbs and solar lights using LEDs require a much smaller battery capacity to run them through the night.
2. Long Life LED bulbs have an outstandingly high life expectancy when compared to their lighting counterparts. Typically, incandescent and halogen bulbs run for about 1,000hrs, fluorescent bulbs can last for about 10,000hrs and a quality LED bulb can last for 50,000hrs. That means if you left an LED light switched on, it should continue running for over five and a half years. Unlike fluorescent bulbs, LED lights are not affected by how many times they are switched on and off. The advantage of longer life does not only mean that you are saving $$$ on having to purchase new bulbs all the time, but you are saving the expense of having to physically change the bulb over frequently. In some residential cases and many commercial circumstances, this can reduce the cost of having to hire electricians and equipment required just to change the bulb.
3. Environmentally Friendly If you are looking for a way to help preserve our planet for future generations, then converting your lighting to LED is a great place to start. A great advantage of LED lights requiring far less power to operate is that it reduces the amount of power needed to be created by natural resources. LED bulbs do not contain any hazardous chemicals such as mercury, unlike fluorescent bulbs. Even with strict disposal guidelines in place for fluorescent bulbs, reports suggest that up to 17% of the total mercury content is released into the atmosphere when a fluro bulb is broken, which can often happen during transportation to a disposal facility.
4. Health and Safety As discussed above, fluorescent bulbs contain the toxic substance mercury. Mercury is particularly harmful to small children and unborn babies, but anybody who cuts themselves on a broken fluro bulb can be at serious risk. Fluorescent bulbs also emit UV and are known to cause a flicker effect which can be troublesome for people suffering from epilepsy. Learn how to dispose of fluro lights.
Another advantage of LED bulbs being so efficient is that they emit very little heat. There have been a lot of house fires started by the heat emitted from halogen down lights causing the roof insulation to catch fire. You can remove the risks caused by the heat from halogen and incandescent bulbs by switching them over to LED.
5. Durability LEDs are extremely durable and can withstand rough and rugged conditions. Their resistance to shock, vibrations and impact damage, along with their minimal power consumption, make LEDs very popular for vehicle and caravan lighting. These features also make LEDs very beneficial to be used in any outdoor lighting that may be exposed to the elements.
We decided to base our case study in the typical everyday suburb of Klemzig, a suburb of Adelaide, South Australia, 8kms northeast of the Adelaide CBD. Its located at the eastern end of the City of Port Adelaide Enfield, adjacent to the suburbs of Hampstead Gardens, Hillcrest and Windsor Gardens. This was chosen as our area of investigation as it is easy to replicate this study to other cities throughout Australia. The purpose of this study is to evaluate whether photovoltaic solar panels are worth investing in, considering their current social, economic and environmental aspects.
Klemzigs profile is quite similar to other suburbs in the City of Port Adelaide. Klemzig has a total area of 2.5 km2, with a population of 5086 in 2006. Compared to its local council, there is a higher proportion of managers and professionals in Klemzig and a significantly lower proportion working in manufacturing, the median weekly household income is around $725.00.
Average Household size
Median Weekly Household Income
Government rebates are available for eligible households, giving assistance with the cost of installing a solar photovoltaic system through small-scale technology certificates, solar credits and the solar feed-in scheme.
At present, there are no direct federal rebates available for small-scale solar photovoltaic, wind power and micro-hydro systems. However, small-scale systems are eligible for support under the new enhanced Renewable Energy Target (RET).
The enhanced RET allows for the creation of Small Technology Certificates (STCs) for small-scale solar, small wind and micro-hydro systems. STCs are issued by the government for the generation of renewable energy, which electricity retailers and other liable parties (such as large users of electricity) are then obliged to purchase in order to fulfil their mandatory commitments under the RET legislation. The RET seeks to ensure that 20% of Australias electricity supply come from renewable sources by 2020, as imposed by the federal governments Mandatory Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000.
The Solar Credits program is part of the enhanced RET. Solar Credits are available to households and businesses that install small-scale solar PV, small wind and micro-hydroelectricity systems. The scheme works by multiplying the number of tradeable STCs able to be created for eligible installations. If the system is installed between 9 June 2009 and 30 June 2011, the homeowner will receive five times as many STCs as under the deeming arrangements for the existing RET scheme. From 1 July 2011, the multiplier will reduce to three times, and will decrease by a factor of 1 each year until it reaches and stays at a multiplier of one from 1 July 2013.
Households, small businesses and community buildings that have solar panels installed may be eligible to receive payment for any electricity that is exported back to the grid. The scheme is open to electricity customers that consume less than 160MWh per annum. The average household uses less than 10MWh per annum. According to the Clean Energy Sector there were 105,520 solar power systems installed in Australia in the 10 months from January to October 2010, more than the 81,232 installed from 2001 to 2009.
