Having a “green” home is something we are hearing more about as time progresses. Green homes better support the environment and use energy efficiently. It is important for us to consider how our homes are consuming energy, because it has a direct effect on our environment. Having a green home also tends to mean saving money when it comes to energy costs.
When building a home from scratch, it is easier to plan to have the home built in such a way that it supports and works with the environment, considering factors such as climate, wind patterns, and positioning of the home in regard to the sun. In areas where most of the land is developed, we are not able to start from scratch, so we can work with what we have through making alterations and adaptations. Below you will find information on how an existing home or building can be altered to use energy more efficiently, and therefore better support the environment.
One common way to transform a building to make it more “green,” would be to lessen the use of traditional energy sources such as coal and gas, and introduce more renewable energy sources to fuel your home such as wind, sun, and water. To learn in more detail about how to incorporate these renewable energy sources into your home or business, click here!
Stay tuned for more tips on how to make buildings more “green.”
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© 2018 Community Planner Anna Caffrey
credit: The Fuel Effect & Popular Mechanics
Photograph credit: Chris Newbert, Minden Pictures/National Geographic Creative
DISCUSSION: Sea turtles are charismatic species that fascinate and inspire curiosity in people from around the world. These oceanic reptiles are beloved by children and adults alike with their beautiful coloring and unique behaviors. They are often found in many forms of media, with funny pictures of them napping on sponges on the ocean floor, as hilarious helpers in children’s movies, and heart breaking images of unfortunate turtles caught in plastic garbage. These images capture the attention of people around the globe. Tourists flock to sea turtle breeding areas just to watch the hatchlings make their epic journey from nest to ocean, flapping past predators and obstacles on their way to the water’s edge. Tourists, locals, and researchers are able to see the obvious predators to sea turtle populations. Their eggs and hatchlings are prey for beach-going predators, they are known to often mistake garbage bags for food, and their slow swimming pace make them easy targets for boat strikes. They are also often caught in fishing gear, where they can drown if they cannot reach the surface for air.
Recently however, scientists are starting to take notice of another threat to sea turtle survival: temperature. Sea turtles are particularly interesting animals, once they lay eggs in nests underneath the sand on beaches, the temperature inside the nest determines the gender of the baby turtles inside. In fact, NOAA states that at nest temperatures of below 81° Fahrenheit, the baby turtles will be male, for 87° F and above the babies will be female. This slim range ensures that any minor changes to the sand environment is destined to change the turtle’s fate, where one nest normally includes both male and female hatchlings. In recent years, researchers have discovered the effect of rising sand temperatures in Australian beaches where many turtles come to nest. The broods of baby turtles are turning up mostly female, 99% female in Green Sea Turtles to be exact. This result has astonished scientists, worried that the rising global temperatures might induce this change permanently. Temperature changes globally are resulting in Pacific beaches warming, causing the feminization of green sea turtle populations on an alarming scale. (Jensen et al. 2018, Current Biology)
Female and male turtles can have large portions of oceans as habitats, so finding a mate can already be difficult. With the number of male sea turtles on the decline, finding a mate can easily become impossible. Therefore, a population of almost entirely female turtles cannot survive, as without males the populations of turtles will drastically decline into extinction. These gender skewed populations may not be a concern for populations right now, as Green Sea Turtles take around 25 years to mature to reproductive ages. However, many sea turtle populations are already on decline from human impacts on their habitats, such as overfishing and garbage dumping. This decline is expected to continue as long as global temperatures continue to rise at a high rate. The time it takes for turtle species to adapt to changes such as environmental temperatures is on a much longer time scale than the rate of global temperature rise, especially on the Pacific beaches the Green Sea Turtles use for nesting.
Green Sea Turtle species are being impacting by rising sand temperatures in the Pacific, and they are not alone. Some alligator and fish species also have temperature-dependent offspring genders, and they too are expected to show changes in gender ratios in their populations over the next years.
For more information on the Green Sea Turtles and other species impacted click here!
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© 2018 Biologist McKensie Daugherty
NOAA- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association
credit: National Geographic, Craig Welch
DISCUSSION: As we get deeper into the 21st Century, there is no debate that we are continuing to get further into a cutting-edge era of technology which is being defined by the onset of various state-of-the-art technologies. Two such of these technologies are wind and solar power which are helping to power the world towards a more sustainable future. Solar and wind power are more effective than nearly all fossil fuels due to the fact that solar and wind power rely on naturally-generated resources on Earth. The major benefit of solar power is the fact that solar power is usable in both climatologically cloudy as well as sunny regions around the world. Moreover, solar photo-voltaic cells also have the ability to store and save surplus solar energy for times at which allows for them to be more adaptable in regions including (but certainly not limited to) the Northeastern United States. This is a result of the fact that regions of the world such as the Northeastern United States which are more prone to frequent cloudy conditions would prevent solar panel facilities and privately-owned set-ups from working at maximum efficiency during the cloudier periods of a given year.
In switching gears to wind power technology, wind power is also an incredibly viable form of sustainable technology as society on planet Earth continues to evolve with time. This is chiefly due to the fact that as the Sun heats different parts of planet Earth unevenly on a routine basis, this induces differential pressure gradients (i.e., variable changes in local surface pressure over some horizontal and/or vertical distance) across different regions around the world. As a result of inducing differential pressure gradients (as explained above), this then induces differential wind speeds at locations around the world. Hence, whether it be over land or over the ocean, wind farms are typically a very effective form of consistent energy production throughout the course a given year at many locations around the world.
To learn more about the corresponding story courtesy of the New York Times, be sure to click here!
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© 2018 Meteorologist Jordan Rabinowitz