The Future of Heating in Housing Developments: Shared Ground Arrays

GSHP

In 2025 gas boilers will be banned from installation in new build properties in favour of low-carbon heating technologies such as ground source heat pumps. This piece of legislation marks a significant move by the UK government as we push forward to reach carbon net zero targets by 2050.

The government target for the number of new homes to be built each year is 300,000 – to install heat pumps in this many properties is a 20-fold increase from today’s current number of installations which stands at around 30,000 a year. So, the question is, how can the heat pump industry achieve this rate of growth in the space of just a few years?

One solution being proposed is Shared Ground Arrays, a method of installation already being rolled out by ground source heat pump specialists Thermal Earth.

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What are shared ground arrays?

Ground arrays or ground collectors are a network of pipes installed underground which collect energy from the earth and circulate it to a heat pump where the temperature is raised and then distributed to radiators, underfloor heating and hot water cylinders to provide heating and hot water in the home. Typically, one property has its own ground array which is sized specifically to collect enough energy for the heat demand of that particular property.

Shared ground arrays are the same principle however two or more properties can be connected to one ground array which reduces the amount of groundwork required, speeding up installation time.

Shared ground arrays are installed vertically in boreholes, the number of boreholes needed and their depth will depend on the amount of properties being connected and their required heat load. As an example one borehole at around 100 metres deep can provide enough energy for two 2 bedroom apartments.

Each property connected to a shared ground array has its own heat pump installed (typically placed in a garage, utility room, airing cupboard or even under the stairs) so that homeowners or tenants can set their preferred temperatures, heating schedules and also select an electricity tariff to power their heat pump which offers the best value for them.  

Shared ground arrays will be a particularly effective solution for housing developments as properties are normally built to the same size and specification making it easier to calculate the required size of each ground collector.  As the drilling team are often the first on-site, before any houses are constructed, it also means there is minimal disruption.

What the benefits of shared ground arrays?

Shared ground arrays provide many advantages, particularly for new build properties. These include:

  • A long lifespan of 100+ years
  • Less groundwork required
  • Reduced installation time
  • Decreased costs associated with ground works
  • Highly efficient source of energy – ground source heat pumps produce around 3-4kWh of heat for every 1kW of electricity which is an efficiency of 300-400%
  • Lower energy bills – As ground source heat pumps are so efficient, residents living in the properties can benefit from lower energy bills
  • Cooling functionality – Ground source heat pumps can operate in reverse and provide Passive or Active cooling in warmer months, increasing comfort levels for residents
  • Clean and carbon free – Heat pumps are powered by electricity and do not produce any on-site carbon. When a renewable electricity provider is used, the system will be 100% carbon-free
  • Little maintenance required

Who will the shared ground arrays belong to?

In most cases it’s likely that ownership will be retained by the property development company. This gives the opportunity for the cost of installation to be offset by charging a monthly utility tariff to those residing in the connected properties. Developers such as Persimmon already charge a service fee to residents for the upkeep and maintenance of general areas of a development so a ground array tariff could be incorporated into this. Once the initial outlay has been recouped, this could become a new long-term revenue stream for property developers which requires little to no maintenance.

It’s also possible that the ground arrays could be sold to a utility management company who will maintain the system and charge residents a small monthly tariff. 

How to Make Fish Farming More Sustainable

Sustainable Fish Farming

According to a recommendation by the American Heart Association, people are encouraged to eat fish at least twice a week.  Fish is considered to be low in saturated fat, high in protein and rich in omega 3 fatty acids. The global consumption of fish has so far increased and currently, about a half of the seafood that’s consumed globally is produced through fish farming. 

According to a projection by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO); fish farming will be one of the fastest ways of producing fish for global consumption. By 2030, fish farming will be responsible for about two thirds of the fish that we consume. One of the most common types of aquaculture is that which entails farming in cages or nets, and pens that have been anchored at the seabed. 