Adelaide is Australias first solar city according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. It is one of seven regions in Australia to trial new approaches to producing and using energy as part of the Australian Governments Solar Cities Program. From 2009 until 2013, Adelaides local governments, businesses and the community will support the uptake of 1700 solar panels for homes and business. Consumers installing solar systems are given and will be given financial help to do so. There will also be 7000 smart meters installed in homes and business and a campaign to inform the community about energy efficiency and encourage the uptake of green power. The trial is expected to cut energy usage by 28GWh, representing an annual saving of $5 million in electricity costs and a minimum of 30,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year.
Figure 11 shows that there has not been any installed solar panels on households for more than two years. This is due to solar panels being more affordable and economical in the past years, also government rebates have been available for eligible households. More than half of the locals surveyed (54%) have had their solar panels installed for only1-2 years. None of the respondents have had their solar panels longer than 2 years.
Many households have been recently investing solar PV systems (figure 11) as rebates are becoming lesser and lesser because the solar industry have already been established. It is becoming stronger and can now compete with other power suppliers such as gas and do not need any more government support, said Verity Sanders, the Strategic Planner (Environment Policy) of Port Adelaide Council.Solar panels reduce electricity bill costs as much as a third and also reduce the cost of running a home, stated Verity Sanders.
There are some council restictions that households are need to be aware of when they are installing solar panels. There are requirements of adjacent dwelling to make sure they dont overshadow a next door roof of solar collection panels. Solar panels should be mounted upright at least 10cm of the roof.
The number of complaints against solar power installers has increased over the last few months according to the Clean Energy Council. But the Klemzig area has received zero complaints.
Inspections carried out by the Clean Energy Council have have found systems installed in an unsafe way; increasing the risk of fire. In other instances, systems have been installed in such a way that performance is substantially decreased and complaints have also been lodged about exaggerated system performance information being provided by some companies.
A large percentage of respondents believe that having solar panels on their roof has made them more energy conscious. In Lochiel Park, where it is mandatory for households to have solar panels, the respondents believe that it has influenced them to become more energy conscious and 100% of the local residents surveyed believe that solar panels set a positive example for the community.
Verity Sanders, the Strategic Planner of the Port Adelaide Enfield was interviewed, her responses are shown below.
Response from Verity Sanders
Do you believe that the government should provide more funds to help low-income earners invest in solar panels?
The State government is providing services to work with low income households (including through Housing SA) on reducing the actual energy consumption in households wherever possible, through audits or better use of appliances, which is actually the most important first action, and ultimately just as important (and much cheaper for the householder) than installing solar panels in most instances,
Do you think that solar panels should be mandatory for new housing developments in the city of Klemzig?
I think that the State government could look at the option of requiring houses (and businesses) to have some solar or other renewable source as part of a new building some houses however may not have the roof room so the practicalities have to be considered in each case. Its a regulation that would have to be put in place by the State Government, as Councils dont have any legislative powers to mandate that requirement just in their own Council area.
The initial cost of investing solar panels depends on the kilowatt output of the system but generally it is expensive. Most respondents agree that the initial cost of investing solar panels cost a lot but it is worth the money.
The local residents surveyed agreed that the government should offer larger rebates and that the scheme should be extended. They also believed that the government should provide more funds to help low-income earners invest in solar panels.The table below shows the interview done with Verity Sanders regarding government rebates on solar PV systems. Households may be eligible to receive assistance with the cost of installing a solar system through the small-scale technology certificates (STC), solar credits and the solar feed-in scheme.
Response from Verity Sanders
What do you think about the government rebates and incentives? Do you think they should offer larger rebates?
I think that once the cost of solar panels becomes much cheaper ( which they certainly are now), then there will be a time when the public funds (government rebates) no longer need to support the industry, and they can stand on their own two feet, as other power sources are required to do.
Do you think the government should extend the scheme?
The current scheme seems to have been extremely successful, to the point where the industry is struggling to keep up with demand, so I think theres a limit to how long the scheme needs to run for. As solar panels become cheaper ( as they are doing) they will become a standard option for any house, and particularly for new houses where the cost of installing panels becomes part of the overall cost of building the house, and can be absorbed into a home loan over a period of time.
None of the respondents have ever had any problems with their solar panels since they were installed, which is great news for prospective solar panel owners. From an environmental standing there have been no concerns from the respondents but rather a positive increase in their views towards living environmentally.
