Energy consumption is an ever-growing concern for commercial buildings. The rapid depletion of fossil fuels, climate change, rising energy costs, and aging power grids have
necessitated the need for alternative energy sources. Sustainable energy has gained popularity in recent years as a solution to these problems. Sustainable energy is vital for a sustainable future, resilient communities and can easily be used in tandem with traditional energy sources.
What is Sustainable Energy
Sustainable energy is energy that is produced from sources that do not deplete natural resources or harm the environment. This type of energy is often referred to as renewable energy because it can be replenished naturally and indefinitely. Unlike fossil fuels, which are finite resources, renewable energy sources like wind, solar, and hydro can provide energy without depleting natural resources.
Types of Sustainable Energy
The most common types of sustainable energy include solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, and biomass. Solar energy is produced by converting the sun’s energy into electricity using solar panels. Wind energy is generated by harnessing the power of the wind using wind turbines. Hydro energy is generated by harnessing the power of moving water using hydroelectric dams. Geothermal energy is produced by using heat from the Earth’s core to generate electricity. Biomass energy is produced by burning organic matter like wood, crops, or waste materials. Commercial buildings will most often utilize solar energy to generate electricity because of its accessibility, reliability, and low upfront installation cost.
Why Sustainable Energy is Important
Sustainable energy is crucial for a sustainable future and to continue building energy-resilient buildings. The use of sustainable energy can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reduce pollution, and combat climate change. The burning of fossil fuels like coal, oil, and gas releases large amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, contributing to global warming. Sustainable energy, on the other hand, does not produce greenhouse gases, making it a cleaner and safer alternative to traditional energy sources.
Using sustainable energy sources is also becoming increasingly important for businesses due to aging power grids. The electricity grid infrastructure in many states throughout the US is outdated and in need of significant upgrades. The use of sustainable energy sources, such as solar panels or wind turbines, can help businesses reduce their reliance on the aging power grid and ensure a steady and reliable energy supply.
Meeting Commercial Sustainable Energy Goals
Companies can use sustainable energy sources to lower energy costs and meet sustainability goals in several ways. Investing in renewable energy sources such as solar power can provide companies with a more predictable and stable source of energy, reducing their exposure to fluctuations in energy prices. Additionally, renewable energy sources have low operational costs compared to traditional fossil fuel-based sources, which can help companies save money in the long run.
Companies can also reduce their carbon footprint and meet their sustainability goals by using renewable energy sources instead of fossil fuels. By reducing their greenhouse gas emissions, companies can improve their sustainability profile and lower their carbon emissions helping create resilient communities.
Sustainable Energy Challenges
One of the biggest challenges with renewable energy is the high cost of installation and maintenance of renewable energy systems. While the cost of sustainable energy has decreased significantly in recent years, its start-up costs still make the upfront cost higher than that of utilizing traditional energy sources. This makes it difficult for many companies to justify the initial cost of installation. However, there are many incentives and grant programs available that can help make sustainable energy systems more affordable for businesses.
Another challenge is the intermittency of some renewable energy sources like solar. Solar energy is only available during the daytime, and when the sun is not obscured. This can make it challenging to rely solely on these sources for energy, as they cannot always provide a steady and reliable supply. However, advancements in energy storage technologies, such as energy storage systems, are making it easy to overcome this challenge by storing excess energy generated during peak hours for use during times when renewable energy sources are not available. An energy management system can make it easy also combine using renewable and traditional energy.
Utilizing Both Traditional and Sustainable Energy Sources
Companies can combine traditional energy sources with renewable energy sources easily by implementing an energy management system (EMS). An EMS is a software system that helps companies optimize their energy usage by providing real-time data on energy consumption and production. With an EMS, companies can integrate renewable energy sources such as solar or wind power into their existing energy infrastructure seamlessly. The EMS can automatically switch between traditional and renewable energy sources based on energy demand and availability, allowing companies to maximize their use of renewable energy while maintaining a steady and reliable supply of energy.
Sustainable energy is energy that is produced from renewable sources that do not deplete natural resources or harm the environment. It is an essential component of a sustainable future, as it can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, combat climate change, and promote energy security. While there are still some challenges with sustainable energy sources, GridPoint can make it easy for companies to make the transition to sustainable energy.