FAO estimates that about 600 aquatic species are produced globally in diverse aquaculture systems through use of brackish water, saltwater, and freshwater. China is one of the largest exporters of fish globally and the biggest aquaculture producer. About 88 percent of aquaculture is practiced in Asia. Fish farming has had a long reputation of not being sustainable as it takes almost 3 tons of forage fish to feed and produce about a ton of salmon. 

Here are some of the things to be done if fish farming is to be more sustainable;

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Awareness of the environmental risks of marine aquaculture

In order to practice sustainable fish farming; there should be an awareness of the environmental risks that are associated with marine aquaculture. When practicing marine aquaculture; it’s important to note that leftover foods and fish waste that spills out of the nets right into the ocean and in turn cause nutrient pollution. The spillage may in turn lead to oxygen depletion in the sea or oceans and can in turn lead to the death of aquatic creatures.

In addition, the antibiotics and pesticides that are normally used in farmed fish can affect human health and other marine life. When fish are crowded together in pens and nets; they are more susceptible to stress and that creates an environment for diseases to spread quite fast even to reach the wild fish. The most sustainable method of farming fish is to consider engaging in land-based aquaculture. Farming fish in closed systems can help minimize the spread of disease and also eliminate fish escapes. 

Fish farming has to some extent been responsible for the destruction of mangroves. As you may know, mangroves help with various ecological functions including being a habitat for diverse species. Mangroves also prevent soil erosion and provide protection from storms.

Use of New Kinds of Feed

The environmental exploitation of forage fish for feed alongside the high prices for feed makes it difficult for fish farming to be sustainable. There should be continued research into identifying alternative sources of fish meal or coming up with ways to make feeds sustainable. Soybeans and plant waste are some of the alternatives being explored. 

Get more information on sustainable ways of fish farming that you can adopt by visiting https://ecolonomics.org/. Become part of the community and engage with a team of farmers from diverse fields of interest.

The Future Of Solar Power And Other Renewable Energy

SunPower_PV

With an insatiable demand, many natural energy sources are dwindling at an alarming rate. While a number of experts are racing against the clock to find a better solution, more and more people are opting for solar power and other renewable sources of energy. And for today’s piece, we will get into these energy sources and see what the future holds for them.

Renewable Energy: What Is It?

Any form of energy that generates and replenishes through natural means is known as renewable energy. These energy sources include wind, waves, sunlight, geothermal heat, water, and so on. Although they occur via natural means, the generation of these energy sources is limited. And at most times, it would depend on some determinants, like weather, timing, and man-made factors.

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The Types Of Renewable Energy

Solar Energy

Photo via creative commons

One of the most utilized naturally-occurring energy sources, solar energy works best for many purposes. Humans use it to set and dry numerous kinds of food, keep away from being cold, dry cold, and grow various yields and crops. And with today’s technology, we use a solar generator to produce electricity for commercial, industrial, and residential settings.

Wind Energy

Photo by janie.hernandez55

A study shows that wind energy is among the cheapest sources of natural power. And utilizing wind has been around for thousands of years, just like solar and hydro energy. And thankfully, we don’t have to rely on old-fashioned windmills so we can use wind energy. Windmills and other harnessing devices can do it on our behalf.

Biomass

Photo courtesy of Karuna Bhavan

Biomass energy is a source that comes in many forms – wood waste, biodiesel, landfill gas, wood, and even ethanol. Biomass is quite versatile, able to power up vehicles, create electricity for buildings, and heat many facilities. We have been using biomass for a long time, and its usage comes as a controversial issue.

Hydroelectric Power

Photo by grendelkhan

Another quick-replenishing source, hydroelectric power, primarily comes from bodies of fast-moving water. A device or structure converts the water motion into usable electricity that manufacturers will transfer to houses and buildings.

Geothermal Energy

Photo courtesy of mypubliclands

Geothermal energy comes from deep inside the earth in the form of heat. We use it for heating and cooking functions. Geothermal energy is available any day and time of the week. However, using it comes with some side effects that can harm people.

