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Tax Breaks for Energy Efficient Homes

By: Guest Contributor, Aby League

In a bid to address climate change, promoting sustainability efforts and replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy sources are viewed as the key solution.

According to the World Bank, urgent actions are needed as the world is set to be 4 degrees warmer by the end of the century, bringing in “cataclysmic changes” including extreme heat waves, rising sea-levels and declining global food stock.

To this end, among the actions undertaken across the world is the implementation of credits for renewable energy projects.

A renewable energy credit is any tax credit offered by governments as an incentive for the installation and operation of renewable energy systems like solar and wind power. Many countries already have this mechanism including the United States, Europe, China and Japan.

The tax credit commonly applies to businesses and organizations, however, recognizing the economical as well as environmental benefits that could be reaped from “green” systems, some governments, particularly the U.S., offer tax breaks for home improvements that make homes more energy efficient.

The United States is the world’s second largest energy consumer behind China, said the United Nations, which encourages the country to reduce its energy consumption and improve energy efficiency across all sectors including residential.

Residential energy tax credits

As part of the fiscal cliff deal stipulated on President Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, homeowners will receive Federal tax credits for eligible renewable and energy efficiency improvements.

Reinstated at early 2013, the law extended the residential energy tax credits until December 31 of this year.

To qualify for the Federal tax credit, homeowners must have qualifying energy-efficient properties in their main residences within the period of 2006 through 2013. They must have purchased energy-efficient equipment, which should remain installed for at least five years.

Under the ARRA, there two types of credits. First is the non-business energy property credit, which applies to those who make qualified green upgrades to their existing homes, including insulation, energy-efficient exterior windows and doors, furnaces and efficient heating and air-conditioning systems.

This credit is 10 percent of the cost of qualified energy-efficient improvements, excluding labor costs, up to a cap of $500 for fiscal years 2006 to 2013 combined. However, when homeowners already claimed more than $500 tax credit since 2006, they can no longer claim credit for 2011 though it does not affect the $1,500 credit limit set for 2009 and 2010 combined.

Another is the residential energy efficient property credit, which helps individual taxpayers pay for qualified residential alternative or renewable energy equipment like solar panels, solar-powered heaters, geothermal heat pumps, small wind systems and fuel cells.

Running through 2016, this type of credit is a percentage of the eligible properties and unlike non-business energy property credit, this includes labor costs and there is no cap on the amount of credit available except for fuel cell properties. Fuel cell properties are capped at $500 per kilowatt hour of power capacity.

To claim a tax credit, homeowners have to file an IRS residential energy credit form 5695 together with their federal income tax return for the year the improvements were made. The credit will be deducted from the total amount of tax that they have to pay, or it can be added to their tax refund.

Encouraging energy efficient investments

On the average, a U.S. energy department report shows about half of the energy consumed by American homes is expended on space conditioning. In particular, 30.7 percent is used for heating systems while 11.5 percent for cooling systems.

According to Ronnie Kweller, spokesperson of non-profit group Alliance to Save Energy, tax breaks would be a great move to help in encouraging consumers to think about energy saving investments for their homes.

While it is true that residential energy tax credits could motivate many consumers, a fraction of them knows about this policy. In different lists by consultancy firm Ernst and Young and publisher Kiplinger, credits for home improvements is identified as one of the most and commonly overlooked tax deductions.

It is a challenge for the government to increase awareness about incentives for energy-efficiency home retrofits so more householders will be motivated to purchase energy efficient products and opt for more energy efficient lifestyle. On the other hand, both Ernst and Young and Kiplinger point out that it is also taxpayers’ duty to keep updated of the tax developments, such as the tax breaks for home improvements, to utilize them to their advantage.

“When you invest in energy-efficient products, you may be saving money on both your energy bills and your tax return,” said the International Revenue Service in a news release.

Moreover, the A.S.E. noted making homes more energy-efficient significantly improves the economy as it saves hundreds of dollars; improves energy security as it decreases the overall demand for energy; preserves the environment as it reduces pollution; and uplifts quality of life as it makes it safer and more comfortable.