Solar panels have positive environmental implications resulting in reduced dependency on mains electricity, which means we will need less new major power stations to be built in the future this is particularly important given that Adelaide will continue to grow in the next decades, so for that growth to be sustainable, we have to reduce our demand on the system in many ways as possible to allow for that increased growth. Solar panels reduce pressure on fossil fuel resource. It also reduces Australias carbon emissions thus reducing the impact of the enhanced greenhouse effect. Solar panels can also result in an increased environmental awareness and energy consciousness of citizens. On the negative side, the construction of solar systems consumes high amount of energy therefore there is high embodied energy put into solar panels.
Socially, solar panels set a positive example to the community and encourage adjacent streets to consider investing solar systems. Solar panel installations are quick and easy and dont need much maintenance. It doesnt cause any hazard to humans as it is manufactured without using toxic products. Solar panels may reduce base load demand during peak periods thus limiting black outs in communities. There are council restrictions to make sure that solar panels dont overshadow a next door roof of solar collection. Solar panels are expensive to buy, but they pay off themselves over a period of time. Low income earners and eligible households are supported by the government through federal government support such as the small scale certificate and solar credits. State government supports are available as well through the solar feed-in scheme.
Economically, it helps create economies of scale as there is enhanced investment in green renewable energies such as solar. It results to an increased revenue for solar retailers and provides employment therefore result to positive flowback to the community. Government rebates such as the small scale certificates, solar credits and solar feed-in tariff are available for eligible households. The running costs of houses with installed solar panels are low and are not greatly affected by the projected increase on the price of gas and electricity. On the negative side, solar panels are expensive to invest in therefore it can be difficult for low income earners to afford. Solar rebates for households are ending which will then result to an increase price of solar systems.
The government (Federal, State, and Local) should educate people, especially the working demography, on benefits of solar PV systems.
The government should invest more into large scale solar generators all over Australia.
Government departments should plan to install more solar PV system on their building chambers as it sets a positive example for the community.
Solar panels should be mandatory for new housing developments.
Government should continue to give incentives to house developers who choose to use renewable energy.
Government should continue to reward or give money back to individual households with installed solar panels (photovoltaic power cells).
The government should offer larger rebates and extend the scheme.
The cost of installing solar panels should become part of the overall cost of building the house and should be absorbed into home loan.
The government should continue to plan strategies on how they can support low income earners to invest in solar panels.
Improve the energy efficiency of house and business appliance
Do you have an opinion on the benefits or drawbacks of investing in solar? wed love to hear from you! please leave us a comment or get in touch with us via social media. If you liked this article, support the author and share this post!
In 2011, the worldwide population exceeded 7 billion. This is well up on the earths population at the beginning of the last century when there were just 1.6 billion people. This rapid rise in human numbers is unprecedented and threatens the very well-being of the planetary systems on which all life depends. As population grows bigger and bigger, there is an increased demand for food, water, housing, and other resources including energy.
The bulk of energy we use comes from non-renewable fossil fuels such as coal, oil or natural gas. We burn these fuels in power stations to make electricity or in combustion engines as transport fuels. The combustion of fossil fuels results to an increased concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere which can then lead to global warming. Much of the easily accessible oil will be gone in 50 years (figure 3) and coal will be scarce in 200 years. As more and more fossil fuels are used those that are the easiest to find will be used up first. As time goes on it will be harder to find new reserves of fuels and the cost of extracting them will increase.
The use of renewable energy sources to provide electricity is rapidly increasing in popularity among proprietors and companies. The increasing use of natural and renewable energy sources is needed to help relieve us of our current dependency on fossil fuels. The significantly high level of fossil fuel products burnt each and every day is polluting of the air and surrounding environments and may also be contributing to climate change.
Renewable energy sources are those that can regenerate in a relatively short time such as solar, hydroelectric, geothermal and wind. All of which harness the earths power without the need to destroy it.
Wind energy, currently the cheapest renewable energy source, involves the generation of electricity from the naturally occurring force of the wind. Sites where there is strong, consistent wind, such as Southern Australia, are the most appropriate locations for wind farms. An excellent wind site is generally considered to deliver average wind speeds larger than 8 metres per second at sea level.
Australia has some of the worlds best wind resources. The total operating wind capacity at the beginning of 2011 was 1991 megawatts. The amount of installed capacity of wind power has increased by an average of 30 per cent a year over the past decade. Wind energy supplies over 5,100 gigawatt hours of electricity annually around 2 per cent of Australias overall electricity needs.
Currently there are 53 operating wind farms in Australia, with a total of 1089 operating turbines. South Australia has the largest installed capacity with around 51 per cent of the nations total wind capacity. In 2010 estimated wind energy generation saved Australia 5,100,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide. That is equivalent to the removal of 1,133,000 cars from our roads. As an additional environmental benefit, no water is needed for wind farm operation.