The Future Solar Power And Other Renewable Energy

More and more entities and people in places around the globe are becoming more environmentally conscious, pursuing the continued usage of renewable energy. Enterprises and companies are switching to renewable energy as an alternative source of power – this move reduces the negative impact that the environment receives.

Now, building structures and products that utilize renewable energy comes in a bit expensive, but the investment is advantageous, especially in the long run. And perhaps in the future, renewable energy might replace fossil fuels and other traditional, environment-harming energy sources.

 

How Can I Help?

It is not just big companies and enterprises that have the capability to make a change when it comes to using renewable energy. As an average home or commercial owner, you can create an impact as well. Having a solar generator, a device that can produce green technology and renewable sources of energy at home can be as easy as pie.

They have guides and articles that highlight and assist you in how you can convert your home into using renewable energy. As renewable energy sources allow you to save on energy and cash, having it in your households and commercial settings is a big win-win.

What Advantages Does Renewable Energy Have?

Here are some of the numerous benefits of renewable energy sources.

●     Independence

You won’t have to rely on big companies to provide you with power and electricity. Installing solar panels and small windmills allows you to become independent of localized or imported energy.

●     Savings

Operating renewable energy devices and structures is not costly. So, it’s not just energy that you will get to save. In addition, you get to save on precious cash. You don’t have to pay for fuel for your car, electricity for your home, or power for your devices.

●     Limitless

If you are worried about running out of fossil fuels, you won’t sweat it with renewable energy. There is no limit to the usage of wind, sunlight, and water. So, you can go ahead and take it easy, as these sources won’t run out anytime soon.

●     A New Experience

Having renewable sources will be a different and new experience for you, your friends, and your loved ones. Your lifestyle might tend to change for the better, as having these environmentally-friendly energy sources lets you make better choices and decisions for daily life.

●     Harmless

Fossil fuels have a lot of negative effects on the environment. However, that is not the case for renewable energy sources. Using solar panels, wind turbines, and mills costs less energy. That is less stress for the environment.

 

The Future Looks Bright

To conclude, you may want to start saying your farewells to harmful energy sources. With more and more people and industries looking for better alternatives to fossil fuels, it is a green light for solar power and other forms of renewable energy. Sure, it still needs some work, but, once policies and laws give renewable energy the go signal, the world will be a cleaner and better place for all of us.

Article written by Kirsten Chapple

What are solar cell windows and are they really something to watch out for?

solar windows

We live in an ever-changing world of technology in which the things that we purchase often become obsolete before we know it. We have a throwaway culture that means we’re okay with wastage and we’re happy to invest in a new phone over and over again even if we don’t need one. But where is that getting us..? We’ve been fighting for change but doing so using tech that contributes to the issues we’re trying to eradicate. With that in mind, technology is evolving and becoming more than tools that we use on a daily basis, it’s becoming a passive resource that we take advantage of without even thinking. Solar cell windows are a great example of this change and it’s become even more apparent that they could become more than just a gimmick or the topics of an article.

What are solar cell windows?

Solar cell windows refer to pieces of glass that have been designed to contain technology capable of generating electricity just as a solar panel would, however, just as a traditional window is, these solar cell windows are transparent. While that might not sound plausible and seem slightly farfetched, it’s a really exciting endeavour that could help to change the world!

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How they work

The way that the solar cell windows work is rather impressive. They, of course, allow light to pass through them but in doing so they’re also converting the sunlight into electricity for your home or building to use. The solar cell window premise at first sounds tricky, you need to absorb the sunlight to convert it into electricity but also allow sunlight through the window at the same time, so how does that work? Surely it can’t? And that’s an understandable question but there is an explanation.