About the Author: Aby League is a qualitative researcher and a passionate writer. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology and is currently taking her Master’s while also balancing her time as a freelance writer and researcher.

Tax break image via Shutterstock.

by Editor

Thinking Green This Halloween

“This is Halloween, Everybody Make a Scene!”

- The Nightmare Before Christmas

 

With the National Retail Federation expecting Americans to spend 6.9 Billion dollars on Halloween this year, Halloween will most likely be a scene. Whether you dress up or decorate your lawn with monsters and ghouls, there are many ways to think green this Halloween.

Freecycle Your Costume

Most store bought costumes are  either poorly made or kids just grow tired with them after only one year. Instead of throwing costumes out and having to buy a brand new one each year instead attend a local Costume Swap Event or use a free swapping online service like Freecycle.org

Make a Costume Out of Thrift Shop Finds

If you listen to Macklemore you know that crazy items can be found real cheap at thrift shops.  Many people go to thrift shops especially for Halloween. Some thrift shops even have Halloween sections. In fact, according to Goodwill, sales are highest in October, up 10-15%.

One Word, Pillow Cases

Instead of buying “cute”, one time use candy collection bags for Trick-Or Treating, instead opt for the old fashioned pillow case. Not only is it reusable but it also stores a lot of candy.

Reuse Unwanted Candy

Instead of throwing unwanted candy in the trash check out the website CandyExperiments.com

Get The Most Out of Your Pumpkin

Pumpkins have more functions than just as a scary Jack-O-Lantern. You can use the insides for soup or pie and you can also roast the pumpkin seeds for a delicious snack. When your Jack-O-Lantern has outstayed it’s welcome, and begins to rot, you can add it to your compost.

Use Reusable Decorations or Ones Made From Recyclable Materials

Invest in decorations that can be reused every year instead of ones that go straight from your yard to the landfill.

Trick or Treat for a Cause

Whether going door to door for Unicef or a more local cause, Trick or Treating with a donations box is a great way for children to learn about fundraising and helping others.

Be A Cause

Use Halloween to raise awareness to an important environmental cause. Have fun, be Yosemite Park on it’s birthday or the last moose in North America!

Enjoy!

(Please feel free to include your own Halloween tips)

Halloween Photo via Shutterstock

 

 

by Maddie Perlman-Gabel

Should Wind Industry Get a Free Pass on Bird Deaths?

By: Guest Contributor, Paul Batistelli

Energy generation has never been without controversy, and green energy is proving to be no different. The environmental arguments against coal, natural gas, oil and nuclear power are well rehearsed. More recently, the wind power industry has been unable to silence critics of wind turbines’ impact on birds and bats. In March, the Wildlife Society Bulletin reported that about 888,000 bats and 573,000 birds are killed by wind farms annually, 80,000 of which are raptors such as hawks, falcons and eagles. This data may make us reconsider what “clean energy” means and whether this environmental harm outweighs the value of renewable energy.

Particular outrage has been caused by the deaths of bald and golden eagles. The exact number of deaths is unclear, as a paper produced by the Journal of Raptor Research in September stated that there were only about 85 eagle fatalities within the past five years, all of which occurred at 32 different wind farms in 10 states. This study has come under significant scrutiny because wind facilities voluntarily report eagle deaths, and may underestimate total deaths. Additionally, the study did not include data from the Altamont Pass Wind Farm in California, which according to NBC kills more than 60 eagles per year.

The killing of eagles is a felony, but wind energy companies have yet to face the legal prosecution that oil and electric companies have faced for similar incidents. The Obama administration has even proposed 30-year permits for wind companies to kill a set number of bald or golden eagles. Opponents of the wind power industry are outraged, and feel that because the government is subsidizing these renewable energy companies they are being given a pass for their infractions. In contrast, BP was fined $100 million for harming wildlife off the Gulf of Mexico during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in April 2010, PacifiCorp paid $10 million in 2009 for eagle deaths along its power lines and at its substations, and ExxonMobil paid a $600,000 fine for killing birds in Colorado.

