Air pollution comes in many forms, but the most evident and recognizable form is the smog that’s often suspended over large cities. Various types of pollution have environmental impacts, though. Some types are recognizable by the human eye, while others aren’t. Air pollution is any material that is put into the atmosphere that has harmful impacts on the environment and living things.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the primary pollutant contributing to climate change. Even though living organisms release CO2 on their own through breathing, it is a pollutant when it occurs as a result of planes, power plants, and cars because natural gas and gasoline are burnt in the process. In the past 150 years, many human actions have pushed such high amounts of CO2 into the air that the levels in the atmosphere are at record highs.
Many people don’t even realize how much they are contributing. It’s not unusual for a single American’s amount of CO2 added to the atmosphere every year to exceed 16 tons. The unsafe part about CO2 in the air is that it helps to hold warmth in the atmosphere, thus perpetuating climate change. Everyone has a carbon footprint – even those who are extremely eco-conscious. Fortunately, Stream Energy and other organizations give people and businesses the opportunity to offset a large portion of their carbon footprint. Many businesses find that purchasing offsets can be an ideal first step toward sustainability and attracting eco-minded customers.
How Stream’s Eco+ Add-on Offsets Some of Your Home’s Carbon Footprints
Stream Energy knows that a brighter future is achievable. It is essential for people to take responsibility for the safety and health of the planet, and Stream Energy has created an option through that allows customers to easily show respect to the natural resources that the earth offers. It may be surprising, but the electricity that we use daily makes up 30% of the greenhouse gas releases, which is even more than the industry and vehicle division.
Stream Energy makes it easy for residents of Texas to take part in the eco+ plan enhancement by simply turning on a switch. It’s especially helpful because homeowners don’t have to implement any complicated lifestyle adjustments to contribute to safeguarding the environment for many generations.
The addition of the eco+ service costs a minimal fee charged each month and can be added to any non-renewable energy plan. Once the customer opts in to eco+, additional renewable energy is placed onto the grid. When more renewable energy is put onto the grid, the planet’s freedom to leave dangerous fossil fuels behind increases even more.
An offset is a credit purchased or earned by participating in Stream’s eco+ program, which is then added to the renewable energy that’s used. Offsetting just 1,000 kWh monthly is equivalent to:
- saving 1,005 gallons of gas
- the amount of carbon that 231 trees absorb, which is equivalent to planting and growing a small forest
- blocking almost 20,000 pounds of CO2 from coming into the atmosphere
Just like that, a customer can easily make a noticeable difference every month. Eco+ will get customers 1,000 kWh of energy that offsets some or possibly even the entire household carbon footprint. Being able to offset even 1,000 kWh every month throughout the year can create a major difference because it’s more respectful to the planet to rely on energy from solar, hydro, and wind sources.
Affordable Cost of Renewable Energy
While renewable energy plants are an initial investment, the cost to keep them functioning is normally low (fuel typically doesn’t cost in clean energy facilities). This is one reason why the cost of renewable energy remains fairly steady. The good news is that prices are expected to decrease even more. Though the price of renewable energy has reduced over time, it’s likely that it will go down even further. For instance, from 2010 to 2017, the cost to have solar installed went down by 70%.
The cost of fossil fuel tends to change erratically, so it’s not uncommon to see major cost fluctuations. Before 2008, there was an intense surge in American coal costs because of the increasing global need and, when demands weren’t as high after 2008, the cost plummeted. The cost of natural gas has also varied significantly since 2000.
Consistency is one reason why Stream Energy has invested in renewables. These initiatives are timely and signify why this is such an urgent matter. Through eco+, Stream can benefit the environment, increase the quality of public health, stabilize the economy, implement a dependable technology, reduce the cost of renewables, provide access to endless energy, and finally begin stabilizing the planet for future generations.
Depending on renewable energy on a wide scale basis can actually help to reduce the cost of it. It will also reduce the overall need for coal and natural gas. It’s important to take note of companies like Stream Energy who are expanding their energy offerings and adding to the competition. Beginning to utilize renewable energy now can help consumers have an alternative ready when the cost of fossil fuels eventually goes up.
It’s Become Necessary to Reduce Climate Change on a Large Scale
Forward-thinking organizations are beginning to understand that the actions that humans take on Earth strain the atmosphere with emissions such as CO2, which can have negative impacts on the environment. Increasing the utilization of renewable energy would replace coal and carbon as energy origins, which is why implementing offset programs like the one Stream Energy offers can considerably help lower the country’s toxic emissions. In the United States, the electricity sector makes up roughly 29% of the contribution to negative environment changes, and the majority of these emissions are from fossil fuels like natural gas and coal.
However, the majority of sources for renewable energy have minimal negative environmental effects. This is true even when considering every stage of technology (development, manufacturing, functioning, and shutting down). Since the emissions accompanying renewable energy sources are insignificant, it seems clear which choice we should make when possible. It was not always possible for us to rely on renewable energy in any capacity. However, the technology is finally at a point where it is achievable, and should be recognized as the tremendous breakthrough that it is.
Though CO2 is the most common greenhouse gas, additional air pollutants, like methane, contribute to global warming as well. Various sources of energy make their own amount of toxins. Future references to the equivalent of CO2 will be noted as CO2e, which denotes how much CO2 can generate global warming.
It’s easier to see the contrast when you assess the numbers. The depiction can be seen in Table 1.