A traditional solar panel will be made up of photovoltaic cells (these are made of semiconductor materials that are designed to absorb the sunlight. More accurately they absorb the photons that the sun emits) and these are responsible for absorbing sunlight and turning it into electricity for you to use. The way that a solar cell window works is very similar, but the technology is a little more advanced due to there being a need to let visible sunlight through the window and into your home, office, or even a car. Instead, a solar cell window will be able to harness just a portion of the solar spectrum that is invisible to the naked eye and then allow the visible light to pass through the window and illuminate whatever is on the other side. This is done using a transparent luminescent solar concentrator or TLSC for short. TLSC is made of organic salts that have been designed to absorb only specific wavelengths that we can’t see.

Are they worth it? 

One of the biggest issues people have with solar panels is that they’re big, ugly, and very expensive. So, the question remains; should we be on the lookout for solar cell windows in the mainstream market? The answer to that isn’t exactly simple and here’s why:

Style

As mentioned, one of the biggest issues that people have with that they’re big and not too pleasant to look at. The idea is that solar cell windows can solve this issue quite easily. You won’t have to place a big panel on your roof or the walls of your property, instead, they‘ll look like a set of windows, just like any other. 

This helps to maintain the style that you’re going for with your property which is something that some people find to be a priority. 

Efficiency 

Here’s where the trouble arises… These kinds of solar cells aren’t as effective as those of a traditional panel. This is down to the light that they’re letting pass through, if they could absorb the entirety of the light just as a normal solar panel, they’d be more efficient than they are. However, their purpose means that they’re less efficient than a normal panel.

The team developing this technology have stipulated that as these become a mainstream product and are being mass-produced, they should deliver an efficiency of almost 10% (9.8%). While you might think that this isn’t anything special because solar panels will range between 15-20%, but this version of solar cell windows holds the highest rating for transparent solar efficiency. But the most important thing is that this technology is invaluable as progression within the energy industry.

To realise its potential, imagine you’re standing in London or New York City and you’re looking up at all of the skyscrapers and buildings that have floor to ceiling windows on each floor. Now compare the efficiency of one of those buildings compared to an equivalent building with only a few solar panels on the roof. The former building will be much more efficient when compared to the latter which is why this is such an important breakthrough.

Cost 

The cost of these solar cell windows is something that will likely be a deciding factor. In the first phase of creating them, you’re likely to be spending a lot. However, as with most things, as time goes on the price is likely to decrease and they’ll become more affordable.

Unfortunately, as of yet, we’ve not been able to find an accurate estimate of how much these windows are likely to cost in the future but it’s not unreasonable to assume that they’ll cost considerably more than a traditional solar panel. This is because you’ll be purchasing the added benefit of not having to have solar panels on your roof. 

So, are solar cell windows something that we can look forward to in the near future? I suppose we’ll have to eagerly wait and see what happens. If we had to give you a rough estimate, I’d say that you’re likely to be waiting more than 5 years before we start to see them being utilised properly by cities. This is because many will be waiting for them to reduce in cost so that they can afford to make this kind of upgrade. The cost associated with having to not only replace all of the windows in your building but also invest in the technology and purchase solar cell windows is likely to be huge. However, after the technology has progressed and become cheaper to create, I do think that people will be turning to the tech for its properties when updating their homes or building a new home. The same goes for developers of both commercial and domestic buildings; I do think that they’ll end up utilising solar cell windows in new build homes. 

BIO

Rob Gavin, Aluminium Bending Specialists Ltdhttps://www.absltd.co.uk 

Rob has been running ABS Ltd for some time now and he’s managed to change the industry for the better. Being the UK’s leading aluminium bending specialists, ABS Ltd has been able to create bespoke windows for both domestic and commercial buildings giving them leading insight into specialist designs, premium styles and the latest in renewable window technology.

The Cost Benefits of Cloud Computing in Renewable Energy Systems

cloud renewable energy

Renewable energy is the resource the world needs to move toward a more sustainable, clean future. While green power sources like solar and wind don’t produce any carbon dioxide emissions directly, they do come with high energy demands. Data centers are necessary to manage and distribute them properly, and cloud computing can curb the costs of those demands.