 An endless debate

 

Whatever resolution is reached, the wind power industry isn’t going to disappear quietly. The industry produces emissions-free, renewable energy and has more than $25 billion in investments as well as a lot of taxpayer dollars. The National Energy Modeling System predicts that over the next 20 years installed wind capacity will reach 100,000 megawatts, enough to eliminate 69 million tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and save consumers $17.6 billion per year in energy costs.

Relieving the wind energy industry of its ecological responsibility could create precedent for other industries to demand similar arrangements in the future. Some believe removing penalties would remove incentive to better strategize where wind farms are being built, and because there is already controversy over how wind companies count bird deaths, the proposed changes could be ineffective. Others believe that more research into environmental impact of these wind farms should be required before loans and construction sites are agreed upon.

The obvious risk with implementing harsh penalties on a new industry is stunting its growth, and possibly causing permanent damage to a growing market and job creator. Wind power has the potential to significantly reduce our carbon emissions, but both rising C02 levels and the presence of wind turbines pose a threat to birds and bats. The government must weigh the potential gains toward energy efficiency against the potential risk to protected wildlife.

The unfortunate truth is that human activity has always been detrimental to local ecosystems. All parties with a vested interest in this issue need to find a reasonable compromise that does not sacrifice rare species or hurt our chances of a reduced carbon future.

Wind turbine image via Shutterstock.

Paul Batistelli freelances in the energy field for the promotion of a greener society and energy means. He works to raise awareness on ecological issues, energy dependency, and reducing carbon footprints. He currently resides in Dallas, TX with his lab, Copeland.

 

by Editor

10 Compelling Reasons to Opt for a Hybrid Electric Vehicle

By: Guest Contributor, Amanda Kostina

With charging stations for electric vehicles popping up much more frequently as initiatives to switch to greener forms of energy, the market for hybrid electric vehicles is also growing. They’re also more attractive options for consumers who are concerned about the amount of mileage that full electric vehicles can cover before needed to recharge. Today’s hybrid electric vehicles provide a “best of both worlds” alternative, with their heavily reduced dependence on gasoline and higher mileage capability. If you’re considering a new vehicle or are tired of juggling budget changes stemming from a volatile fuel market, these are ten of the reasons why you might want to give the hybrid electric vehicle some careful consideration.

  1. Because You Spend a Lot of Time Idling – If you live or work in a heavily populated area along major thoroughfares, you’re no stranger to streets that feelmorelike parking lots during peak traffic times. When you drive a hybrid electric vehicle, the automatic start/shutoff feature will turn the engine off when the car comes to a stop, restarting when you press the accelerator. You’re not wasting valuable energy when you’re stuck in a traffic jam or at a long light, making a very real difference in the amount of fuel you use.
  2. To Limit Resale Value Loss Due to Depreciation – When you already own a perfectly serviceable car, it’s not always easy to make a replacement purchase. Still, you stand a better chance of recouping at least some of your investment and limiting loss of value to depreciation when you unload your gas guzzler while it’s still relatively new and in good condition.
  3. Because Your Electricity Bill Won’t Suffer As Much As You Think – With a few minimal habit changes to boost your energy efficiency around the house, you may find that your electric bill doesn’t take much of a hike at all. Hybrid electric cars use less grid power than full electric vehicles, and both can be cheaper on a monthly basis when you take savings at the pump into account.
  4. To Take Advantage of Federal Tax Credits and Rebates – Because the American government is committed to pursuing cleaner energy alternatives and reducing dependence on foreign oil, there are a variety of tax incentives and rebates on the federal level for drivers of electric and hybrid electric vehicles. Some states may also have incentive programs in place, making the investment in a hybrid electric car even wiser.
  5. Because They’re More Affordable Than You Think – Because the idea of a car that runs on electricity still seems so futuristic to some people, many are under the misapprehension that they’re incredibly pricey. Actually, a hybrid electric from some automakers can come with a bit less sticker shock than you’re prepared for, so be sure to shop around before dismissing the HEV as an excessively expensive option.
  6. You Like to Drive Fast – If you’re not looking to save a bundle by purchasing a more economically priced hybrid electric and are put off by the idea of tooling around at a low speed, you’re not necessarily forced to sacrifice pick-up and handling in the name of ecological responsibility. Some models, like the high-end Tesla X1, can actually keep pace with big names like the Porche Carrera GT and the Lamborghini Murcielago.
  7. You Want to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint – The idea of running a car off of electricity while trying to limit your energy use may be a strange one to reconcile, but charging your hybrid electric vehicle may not cost as much as you think. Thinkprogress.org estimates that driving a fully electric vehicle creates half of the amount of carbon pollution for every mile driven than the average new car. Also, as renewable energy resources become more available, your HEV will only become cleaner as time goes on. As a traditional vehicle ages, it may actually create more emissions than it did when it was new.
  8. Because the Support Infrastructure is Expanding Rapidly – Not so long ago, purchasing a plug-in hybrid electric meant that you were almost certainly restricted to charging at home. Now, the infrastructure is expanding rapidly enough that you don’t have to rely on the gasoline in your tank if you’re far from home, because you’re more likely to come upon a public charging station.
  9. Because You Want to Save Time – If you live in a metropolitan area with ordinances requiring emissions testing, you know that the annual trip can be a real time-sink, especially if there’s a chance that your older vehicle won’t pass the test. Today’s hybrid electric vehicles are so efficient and clean that you may even be exempt from testing altogether, depending upon your local ordinances.
  10. Because “Fuel” Prices Are More Stable – While you will still need gasoline to power your vehicle, you’ll need so much less of it to get where you’re going that the wild fluctuations in prices may not be so much of a rollercoaster ride if you’re driving a hybrid electric.