The use of wind power continues to grow around the world. Global installed capacity at the end of 2010 was almost 194 gigawatts a 22 per cent increase on 2009.
In 2010, around 36 gigawatts of new wind capacity was installed around the world with a value of around $US65 billion.
Wind farms have various societal, commercial, ecological and health implications. The most noticeable impact a wind turbine places upon the people in the surrounding environment is noise pollution. It also has the potential to lower property values within a varying radius of construction. Nina Pierpont, a paediatrician based in New York, conducted a research that suggests that people living close to wind turbines are vulnerable to what she calls Wind Turbine Syndrome (WTS), an illness with symptoms including sleep disorders, heart disease, panic attacks and headaches.
Another disadvantage regarding a wind turbine and its impact on the surrounding environment can be expressed with the term visual impact or visual pollution. Some people believe wind turbines actually look quite nice, yet many people disagree seeing turbines as a scare on the landscape.
Bird deaths are a cause for concern and a key biological issue related to wind turbines. The number of birds that perish at the arms of wind farm sites created an outcry from fishing and wildlife agencies and conservation groups like PETA. On the other hand, several large wind farms have functioned for years with only minor impacts on such wildlife. Also tied in with this matter is the construction of wind turbines. As with many other developments, wind turbines require deep bases, and this has the potential to abolish underground habitations, and disrupt surrounding ones.
Unlike most other generation technologies, wind turbines do not use combustion to generate electricity, and hence dont 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 the movement of the fan blades and the presence of industrial equipment in areas possibly accessible to the community. A supplementary 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.
One of the limitations of wind power is that consistent wind is needed for continuous power generation. If wind speed decreases, the turbine lingers and less electricity is generated.
Even though wind power has minor disadvantages it is still an excellent alternative to fossil fuels. Wind power produces no pollution that can contaminate the environment, since no chemical processes take place, unlike in burning of fossil fuels, in wind power generation, there are no harmful by-product left over. Also, since wind power is a renewable source of energy, it will always be available for use and the world will never run out of it. Wind farms can also be built off-shore. Farming and grazing can still take place on land occupied by wind turbines which can help in the production of biofuels. By using renewable energy sources such as wind power were able to make the remaining oil, gas and coal supplies last longer.
The initial investment of wind turbines can be expensive, yet it is capable of paying for themselves over the years of operation. Government grants are also available to households and businesses switching to renewable energy system.
The current and prospective policy environments within which a wind farm is operating are central to the effectiveness and competitiveness with which it operates. Direct support through subsidisation or favourable tax policies or indirect support for renewables from costs imposed on greenhouse gas emissions will enhance the competitiveness of wind energy. In Australia growth of wind energy is favoured by the Renewable Energy Target, proposed reductions in carbon emissions and the new proposed carbon tax.
The Renewable Energy Target (RET) scheme was implemented by the Government in August 2009. RET is designed to deliver on the Governments commitment to ensure that 20 per cent of Australias electricity supply will come from renewable resources by 2020. In ten years time the amount of electricity coming from sources like solar, wind and geothermal will be around the same as all of Australias current household electricity use.
The carbon tax has had an adverse effect on the growth of wind energy. The Carbon tax taxes sources which emit carbon dioxide. Carbon taxes address a negative externality. Externalities arise when an individual production or consumption activity imposes costs or benefits on others. By placing a cost on these negative externalities the underlying purpose of a carbon tax is to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and thereby slow global warming. It will be executed by taxing the burning of fossil fuels like coal, petroleum products such as petrol and aviation fuel, and natural gas like CSGin proportion to how much carbon they add to the atmosphere.
Other current management policy of wind farms is identifying suitable locations for wind energy facilities, it should not lead to unacceptable impacts on critical environmental, cultural or landscape values.
Although wind farms have quite significant negative impacts on the surrounding environment, I would still support the increased use of wind power, as long as wind farms are sited, designed and managed so they do not harm birds and their habitats.
The wind industry and government agencies should sponsor research into collisions, relevant bird and bat behaviour, mitigation measures, and appropriate study design protocols. In addition, project developers should be 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. Landscape and cultural heritage values of the land should be considered also when identifying suitable sites for wind energy. It is recommended that wind turbines should be built at least 2 kilometers (a little over a mile) away from peoples homes
Government agencies should also sponsor medical research into the illness called Wind Turbine Syndrome. Project developers should be required to collect data through monitoring people living at close proximity to wind turbines.
Other improvements can also be made to address issues concerning wind power generation/wind farms such as the government continuing to provide sponsorship in investing more into wind farms and continuing to provide incentives and rebates to encourage individual households to invest in wind energy and other renewable energy resource.
A new way to cater for the increased demand of energy can be ecologically sustainable, and that is generating renewable clean energy from the wind.