Modern renewable energy systems run on data to understand who needs energy and how much they require throughout the year. With these insights, experts can properly store and distribute electricity. However, before they can do so, they need a place to hold the vast amount of data.

Data centers require cooling, processing and lightning costs, which can add up. However using the cloud for renewable energy cuts down on those needs and expenses.

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Benefits of Cloud Computing

Sustainability is the goal, and it plays a central role in renewable energy and cloud computing. Whether it’s completely reducing fossil fuel usage and greenhouse gas emissions or managing power consumption more efficiently, the goal is the same. Thus, it’s important to combine the two sectors.

An International Data Corp. (IDC) study shows that using cloud computing could eliminate 1 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide through 2024. That’s because cloud computing reduces reliance on energy-heavy practices. Transferring data off-site is faster than standard computing methods. Cloud systems also keep equipment from idling for prolonged periods.

This fast connectivity and smart usage of energy add up. As the IDC states, cloud-based renewable energy computing could ultimately end up reducing consumption at data centers. Green power companies and services would then be making their business practices more sustainable, all while saving money.

This combination is a growing necessity, too. Renewables had the biggest increase in usage across all energy resources in 2019 — and this reliance is still increasing. To make them fully sustainable, the data they run on can now cost less through cloud computing.

Automated Renewable Services

Automation is the underlying tool that makes cloud computing in data centers so powerful. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are also adapting to users’ needs. An automated system can monitor energy consumption in a data center and point out ways to cut down on electricity usage.

A solar energy system worker that needs information on production can remotely access it from the data center. Automation learns from this interaction and conserves energy when the data is not in use or doesn’t need to be transferred.

A similar concept applies to managing solar energy output itself. An automated renewable energy system will consider demand for electricity and weather patterns — which is also stored in a data center. The system knows when to conserve energy throughout cloudy or windless days. This way, those on the energy grid maintain a consistent supply of electricity at all times.

Moreover, this automated conservation of energy means the system won’t waste as much power in the distribution process. The result is more cost savings.

Improvements for the Future

More industries will depend on data centers for reliable services. With more reliance comes more responsibility, though. Data centers can always look for ways to improve how they handle sustainability. Then, each industry can have a more cost-effective support network.

Using renewable energy is one way to improve efficiency. Just as renewables can rely on data centers for sustainability, the reverse is true, as well. In fact, many big tech companies like Microsoft and Google are seeking to use or already utilizing renewable energy to power their data centers. As more places take on this approach, sustainability and cost-effectiveness become innate.

This movement comes when renewables are dropping in prices across the board, making them stand out as practical options for data centers. With this kind of reciprocal dynamic, the renewable energy industry can be fully sustainable, reducing costs around every turn.

Sustainability and Cost

Through the overlap of data centers and renewable energy, it’s clear that sustainability and cost are the two most important goals. These aims are attainable as the two industries rely on each other for energy and data storage. That way, cloud renewable energy can become the key to cost savings across the board.

Author: Shannon Fynn

Using AI for Environmental Disaster Prevention

AI

What comes to mind when you think of artificial intelligence? For most people, it’s things like the Terminator movie franchise or Elon Musk’s incessant and often intelligible fear of the technology. While the machines might not be sentient, AI is quickly becoming one of the most valuable tools we have in our collective arsenals.

From tracking disease spreads to staying one step ahead of poachers, how is AI helping us prevent environmental disasters around the globe?

Tracking Climate Change

Natural disasters are becoming more common every year, largely due to climate change. These disasters are occurring four times more frequently than they did 50 years ago, and experts predict that these numbers will continue to climb as the planet warms. AI systems, with enough data to study, can help to track the impact that climate change will have on the planet, as well as eventually begin to predict these disasters before they have a chance to devastate planetary populations.