As with any vehicle, it’s wise to do your homework before making a purchase so that you’re assured of finding the best fit for your household. Weigh the benefits and drawbacks of several models, including price point and feature availability, and you could be making a cleaner, greener commute each day.

Resources:
http://www.afdc.energy.gov/vehicles/electric_basics_hev.html
http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/hybridtech.shtml

Hybrid car image via Shutterstock.

Amanda Kostina is a green living enthusiast and a blogger from Whitefence.com. She generally writes about green lifestyles, eco-friendly businesses, and frugal living. Amanda is always passionate about making the world a better place for the generations ahead.

by Editor

Making the Most Out of Fallen Leaves

It may possibly be the most beautiful time of the year. The air is crisp, but not cold, and it’s impossible to go a day without eating an apple or imbibing apple cider. Most importantly the leaves on trees are beginning to change colors. Trees that were once ordinary in look are now bright yellows and reds. I am lucky enough to have a maple tree right outside my bedroom window that within a few days will be a brilliant red normally unseen in nature.

Unfortunately this sight quickly turns to mirage when the leaves outstay the trees welcome and blanket the ground. We are then stuck with the conundrum of what to do with the trees unwanted counterparts. Though the sound of leaves crunching under footsteps is beautiful in it’s own right eventually one feels the need to make a decision on what to do with them.

Below I have compiled a list of suggestions for leaf management:

1. Know Your Local Laws Relating to Yard Waste Disposal

Depending on where you live disposal rules vary. Many municipalities have separate collection for leaf litter and other landscape wastes. In some places that have separate programs for the collection of litter, like the state of Minnesota, it is illegal to mix yard waste with trash waste and you can get fined for putting your leaf trash out on the wrong day.  Check with your municipality to identify the natural waste management programs available in your area.

2. Do Not Burn Your Leaf Waste

Not only is leaf burning illegal in states like New York, it can also be unhealthy and bad for the environment.

3. Keep Your Sidewalks Clear

Even if you are not ready to manage your whole yard it is important to try and keep your sidewalks clean. When wet leaves can be very slippery and may serve as a fall risk.

4. Use Leaves as Mulch

Instead of raking and packaging your leaves for the trash or your local leaf management program reuse your leaves to spruce up your own lawn and garden for the spring.  If you only have light leaf fall the leaves can be mowed and left in place. Leaves contain 50-80% of the nutrients a plant extracts from the soil making them a great resource.

