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Alternative energy The trend toward homes that are powered by alternative energy sources, ranging from wind turbines and solar collection cells to hydrogen fuel cells and biomass gases, is one that needs to continue deep into the 21st century and beyond. We have great need of becoming more energy independent, and not having to rely on the supplying of fossil fuels from unstable nations who are often hostile to us and our interests. But even beyond this factor, we as individuals need to get “off the grid” and also stop having to be so reliant on government-lobbying giant oil corporations who, while they are not really involved in any covert conspiracy, nevertheless have a stranglehold on people when it comes to heating their homes (and if not through oil, then heat usually supplied by grid-driven electricity, another stranglehold).
A home’s carbon footprint consists of the sum of two parts, the primary
footprint and the secondary footprint, expressed in units of metric
tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent(CO2e). The primary carbon
footprint is a measure of the CO2 emissions from the direct consumption
of fossil fuels for energy consumption and transportation. The
secondary carbon footprint is the measure of indirect CO2 emissions
related to the manufacturing process of products used in the home and
eventual decomposition of products.
Examples of the parts that make up the secondary carbon footprint are the manufacturing of clothes, cars, and furnishings, as well as recreational activities by the inhabitants. The calculation of the carbon footprint becomes detailed when considering secondary factors. Secondary factors involve the home’s occupant lifestyle such as diet, foods are consumed (example organic vs. non organic), frequency of yearly air travel, commuting mileage to and from work, school, etc., use of public transportation, and number, type, and use of private vehicles.
factors also include fashion or type of clothes purchased and worn,
frequency of recycling, recreational activities and use of financial and
other services throughout a given year.
The frequency of airline flights in a year is considered due to the amount of fuel consumption and other energy usage and emissions generated by one flight.
A person that travels frequently may have a significantly bigger carbon footprint than someone who flies once a year for a vacation. Inevitably, the growth of distributed generation will lead to the restructuring of the retail electricity market and the generation, transmission and distribution infrastructure. The power providers may have to diversify their business to make up for revenues lost through household energy microgeneration. Carbon Free has been studying the ever-growing trend toward alternative energy-using homes in England and the West.
Carbon Free's analyses also show that energy companies themselves have jumped in on the game and seek to leverage microgeneration to their own advantage for opening up new markets for themselves.
Carbon Free cites the example of electricity companies (in the UK) reporting that they are seriously researching and developing ideas for new geothermal energy facilities, as these companies see geothermal
energy production as a highly profitable wave of the future.
Another conclusion of Carbon Free is that solar energy hot water heating technology is an efficient technology for reducing home water heating costs in the long run, although it is initially quite expensive to install. However, solar power is not yet cost-effective for corporations, as they require too much in the way of specialized plumbing to implement solar energy hot water heating.
Lastly, Carbon Free tells us that installing wind turbines is an efficient way of reducing home electricity costs, while also being more independent. However, again this is initially a very expensive thing to have installed, and companies would do well to begin slashing their prices on these devices or they could find themselves losing market share.