The more information an AI system has, the smarter it can become. Add to that the fact that these systems can process information faster and more efficiently than humans, and these systems can even predict the future. It might sound like magic but it’s not fortune telling — it’s just data.

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Mobilizing Relief Resources

One of the biggest challenges we face after a disaster is mobilizing relief resources to those that need them most. Currently, we rely on humans to decide when and where to distribute relief supplies and money — and if there are arguments about these facts, it can take a lot longer to determine who needs the most help. You only have to look at the United State’s delayed COVID response for the perfect example of that.

AI removes the guesswork and human bias, determining when and where relief supplies should be distributed based on data alone. They can dispatch emergency services, and even assess damage through the use of satellite photography. Some programmers are even working to create an AI that can analyze social media posts to determine where these services are most needed.

Tracking Pandemic Trends

When COVID-19 started circling the globe, we had no idea how to respond. Do we stay home? Do we wear masks? Do we shut things down or do we try to keep moving forward? There was a lot of conflicting information, and we weren’t sure what to do. People staying home and working remotely increased the need for power but decreased oil demand. The price of oil dropped dramatically in the early months of 2020. While it has recovered during the intervening months, it’s entirely possible that another lockdown, while we wait for full vaccine distribution, could have the same effect.

In these cases, renewable energy and AI go hand in hand. Currently, the electricity generated by sustainable systems is intermittent at best — solar doesn’t work at night, and the wind doesn’t work when the air is still. It’s up to system operators to compensate for this intermittent power generation to keep the grid stable. An AI system can manage that task more efficiently than a human operator in a fraction of the time, keeping things stable without worrying about human error. This sort of AI power grid control could prevent something like the devastating blackouts we saw in Texas during the 2021 Winter Storms.

The Future of AI

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are the waves of the future. The technology may have garnered a negative reputation, thanks to pop culture references. Still, in reality, it can do things that would take a human being lifetime to accomplish in the blink of an eye. This is just the beginning.

Low Energy Sustainable Buildings

In this modern age, we are always looking for ways in which to be more sustainable, there is no denying that. Whether that is eating less meat, recycling more, or using renewable energy in our homes. We only have one planet and even the smallest lifestyle changes can have incredible results on its sustainability. While switching to a renewable energy supplier is a fantastic way to become more sustainable, there is also another way in which your home can help the environment, particularly if you are planning your very own self-build project.

Self-Build Homes

Self-building has taken the UK by storm recently with an estimated 7-10% of homes built each year in the UK now being a self-build. There are many reasons for this including: designing and building a home individual to you, creating a home for retirement or constructing a high-quality home at a cost-effective price. Another key reason we have seen a sharp rise in UK self-builds is their undeniably positive impact on sustainability, particularly when built to Passivhaus standards.

Passivhaus (sometimes known as Passive House) building is a voluntary standard of construction where design principles are implemented in such a way that allows for the occupant to have a high level of comfort (heating and cooling) while using little-to-zero energy. This ingenious way of building allows the user to have both a reduction in energy costs and much lower carbon emissions from their home. So, not only does this help the environment, but it can also save you money!

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Reduction in Heating Demand

Passivhaus homes often see a huge reduction in heating demand. This is primarily achieved through high levels of insulation using Insulated Concrete Formwork (ICF), while also reducing the number of thermal bridges in the home.

ICF is a revolutionary innovation in both walling and foundation systems for self-builds. With the walling systems, hollow polystyrene blocks are used to construct the frame of the home itself. Concrete is then poured into the blocks which gives unrivalled insulating properties over more traditional materials used in other walling systems. ICF foundation slabs are of a similar idea but used in the foundations of a home or basement. These are ground slabs that are usually cast at the project site, then reinforced with a steel mesh or fibre. Again, offering incredible insulation over more traditional foundation methods in homes and ultimately reducing energy consumption.