You can also use the leaves as mulch in your garden and flower beds. Shredded leaves can be used as a mulch covering or can be mixed into soil.

5. Add Leaves to Your Compost

Leaves can also be added to your compost pile. Large piles of leaves can take awhile to decompose so it is important to shred them first. If you do not have a compost pile already there are many videos and sites with simple instructions to starting one.

6. Get Crafty

Take a trip back to elementary school and make some fall inspired craft projects. Whether you make a wreath out of leaves or use them in a collage the options are as limitless as the leaves available in your yard.

Photo Credit: Maddie Perlman-Gabel

by Maddie Perlman-Gabel

Making Food Waste Recycling Easy & Convenient is Key

By: Guest Contributor, Namju Cho

There is no question that food waste is a monumental environmental problem and recycling food waste would make a significant dent in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The barrier to food waste recycling isn’t so much about people’s willingness to compost. The willingness is there but the key to composting’s success will be how easy and convenient governments will make it so that food waste recycling becomes as established as recycling paper.

Fact: Food waste was the second largest waste material in 2011, accounting for 15% of all waste behind paper and paperboard, which accounted for 28%, according to the EPA. Of those, however, over half of the paper/paperboard was recycled while a meager 1.6% of food waste was recycled.

So how could we make it happen? Why not turn to bright spots in our own backyard?

New York recently launched pilot food waste recycling programs on select sites and is following the lead of cities like San Francisco to combine convenience, incentives and slight nudges to prompt residents to recycle food waste. A recent survey by BioCycle, a magazine that promotes recycling, found that some municipalities are offering less frequent garbage collection to steer residents away from the trash bin, according to the New York Times. Others have offered free recycling pickup services as an incentive.

Behavior change, after all, is about removing barriers and motivators to adopt the behavior. Awareness alone isn’t enough to prompt people to act. Smokers know tobacco causes cancer but they still smoke. Bottom line is that it has to be easy.

The NYT article added that apartment buildings were the most challenging as residents don’t want to come all the way down to a garage or basement to dump their scraps. “…Space for bins must be found at least on some floors. Buildings must also devote staff to removing the waste every day, or at least keep it out of sight, to avoid putting off the squeamish,” the article stated.

Portland scaled back residential garbage pickup to once every two weeks and also launched a weekly compost pickup – and got results. The volume of garbage collected decreased to 58,300 tons in the 12-month period ending in October 2012 compared with 94,100 tons of garbage collected in the same period the previous year when the program launched. Moreover, collections of compostable material rose to 85,400 tons from 30,600 tons in the same period, a figure that includes yard waste, according to a Yale Environment360 report.

Are you sold yet? What have you found to be the most effective ways to make composting successful in your neighborhood?

*Photo courtesy of EPA.

Namju Cho is a former staff reporter for the Wall Street Journal who is currently a project manager at S. Groner Associates Inc, a Public Relations and Communications firm specializing in social marketing, media relations, online outreach and social media as it relates to issues facing communities and the environment. Cho can be reached at 562.597.0205 or ncho@sga-inc.net.

 

by Editor

Measuring Wealth in Footsteps

Many people consider the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as the best way to measure a country’s wealth. The GDP, which is the market value of goods and services produced within a country during a period of time, is said to be an indicator of a country’s standard of living. The problem is the GDP doesn’t create a full picture of a country’s wealth and assets because it leaves out a country’s ecological wealth.

A country with a growing GDP may have dwindling ecological wealth because many economic activities deplete natural resources. GDP see’s these economic activities solely as income rather than a liquidation of assets. Therefore, countries relying on the GDP will blindly spend their ecological resources without consideration putting.

In 2003 the Global Footprint Network (GFN) was established in response to this problem and  to help countries and businesses measure their impact and as a result live more sustainably. By helping countries discover their ecologic impact GFN can help countries better plan for a sustainable future.

