What Do Solar Panels Do?

Ultimately the simple answer to the question “what do solar panels do?” is to convert sunlight to energy that you can use in your home. But to understand how solar power can truly help you save money it is important to know a bit more about what solar panels do and how they do it.

Solar panels in and of themselves are only one part of a system that can convert the sun’s rays into usable power for your home. This power is only limited by the number of solar panels you have, the amount of sun your area gets, your system’s ability to store that power, and your ability to use it.

Solar panels are the most important component of your solar powered system; these panels are responsible for collecting the energy from the sun’s rays, with the use of many smaller solar cells within the panels. When considering the question “what do solar panels do?” think of the way that a sponge collects water as that is the function that these panels serve, the solar cells conducts the light into energy collecting it for use in your home.

The solar panels are placed on the roof of your home in such a way as to catch as much of the sun during the day as possible, preferably a south facing roof that has no trees or mountains to block the sun during any part of the day. While these are the ideal conditions, even a roof that gets 8 hours of sun a day can still provide a fair amount of energy to power part of your home.

Once solar panels collect the energy from the sun, an inverter transforms your energy from a direct current to an alternating current, making it useable to power your home. Once the energy has been converted to power that is usable, it can either be used directly or can be stored in deep cycle batteries for later use. These batteries are the difference between a home that can be independent of the grid and those that must still use power from the power company to power all of their needs.

Now that you know the answer to “what do solar panels do” you will be able to decide whether solar power is right for you and what type of system will be best for your circumstances.

Recycling Equipment

Everybody produces waste, from homes to large corporations and industrial plants. The waste created by industrial companies can far outweigh that which is produced in homes, and without the proper recycling equipment this waste can produce a serious waste management issue. More and more industrial corporations and retail giants are making the move to include recycling equipment in their operations to ensure they are properly recycling any waste they produce.

Recycling equipment can take on two roles within the manufacturing world, first it can reduce waste which is unarguably good for the environment, but also recycling certain materials can allow companies to put them back in the manufacturing cycle, a practice which can save money as well as help the environment by making the best use of their resources.

There are a number of different pieces of equipment in use in the manufacturing world by both the industrial sector as well as in the retail world. One of the most common pieces of equipment is a compactor which can be used to crush cardboard, plastic and metal into the smallest possible size for transport to a recycling facility. Balers will also be used to process cardboard and have it ready to go to the recycler or in the case of some manufacturing facilities put it back into production.

Many companies will have complete recycling facilities that also contain trash compactors, shredders and conveyors. It is to the benefit of any company that produces a high volume of waste to invest this money since the savings from reusing materials and what can be saved in waste disposal fees, can more than make up for the cost of having this equipment.

It is essential to the health of our planet that more corporations practice environmental responsibility when it comes to disposing of their waste, by acquiring the right recycling equipment and putting a recycling plan into place. Many companies have found that in addition to making the right choices for our planet, having a full recycling program has also improved their reputation with their customers and increased sales, making a recycling program a wise choice for every manufacturer and retailer to add to their company.

Solar Panel Advantages

No more than a decade or two ago, it was commonly understood that solar power was too expensive and not cost effective. Since then thanks to better technology and manufacturing methods, solar panel advantages far outweigh any disadvantages you may encounter in installing this alternative energy source in your home.

While it is still true that solar power is not for everyone, solar is becoming more and more efficient with every passing year making it easier for people to reap the benefits of a solar power system.

Solar Power is Now Cost Effective

For the average person, one of the biggest solar panel advantages is that it can save you big money on your power bills. A few years ago the scales tipped and now most people will recoup their investment in solar power within 5 years of having it install, by what they save in energy costs. For most people this is incentive enough to at least take a closer look at solar power.

Solar power is also now installed in a variety of ways which lower the costs of the overall installation. By having your system installed into the power company grid, you can save money on equipment you won’t need and in many cases get sizable rebates from your Power Company and state on your initial installation.

A Solar Power System Can Increase the Value of your Home

Some solar panel advantages are not well known or often overlooked; one of those advantages is the fact that installing solar power can significantly increase the value of your home. When taken in context with the money you save on your power bills, your overall investment can be realized several times over.