Thermal bridging is the areas of a home where heat tries to escape. This is typically where there is a break or penetration in the structure as the heat will tend to follow the path where it has the least resistance when escaping.

This usually will be:

  • Where the floor meets a wall
  • Where a wall meets the roof
  • Pipe or cable entrances
  • Around windows and doors

Passivhaus homes are built to be almost free of any thermal bridging, therefore significantly reducing the demand for traditional heating methods.

Passivhaus and Sustainability

There truly is no denying that there is a direct correlation between Passivhaus building and sustainability. Looking at the key benefit to come from building a home to Passivhaus standards: if there is a reduction in the demand for heating, this will certainly limit the requirement for energy usage and ultimately reduce a home’s carbon emissions.

Heat in a Passivhaus home is generated from appliances such as the oven, a computer, refrigerators or even lightbulbs and candles. It is also generated from a home’s occupants utilising good old fashioned body heat.

As we don’t all have the luxury of living in a warmer climate, particularly in the UK, there will sometimes be a requirement for the use of traditional heating methods even in a Passivhaus home. Building a home to the high Passivhaus standards and going through the rigorous certification process central to sustainability, most self-builders will tend to opt for an eco-friendly energy source too. Having solar-powered energy sources installed in your home or using a renewable energy provider is always the best way in which to ensure that your Passivhaus home is truly built with sustainability at its core.

This article was provided by Econekt. They are a UK-wide low-energy construction firm with a focus on Passivhaus and ICF self-building. So good, even Mother Nature would approve.

Amazon’s Latest Venture in Going 100 Percent Renewable by 2025

Amazon

Amazon, the world’s largest retailer, is no stranger to disruptive technology. The brand built its name by revolutionising e-commerce and defined the smart device movement. But its latest tech venture is in sustainable power. Amazon’s renewable energy investments are reaching new heights.

In 2019, Amazon announced that it aims to run entirely on renewables by 2030. By mid-2020, it adjusted that goal, claiming it’s on track to achieve it by 2025. That’s an impressive statement, considering how massive a company Amazon is, with fulfilment centres across the globe.

A company of Amazon’s size consumes a remarkable amount of electricity. As 2025 draws nearer, the e-commerce giant has little time to switch to renewables. Here’s how Amazon is making it happen.

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Record-Breaking Renewable Energy Projects

Amazon’s renewable energy goals are lofty, so it’s had to take some significant strides to pursue them. In late 2019, the company launched the largest corporate wind power purchase in the U.K. This project, a wind farm in Kintyre Peninsula, Scotland, will generate 168,000 megawatt-hours of energy annually, enough to power 46,000 homes.

This wind farm isn’t the only record-breaking renewable energy project Amazon has started. In December 2020, Amazon became the world’s largest corporate purchaser of renewable power after adding 26 utility-scale projects. These solar and wind projects will raise the company’s sustainable power capacity to 6.5 gigawatts, supplying 18 million megawatt-hours annually.

Since Amazon consumes so much power, it can’t generate enough on its own yet. To help reach its goals, the company has partnered with Shell to supplement its renewable energy efforts. Shell will provide power from an offshore wind farm off the coast of the Netherlands, helping both Amazon and the company’s own sustainability goals.

Amazon’s Other Investments in Renewable Energy

Amazon’s renewable energy investments include more than generating clean power for its operations. They also cover funding for other businesses that provide sustainable power services or technologies. Since regulations can make it challenging for energy companies to expand, these funds can be of significant help to smaller renewable energy businesses.

Investing in other renewable technology developers can also help Amazon find new solutions to its energy problems. Supporting research in the area can lead to new technologies and services that would make large-scale renewable energy more viable. Amazon would then have a better chance at meeting its goals in time.

Since deliveries are a central part of Amazon’s business model, the retailer has also pursued zero-emissions vehicles. Its first fleet of electric vans started making deliveries in early 2021, with hopes to have 10,000 in service by 2022. This movement will help ensure Amazon’s vehicles don’t generate enough emissions to counter their renewable energy projects.