To help countries understand their wealth/debts GFN created an “Ecological Footprint”. “Ecological Footprint” is a resource accounting tool that measures availability and consumption of resources. “Ecological Footprint” reveals how much water and land a population needs in order to produce resources and absorb waste, while also measuring the country’s biocapacity. By comparing the country’s footprint to its biocapacity a country can better understand what it needs to do in order to maintain natural wealth and improve economic resilience.

GFN uses statistics from the United Nations to come up with each “Ecological Footprint” and uses approximately 6,000 data points per country.

GFN works with a network of over 90 partners. Since 2003 11 countries have officially adopted GFN’s “Ecological Footprint”, including the Philippines, Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates, Costa Rica, and Switzerland.

The continued adoption of GFN’s “Ecological Footprint” will promote sustainability and help countries better manage their resources and wealth. There is more to wealth then just the GDP, wealth is also in nature, and until people understand that, we will continue to consume our resources at rates that can only lead to disaster.

Foot Print via Shutterstock

by Maddie Perlman-Gabel

Smart Meter Deployment Growing in America

By Guest Contributors: Arielle Nagel and Elizabeth Phillips

A new study shows that approximately 40 percent of American households are now equipped with a smart meter, up from the 33 percent recorded in 2012, according to a report by the Institute for Electrical Efficiency (IEE). In total, about 45 million homes across the nation already have the advanced device with even more installations expected in the next year.

Some states have passed laws requiring the installation of smart meters, while others leave the decision up to the local utilities. Regardless of what drives the implementation of the high-tech device, utility companies across the nation have embraced it.

For example, PECO, a Pennsylvania utility, has just been given permission to accelerate its smart meter deployments, finishing five years early. All of its 1.5 million customers will have smart meters by the end of 2013.

What is a smart meter?

 

A smart meter is a digitized version of the meters already deployed on most homes and businesses around the United States. Like all electricity meters, a smart meter measures energy consumption. However, this advanced meter takes the process a step further, providing benefits for both the utility and consumers.

Traditional meters require a utility to send a meter reader to your home each month to get an accurate reading of your energy consumption before it can send your bill.  But smart meters eliminate this step through direct communication. The advanced digital device can automatically send updates on your electricity consumption to your utility at least every hour.

Along the same lines, the direct communication allows smart meters to notify utilities almost immediately in the event of a power outage. This enables the utility to dispatch crews and get the electricity back on faster than ever.

Eventually, these smart meters will connect with the smart grid, a computerized version of the nation’s energy infrastructure. Though a smart grid is still about a decade away, the smart meter technology offers insight into how the computerized energy systems can benefit the nation.

Smart meters aren’t just an advantage to utilities. They also help consumers better manage their energy consumption. Each smart meter has a digital face that displays the energy consumption of a particular home. The information is updated just as often as it’s sent to the utility, so consumers can monitor their energy consumption and make changes to lower their energy bill.

CenterPoint Energy, a Texas utility, conducted a survey of 500 residential customers that had already received a smart meter to determine what their experience was like with the advanced technology. The survey found that 71 percent have even modified their energy use based on the real-time data they’ve collected from their smart meter.

Arielle Nagel and Elizabeth Phillips are both graduate students pursuing Master of Science degrees in Environmental Sustainability. They enjoy freelance writing that promotes eco-friendly living and a sustainable future. They welcome your feedback at elizabethphillipswrites@gmail.com and ariellenagel1214@gmail.com.

Meter image via Shutterstock.

by Editor

Thinking Green While Enjoying America’s Favorite Pastime

For the second Sunday in a row I’ve had to vacate the couch in order to make room for football. Football has been America’s most popular sport for 47 years, and whether you’re a Jets fan, a Patriots fan, or a Saints fan, Sunday is Football Day.

Though most people enjoy games from their couch, the act of tailgating is almost as big of a tradition as the game itself. With close to 100,000 people attending each game, that’s a lot of people tailgating. This means a lot of trash and possible environmental impact. Below is a list of tips I’ve acquired to reduce the impact of tailgating:

-Use reusable coolers, disposable ones made from Styrofoam can take up to a million years to decompose in landfills.