Solar power also makes it much easier to sell your home, should you decide to do so, even in a soft market. The fact that your home is equipped with solar can be a huge attraction and selling point, you should ever need to relocate or need to sell your home for any reason.

Most Importantly Solar is Earth Friendly

What can be better than an earth friendly practice that also saves you money and makes your home more valuable? Solar power is one of the most renewable forms of energy, with the almost limitless power source of the sun. Solar power does not cause any emissions either making it a clean energy source that will serve you up power for your home for many years to come.

Solar panel advantages far outweigh most disadvantages, and for those that have the space and enough available sun it can be an excellent way to put a huge bit in their power bills while at the same time do something for the environment.

Radioactive Pollution

With the tsunami in Japan and the resulting explosion at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, more and more people have become aware of the concerns and problems with radioactive pollution. Even for those of us in the US, the concern about contamination and its long term effects have left many of us asking questions such as how it affects us, what can we do about it, and what will the long term environmental effects be.

It is not the first time that radioactive pollution has been a concern in our world, but it is the first time that it has been so widely broadcast across the news and Internet, leaving concerned citizens everywhere uncertain about what they need to do. In addition to taking up the radiation through the air, we can also be exposed to it through the water and food supply. Radiation pollution in the long term at higher levels as is seen in Japan can cause serious health concerns such as cancer, birth defects and other serious health issues.

While the level of radioactive pollution that we in the US were exposed to by the Fukushima explosion was rather minimal, it is the long term effects on our bodies and our environment that we need to be concerned about. Radioactivity does not just dissipate but can stay in the soil and for that matter in the body for a very long time. While the low doses caused by the Japanese disaster are not enough to cause any harm in single doses what happens when we are repeatedly exposed to those doses day in and day out? This is the concern that many Americans share, and although most of us have been reassured that we are not in any danger, it never hurts to be proactive in our concerns about such a serious issue.

The best defense from radioactive pollution at the levels we have seen in the past couple of years is to eat a healthy diet and get plenty of rest and exercise. This will keep our immune systems in good repair and will help the liver process the radiation pollution as well as restore it to its original health and working order.

Laptop Recycling

If you have a laptop or two sitting in the top of your closet just collecting dust, you might want to consider the possibility of laptop recycling. This type of recycling can be a bit different than other types of recycling in that you are donating your laptop to benefit a good cause. In some cases you may be donating your laptop to help out a family or student who is in dire need of one, in other cases your laptop may find its way to an auction where it will benefit an organization that is in need of the cash donations the laptop will provide.

You can also use laptop recycling for old laptops which no longer work which can be equally as important as those you donate to a good cause. These laptops can either be used to make other laptops work, or they can be scavenge for the metals and other parts they contain rather than ending up in the landfill. For example if the screen on your lap top stopped working but the rest of the laptop is still good, those parts can be used to repair other laptops, keeping these laptops out of the landfills where they and their toxic chemicals do not belong.

You Can Even Make a Bit of Extra Cash on Laptop Recycling

In some cases you may be able to get a few extra dollars in cash for recycling your laptop. Similar to phones that are often worth some extra cash as well, recycling a laptop that still has some value, to the right place, can result in you sharing the profits. Your laptop does not even have to work, since the companies in these cases will be recycling the working parts from your old laptop.

You won’t need to worry about your data either; any reputable recycling company that is going to take or buy your old laptop from you will do a good job of wiping your personal and sensitive information.

Whether you want to help someone less fortunate, or just want to clean out your closet, laptop recycling is the responsible way of disposing of your old laptops, working or not. You can do something good for the environment and charities can benefit from your generosity.

Green Living

We have all heard the term green living, and many of us make the attempt to at least recycle and pay attention to the products we buy. But for all of that, the idea of living in a more sustainable world still seems like a distant concept that we really cannot make that big of a difference practicing and that is not going to affect us as much as the media says it will. This can make it easy for stressed, busy families to become complacent on the concept of green living, that is at least until they realize how close to home it really is.

When you think about green living it is important to adjust your perspective slightly and consider how your efforts or lack of efforts not only affect the environment around you but also how they will affect your family. Choosing to purchase green cleaning products for example is very good for the fish in the streams, and the birds in your backyard, but it is also better for your family as well.

