You already know that switching to solar energy can have a big effect on the environment, but you might be wondering just how big an effect. After all, can one person or one family switching to solar energy for heat and electricity really make that much of a difference on the environment?
Yes! One person or one family can save 20,000 tons of greenhouse gas from polluting the environment just by using solar energy to heat your hot water and heat your home. 20,000 tons is a lot of greenhouse gases! And that’s just if one home just switches to solar energy. Imagine the decrease in greenhouse gases that could happen if 20,000 people per year switched to using solar energy to heat their hot water and heat their home. Add to that the effects of reducing energy consumption by 50% if you use solar energy for electricity and suddenly the impact on the environment is enormous.
In addition to reducing the amount of greenhouse gases that you put out switching to solar energy has a big impact on the environment because you will be reducing the amount of fossil fuels that you are using. Fossil fuels are very bad pollutants and contribute directly to poor air quality and other environmental problems.
The environment isn’t just hurt by people burning fossil fuels for energy. The environment is also hurt by what is necessary to get those fossil fuels. Enormous portions of the earth need to be dug up, processing plants and refineries built, and natural ecosystems destroyed all over the planet just to get to the fossil fuels that are buried in the earth. Most of the pristine wilderness is gone in any country that has natural deposits of fossil fuels because of the ever-growing demand that countries around the world have for fossil fuels.
When fossil fuels are processed there is a huge amount of solid waste, much of it toxic, that is left behind. This waste takes up space in landfills and then seeps into groundwater while the runoff flows to the waterways polluting the water and the soil. The carbon dioxide and other gases that are released poison the air for miles around the processing plants of these fossil fuels.
Solar energy might not solve all of the environmental problems that we face as a result of the overuse of fossil fuel but it’s a start. Just having a few thousand people per year switch to using solar energy to heat and power their homes will be a big step towards creating a safer, cleaner environment for everyone. And since the costs of buying and installing solar panes is dropping all the time soon it will be a lot more common for homes to use solar energy for their power needs.