-Use reusable utensils, 40 Billion pieces are thrown away each year after only one use.

-Buy in bulk, bigger sizes often use less packaging.

-Consider buying locally grown and organic food items.

-Carpool or take advantage of game day shuttles.

-If you plan on using red solo cups for your beer or games Solo Cup Company has a line of cups made from recycled cups that are made from recycled PET.

-BBQ/Grill tips: If you have a charcoal grill opt for lump charcoal or all natural briquettes. A cleaner option is to use a propane grill, and even cleaner then that is an electric grill.

-Try using a solar powered outlet to power your small electronics like the radio.

-Make sure to recycle your trash after you are done tailgating. Be sure to bring separate bags/containers to separate your trash from recyclables.

For additional articles relating to the NFL and Sustainability:

http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/nfl-champion-sustainability

http://www.justmeans.com/blogs/greening-the-nfl-bringing-sustainability-to-stadiums

Tail gaiters via Shutterstock

by Maddie Perlman-Gabel

Water Condensers: Technology to Save the Planet?

By: Guest Contributor, Linda Bailey

Condensation is a natural occurrence of water forming due to temperature variations essentially pulling the water out of the atmosphere. The more humid an area is, the more water vapor that is available in the atmosphere to condense. In dry and arid locales, this technology might not work to its full potential. However, the development of such devices is sound and is being utilized in various areas around the world. Can this innovative science become a planet-wide technology that can save countless lives? What aspects of water condensation are considered for this technology?

1. The Vapor – Water vapor is emitted in a variety of ways. Every time you take a breath, use hot water, turn on the air conditioner, or water a field of crops vapor is created. If you pull out a can ofsoda pop from the refrigerator and water begins to form on the outside of the can, that is the vapor condensing due to the temperature difference within the room and the temperature of the aluminum the can is made of. This vapor is always around us and has the possibility to sustain life if it were tapped.

2. The Devices – The technology that is being developed continuously condense the vapor from the surrounding air to create clean drinking water. Filtration capabilities pull remaining toxins from the water as it is dispersed. This process has been a product of nature since water formed on this planet, and humankind is now able to duplicate the process in a more efficient and usable scale. Propositions of these devices range from the size of billboard and towers, to as small as a one liter apparatus such as the concept for the NJORD Water Creator.

3. Sustainability – As developers continue to scrutinize the capabilities of building water condensers, other technologies are added to the sustainability of the product. As most of these units utilize electricity, some innovators are adapting solar methods of powering them. Essentially, drinking water could be collected for free. At least, it would be free if these manufacturers donated them to areas in need. Otherwise, capitalism will surely surround the process of creating water – the very substance no human can live without.

4. Arid – Although the mere thought of using water condensers can excited a great many people, there is one absolute flaw to these devices. They require humidity. While most areas have a certain level of humidity year round, others are far less fortunate. However, this isn’t cause for too great of concern. Even the Sahara Desert can produce as much as 5-percent humidity.

5. Temporary Solution? – Regardless of our need for drinkable water, this could be viewed as nothing more than a temporary solution. Many areas are feeling the effects of continuous droughts as each year less and less water is available to communities. While water condensation can keep us alive a bit longer and help alleviate water restrictions in some form, humankind needs to pay more attention to what is causing the problem in the first place. Our destruction of various natural resources are continuing to reduce the amount of water that is available.

The need for water has sparked a great deal of interest in building condensers. In early 2013, a billboard was created in order to help the residents of Lima, Peru get access to drinkable water. As these projects continue, the technology behind them will only develop for greater efficiency. It may only be a matter of time before more condensers are created in order to provide a sustainable way for our survival. Are we simply delaying the inevitable, or will this buy humankind more time in order to remedy the initial problem?

Author Bio:

This post is contributed by Linda Bailey from housekeeping.org. She is a Texas-based writer who loves to write on the topics of housekeeping, green living, home décor, and more. She welcomes your comments which can be sent to b.lindahousekeeping @ gmail.com.

Soda can image via Shutterstock.

by Editor

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