What affects your environment and the environment around you is going to directly affect your family too. In some cases the relationship between the two is going to be clear, in other cases you may not see that connection right away, but it is there none the less.

For the family whose child has asthma, refusing to buy products from a manufacturer that does not engage in using environmentally friendly ingredients and does not institute green practices in their manufacturing can have the direct effect of encouraging the manufacturer to change its practices. Green practices which will pollute the air less and help your child with asthma to breathe easier.

Green living makes a difference to all of us now in the present, not just in some future distant event that we may never see. It means that your home will be cleaner and less toxic because you choose a green carpet manufacturer and you will be able to let your toddler down on the floor after cleaning because you know the cleaning chemicals you used will not make them sick, and you will be lay them down to bed at night and rest easy knowing the mattress you laid them down on is not full of toxic chemicals.

It can be easy to distance ourselves from a problem that does not seem so real or immediate; in fact it is human nature to do so, because it protects us from the worry of an uncertain future. But one does not need to look too far to find plenty of ways that green living can have an immediate impact not just on our health but on the health of those around us.

Solar Power Facts

There is a lot of information about solar power on the Internet, some of it in favor of and some critical of this important green resource. Before you make the decision to go with solar power you should take the time to be read solar power facts that can help you make an informed decision about whether it is the right choice for you.

There are many important solar power facts that can influence how and if you use solar power for your home. You will need to balance the positive with the negative to decide if solar power has the advantages you are looking for in an energy source.

Solar Power is Renewable – Perhaps one of the most attractive solar power facts is that it is not going anywhere. The sun is a near limitless energy source that can, when properly harnessed, offer you part or all of the power you need.

Solar Power is 100% Clean – Solar power comes with no carbon foot print other than the manufacture of the panels that are used to harness its energy. Solar power produces no carbon dioxide, no greenhouse gasses and has no emissions.

Solar Power is Flexible in its Use – You can use solar power in a variety of ways, it can be hooked into your existing electricity and be used to lower your power bills, or you can use solar power as a way to give off of the grid completely provided you have enough sun available and the proper equipment to do so. You can also set solar power up to power individual appliance such as your hot water heater, swimming pool and attic fans as well as for indoor and outdoor lights and much more.

Solar Power Can be Expensive – One of the biggest drawbacks about solar power is its cost, because the technology is relatively new and some of the parts are somewhat expensive it is a serious investment especially for those that are interested in creating all of their own power. However the good news is that as every year goes by solar power is becoming more and more affordable, putting it in the reach of many homeowners that could not previously afford it.

Not Everyone Can Use Solar Power Efficiently – To use solar power you will need to have a roof space that is as southward facing as possible and is unobstructed by trees. Also keep in mind that the farther north you live, the less efficient your solar power will be. This does not mean you cannot take advantage of solar power, simply that you may find it will cost more money for less power. Many of those in this situation opt for smaller systems to power individual appliances simply to save a bit of money and contribute to a greener world.

Toner Cartridge Recycling

All it takes is one look at the statistics on the number of cartridges in our landfills to realize how important toner cartridge recycling is. In the US alone we throw away 75,000 tons of ink cartridges every year, this adds up to 300 million ink cartridges in our landfills. To make matters worse these cartridges are made from an engineering grade polymer plastic, this type of plastic can take over 1000 years to decompose in a landfill. With that in mind, toner and ink cartridges that are recycled will not end up in landfills where they will contribute to our greenhouse gas emissions.

Add this to the fact that toner cartridge recycling can reduce the amount of manufacturing energy required to produce a toner cartridge and eliminates the need to use more oil in producing a ready to use toner cartridge. With the recycling of all ink cartridges currently 40,000 tons of plastic and metal do not end up in the landfill and millions of gallons of oil are not used to produce new cartridges.

Toner cartridge recycling is very simple, you can find plenty of places to drop off your cartridges, such as business supply stores and various organizations that collect these cartridges and use them to raise money for their particular causes. Keep in mind that your cartridges must be OEM or made by the original manufacturer, cartridges that have been recycled once and those that are made by a third party are not accepted for recycling. This is because only OEM cartridges can be guaranteed to create high quality recycled cartridges for resale.