When generating electricity, burning coal produces 1.4 to 3.6 lbs. of carbon dioxide equivalent for each kilowatt per hour (CO2E/kWh), and substituting natural gas for electricity emits a lower concentration (only 0.6 to 2 lbs. per CO2E/kWh). Other low options include solar, coming in at 0.07 – 0.2 lbs., then geothermal, ranging from 0.1 – 0.2 lbs., and hydroelectric, varying from 0.1 – 0.5 lbs. per CO2E/kWh. Wind, however, is accountable for the lowest amount of pollution when generating electricity, as low as 0.02 and up to 0.04 lbs. of CO2E/kWh. For reference, Stream Energy provides renewable energy that comes from sources that don’t become diminished through use, like hydro, solar, and wind.
This is a movement that can work. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is a division of the U.S. Department of Energy. It recently performed a leading-edge study that investigated the practicality of using renewable sources to produce 80% of the electricity in the United States by the year 2050. The researchers recognized that the feat was ambitious but potentially viable. The study concluded that renewable energy lowered the pollutants in the electricity division by about 81%. We truly cannot discredit the power of renewables.
Resilient and Dependable Technology
Yet another benefit of renewable technology is that solar and wind structures are not as susceptible to widespread failure, due to the way that they are modular and distributed. Normally, even if some of the technology is malfunctioning, the others can still run. Modular structures are made up of many solar panels or wind turbines. Distributed structures are located in many places throughout a region, so threatening weather in one area won’t interrupt power for another area.
After Hurricane Sandy, renewable energy facilities in the Northeast did not experience much destruction. But Hurricane Sandy did mar the electric distribution and generation systems in the same areas that were run on fossil fuel, which caused millions to lose power.
An additional peril for non-renewable energy facilities is the inadequacy of water. Various natural gas, nuclear, and coal facilities need to use water in the cooling process. Unfortunately, extended phases of unusually hot weather and serious droughts can jeopardize the production of electricity. Water is not necessary for solar photovoltaic and wind facilities to function consistently, even in weather and other severe conditions that might close a power plant running on fossil fuel. As global warming becomes more of an issue in the future, heat waves, droughts, forceful storms, wildfires, and other disturbing events will create the need for both eco-friendly and durable technologies.
A massive and regularly replenished source of energy comes from heat generated from the earth, sunny skies, robust winds, plentiful vegetation, and quickly flowing water. Although a minimal portion of American electricity currently comes from these sources, it could be different soon. Research continues to demonstrate that renewable energy is capable of providing a majority of our electrical needs in the future, even when taking into account possible limitations.
Stream’s eco+ add-on came at the right time. The infrastructure of the electricity grid is a centralized industry that’s closely regulated, and it’s been this way since the 1950s. Over 80% of the access to renewable energy in the U.S. occurs through utilities, major corporations, or individual states. Stream is bridging the gap for consumers, and is finally helping to make renewable energy accessible to more people.
Enhanced Public Health Quality
Many severe medical concerns, like neurological impairment, cancer, heart attacks, breathing issues, and early death occur because of the current water and air pollution that’s being freely released by natural gas and coal plants. These toxins have vast long-term impacts on public health and life cycle expenses, reaching $74.6 billion annually, according to Harvard research.
These harmful health effects that come from water and air pollution do not take place in clean energy facilities. Hydroelectric, solar, and wind technology produce power with no correlated air toxic emissions. Biomass and geothermal equipment do discharge a small portion of toxins, but the total pollutants are far lower than plants run on natural gas and coal.
Also, solar and wind don’t need water to function, which means they don’t overuse supplies or pollute water reserves. Electricity production through fossil fuels has a major negative effect on the planet’s water supply; both drilling for natural gas and mining for coal can contaminate drinking water. All oil, gas, and coal thermal power plants expend and extract cooling water. Geothermal and biomass power facilities might also need water to cool with. River ecosystems can be disturbed by hydroelectric power facilities both downstream and upstream near the dam.
Stabilizing the planet for future generations is an essential task that we must begin to conquer. How will the actions we take today impact our children and their kids? What can we do to change our actions to try and leave them a safer world? The effects are too real and the pressures are too great.
An Involved Community is Critical
Selecting eco-friendly organizations like Stream Energy is one of the simplest and often most inexpensive ways to contribute to saving the planet. More organizations and customers want to support brands with socially mindful inclinations, because the more people that can help with various social problems affecting society today, the better. Philanthropy has already caught the eyes of millennials; they tend to choose businesses that make an effort to improve the environment.
There are never-ending ways to improve the planet, whether it’s using renewable sources of energy for electricity in your house or increasing the resources that are already available. Businesses like Stream Energy have the experience, skill, and passion to make the most out of the resources they’ve tapped, and are ready to help shift the energy industry into one that is vibrant and full of potential. It now becomes our responsibility to consider the eco-friendly products and studies to work toward a stronger future.
Next, it is important to expand renewable energy offerings, like Stream’s eco+, into more areas to create further shelter for the earth. Beyond technology, humankind is in desperate need of a mentality shift to begin thinking about the vital role of nature in life and business. If people continue acquiring and creating electricity with fossil fuels, the weather, oceans, and forests could eventually all collapse from devastation. Unmaintainable energy, mining, construction, fisheries, and agriculture are already causing never-before-seen habitat loss, biodiversity degradation, overexploitation, climate change, and pollution.
It is imperative that the focus changes to resolutions and technologies that can create change or causes that can be furthered. With powerful organizations advocating for and creating practical and innovative solutions, it’s almost impractical not to support them. This is just one example of how behavioral adjustments, with the help of technology, can guide us toward reviving the earth. The planet provides us with abundant resources, and technology can truly change the way that we track, measure, value, and initiate efforts toward recovering it.
Though negative effects are becoming more apparent in nature, the clear impacts on humans are also valid. From the impurity of the air to the lack of water and food, signs have never been more glaring. Even so, humankind is frequently not making the connection. In addition to the technological revolution, what the planet needs is a similarly unmatched cultural revolt to aim for a healthier relationship with the Earth.