Adoption of environment-friendly Green Technology in various fields is need-of-the-hour:
Performance of green products is steadily improving, prices are going down, and tax breaks and subsidies are further helping erode financial barriers. The following list addresses environmental priorities in four broad consumer categories – (a) home, (b) car, (c) lifestyle, and the (d) future; identifying issues that consumers will face and ways they can help reduce the greenhouse gases they produce, minimize the depletion of natural resources, and produce and conserve energy more efficiently.
(a) Home –
1. Think solar panels. In many cases, solar can save you money in the long run. Solar panels also are getting more attractive.
2. Or think solar water. If you don't want to completely outfit your house with solar panels, you can deploy solar technology on an appliance-by-appliance basis.
3. Let the utility control your thermostat. These monitoring-and-control systems can indeed trim your use of peak power and lead to lower bills.
4. Move or remodel. If you're panning to buy a home, homes made from more eco-friendly materials should be given priority.
5. Switch to eco-friendly clothes and furniture.
6. Use green cleaning supplies. This is an important issue, but also one that's relatively easy to address.
(b) Car –
7. Buy a hybrid. Although the tax breaks on these cars can rise and fall, hybrids continue to get good reviews from customers, and the cars get quite a good fuel economy (about 60 miles a gallon).
8. Contemplate buying an electric car. Electric cars aren't perfect. Most barely can go more than 120 miles before needing a recharge and they cost more than their gas-powered equivalents, but advocates say both factors will improve.
9. Think diesel. Bio-diesel made from vegetable oil produces far less carbon dioxide than regular diesel. It can be put straight into conventional diesel cars.
(c) Lifestyle –
10. Swap the lightbulbs. Only about 5 percent of the energy that goes into incandescent lightbulbs turns into light. The rest turns into heat. Fluorescent-bulb manufacturers and light-emitting diode (LED) bulb makers say their products can produce as much light with far less energy.
11. Go organic in the garden. Traditional fertilizers and pesticides are made out of petroleum products and are being phased out by legislation due to concerns that they're causing health problems. Many companies have devised bio-pesticides, which kill fungi and other material with bacteria that's not harmful to humans.
12. Cut down on vampire-power gadgets. PCs, DVD players, televisions (especially some flat-panel models), and other devices can consume a lot of power, even in sleep mode, so unplug when you can.
13. Look for the green products and services such as dry cleaners or personal computer etc.
14. Buy carbon offsets. These arrangements are designed to allow individuals and organizations to reduce emissions directly or by participating in programs that, through various energy-conservation techniques and emissions-trading initiatives, attempt to achieve a net reduction in greenhouse gases.
(d) The future - Not everything will be easy when it comes to alternative energy. Here's a quick list of some other emerging technologies and issues that will likely become more prominent in the future.
15. Consider clean coal. Lung disease, mining accidents, environmental poisoning, these are just some of the associations mankind have with coal. Coal may never be as clean as solar power, but advocates point out the infrastructure already exists to adopt cleaner coal. In any event, phasing out coal will take years, so cleaner coal-burning technologies may as well be adopted.
16. Second and third thoughts on genetically modified (GM) crops. Corn, soy, sugar and other crops that now get converted to ethanol or bio-diesel have one thing in common: they were originally bred for food. To boost fuel production, these crops will likely need to be genetically enhanced.
17. Give up some open space for solar power and wind power. Providing solar power on a broad scale will require dedicating lots of land to power generation. Similarly, wind power often means placing large fields of turbines in the ocean.
18. Going for nuclear power generation in a big way. The nuclear issue is back on the table and will be one of many topics that governments of most of the nations will address when it comes to energy security.
19. Recycled water on tap. Water shortages will likely be the first major impact humans feel when it comes to global warming.
20. High taxes. Developing green technologies and getting them into the market will require billions of dollars in grants, subsidies, and tax cuts that will often go to green-tech companies. Clean energy might require direct subsidies, but health care costs and the need for often-costly toxic-waste cleanups will decline.