Tag: Sustainable Engineering

Carbon Offsetting

Carbon Offsetting

Carbon Offsetting

01/22/19

“How can you offset your carbon emissions without changing your own operations?”

 

Some things are extraordinarily difficult to decarbonize. Whether it be air travel or going 100% renewable when the grid itself is based 100% off carbon-emitting resources. But a workaround can be found through Carbon Offsetting. This involves making a purchase of renewable energy or planting a tree that offsets the amount of carbon used. This can be useful for designing policies around technologies whose emissions-free alternatives are still too nascent for commercial use.

 

Image credit coedenfach.files.wordpress.com

Energy Poverty

Energy Poverty

Energy Poverty

09/30/18

“What happens when a community lacks sufficient access to energy resources?”

 

In the developed world, it is hard to imagine not having access to electricity. But in many parts of this the developing world, this is a pure reality. When a community lacks sufficient access to energy, they are said to be in Energy Poverty. Energy poverty can affect all factors of human development, such as emergency medical situations not having enough power or children not being able to do homework at night because of lack of access to lighting.

 

Image credit whyelectricitymatters.com

Greywater

Greywater

Greywater

09/23/18

“How can we classify wastewater without fecal matter?”

 

Water is used in homes for all sorts of purposes. Whether it be for taking showers, flushing the toilet, or even washing clothes, water is apart of the equation. But can we reuse any of this water once we’re done with it? Well, as long as there are no biohazards such as feces in it, we can recycle it as Greywater for other purposes. Reusing Greywater is one of the most powerful actions a community can take to increase their sustainability.

Passive Buildings

Passive Buildings

Passive Buildings

09/22/18

“How can we make a building that uses no energy?”

 

Net zero energy usage in buildings can mean two things. Either all of the energy consumed by the building is met through self-generation or the building itself uses no energy! The latter is the foundational idea behind Passive Buildings. Passive buildings are edifices that obtain all of their heating and lighting through natural means. This means that such buildings have lots of large windows to let natural sunlight in, are superinsulated, and employ passive solar design. Therefore, these buildings can skip the need for complex lighting and HVAC. Passive buildings are amazing to experience and should be enjoyed by everyone in my opinion.

Solar Savings Fraction

Solar Savings Fraction

Solar Savings Fraction

08/18/18

“How can we measure what percentage of the energy to appliances is provided by solar?”

 

Household appliances automatically become greener when they are supplied by solar energy. But solar energy may not provide all of the energy to a system. So how can we quantify how much energy an appliance receives from solar? Well, we can simply represent this by the Solar Savings Fraction which gives the ratio of solar in the system. A solar fraction of 1.0 means that the entire system used solar energy while one of 0 means that no solar is present. Energy efficiency measures can increase this fraction by reducing the load required from non-renewable resources.

 

Solar Water Heating

Solar Water Heating

Solar Water Heating

08/15/18

“How can we warm our homes using solar energy?”

 

Solar panels are famous for providing clean and cheap energy. However, that’s not the only thing they can give. A typical solar panel will convert 14% of the energy it receives from the sun into electricity, while the rest is dissipated as heat. This extra heat can be used to heat incoming air which can then be funneled down a vent into an energy transfer module which not only warms a building’s water supply but also provides nice filtered air to the interior space. This system is known as Solar Water Heating and is one of the most exciting technologies in development.