You can also get prepaid shipping and packaging materials sent to you for toner cartridge recycling from some companies. This makes recycling easy since all you will need to do is to pop your toner cartridge into the envelope and put it in the mail. Recycling your cartridges is good for the environment, is easy to do and offers you one small way you can do your part in the effort to keep our earth a healthier place to be.

Sustainable Construction

When getting ready to build a new home or commercial building one of the questions you may confront is how green you want your structure to be. Sustainable construction is a concept that is starting to gain in popularity and is quickly becoming a more sought after option when building any new structure. While the obvious reason for this is that a sustainable building is a more earth friendly choice and that it is more energy efficient, the other reason why you should consider these building methods is that they offer a less toxic environment for your employees and customers or in which to raise your family.

When exploring the idea of sustainable construction it is important to keep in mind that there are two different types of meanings for this word. For some building a sustainable building is all about energy efficiency, while this is an important part of sustainability, to have a truly sustainable structure, thought must also be given to the materials that are used in its construction.

Sustainable construction should offer the opportunity to go with natural, renewable or recycled materials and these materials should be made in a way that does not contain toxic materials that can be harmful to your family or the environment. When the object is to lessen your carbon foot print then all aspects of sustainability must be examined carefully.

Building with natural materials might seem like an easy thing to do, but when you consider the renew ability of those materials it is an entirely different matter. You should keep in mind that just because a material is natural does not mean that it is also renewable. Fortunately the use of materials such as bamboo is allowing for beautiful, quality construction that is highly renewable and sustainable. You can now get bamboo for everything from the plywood used to build your building to the flooring, cabinetry and molding.

Also take into consideration the insulation that is used, not all insulation is earth friendly but more and more companies are starting to offer non-toxic, renewable resources for insulating your home. The trick with insulation is that it must make your home as energy efficient as possible while at the same time be made from materials which are renewable.

Sustainable construction is an important consideration when building any structure, whether it be your home or a commercial building. There are many companies that are now specializing in these construction methods and can help you decide what methods are best for meeting the goals you have set for sustainability.

Going Green

The term going green has been thrown about the Internet, the TV, in magazine and newspapers, so much so that the idea of going green can seem overwhelming to the average person. It can help to understand just what it means to go green, as well as take a look at the ways you can make a difference. It is easier than you think to make a few small changes in your lifestyle, changes which can add up to a big difference for the environment.

Going green is all about making intelligent choices about the purchases we make, how we use our resources and what we do with those resources when we are done with them. It is important consider how those choices affect the earth around us and whether we are contributing to the problem of pollution, global warming and the destruction of our resources or we are being responsible stewards of the resources we use.

Making responsible choices about the purchase we make, starts with asking ourselves if we really need an item, whether we have an item already that can be used and if the item we are buying is the best choice for our environment. Many times we will find that we do not need what we plan to purchase or that we have something else that will work just fine and only needs to be fixed up. Should we choose to make a purchase, we again need to ask ourselves, is the item we are purchasing good for the environment, is it made from non-toxic and sustainable materials and is the packaging it is in made from recycled earth friendly materials?

We are the stewards of our world, and when we vote with our money, companies listen and adapt to the demands of their customers. Choosing products that are earth friendly will lead to more and more companies making earth friendly products; this is one of the biggest changes you can participate in.

Energy efficiency is also an important part of going green, from ensuring your home is properly insulated to use the least amount of heating and cooling, to installing energy efficient appliances that will use the least amount of resources. There are many alternatives for generating power as well as heating and cooling your home which can reduce your costs by half or more and vastly reduce your carbon imprint.

Going green also means practicing recycling, which can range from buying used products and giving them a new life, to attempting to fix the products you already have before you buy new. Recycling also means not filling up the landfill with your waste, learn to recycle, compost and rehome your items when appropriate, reducing your waste to the absolute minimum.

Choose a place to start, such as making the effort to recycle your plastic, aluminum and paper or recycling your ink cartridges. After a time it will be like second nature and you will be ready to take on another task in your efforts to go green. You do not need to spend a lot of money on fancy products nor do you need to spend hours of your day, every little bit makes a difference and after a while these habits will become so ingrained you won’t even think about it anymore.