How Will This Impact Energy and Technology in the U.K.?

This shift towards sustainability could impact the overall energy and technology sectors in the U.K. Amazon is the world’s leading cloud service provider, accounting for 32% of the global cloud market. Consequently, when its data centres run on green energy, the U.K. companies that rely on them will become more sustainable.

Since so many services rely on Amazon’s data centres, its renewable infrastructure must be reliable. Any disruptions or malfunctions could jeopardize the cloud processes of U.K. businesses. In light of these potential consequences, Amazon has to ensure its wind and solar projects will provide constant, sufficient service.

As Amazon shifts to renewable energy, it could inspire other U.K. companies to do the same. If a business as massive and energy-intensive as Amazon can run on renewables, a smaller business could too. The success of Amazon’s renewable energy projects could start a clean power revolution among U.K. companies.

Amazon’s Renewable Energy Goals Are Bold but Not Impossible

Relying on sustainable energy can seem like an intimidating goal for any company. A business as large as Amazon aiming for 100% renewable power in just a few years is a loftier goal than most. As the retailer increases its green energy projects, though, it seems increasingly likely they’ll reach these high aspirations.

Amazon is proving that, with enough commitment, reaching net-zero emissions is possible, and not just in the future. Any U.K. business could start pursuing renewable energy today and become entirely green before long. It will take work, but it’s not impossible.

Choose a Green Energy Supplier to Increase the Sustainability of Your Home

Green Energy

Choose a Green Energy Supplier to Increase the Sustainability of Your Home

In these eco-conscious times, we’re all looking for ways to improve the sustainability of our households and reduce our carbon footprint. Everything from the kind of food we serve at dinner time to the kind of detergent we use can have a powerful impact on the planet we all share. But while switching to a green energy supplier is one of the easiest ways to reduce the environmental impact of your home, it’s also extremely effective.

Can renewable energy really make a difference?

Absolutely. In fact, switching to a renewable energy plan can prevent around 1.1 tonnes of carbon from entering our atmosphere every single year. At The Renewable Energy Hub, we know a thing or two about the impact renewable energy can have on your home. But we often find that people don’t realise just how easy it is to switch to a renewable supplier.

How do I switch to renewable energy?

It’s quick and easy to switch to a renewable energy tariff. Just get in touch with our friends at Switch-Plan. They can help you to find the perfect green energy supplier for your needs, and a tariff that works for your budget. So you can reduce your environmental footprint and save money at the same time. It’s a process that takes just a few minutes, but can result in years of savings. Both in terms of carbon, and your bank balance.

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Who is the best green energy supplier?

That’s a tricky question to answer. It really depends on your unique circumstances. Different green energy suppliers and tariffs are available in different areas, and the right plan for you will depend on which fuels your home uses, your energy consumption, and when you use it. That’s the beauty of Switch-Plan. The team carefully match the right tariff to your needs. So you can enjoy the peace of mind that comes from knowing you’re getting carbon-neutral energy at the best possible prices.

Can I also get renewable gas?

Yes, absolutely. Most suppliers offer some form of green gas to their customers.

This comes in the form of either carbon-neutral or carbon-offset gas. Carbon-neutral gas is biomethane that’s sourced from plant and agricultural waste rather than natural gas from within the earth. Carbon-offset gas, however, is still natural gas, but the carbon it generates has been offset by other carbon-neutral or carbon-negative investments around the world (like planting trees).

Save the planet and save money… It’s a no-brainer!

The right green energy supplier can help you to save money while also helping to save our world. If we were all to switch to renewable energy plans, we could save hundreds of millions of tonnes of CO2 from entering our atmosphere and save trillions around the world in climate change costs. So, what are you waiting for? See how much you could save by switching energy plans today.

Machine Learning Applications for Renewable Energy Forecasting

Machine Learning

Renewable energy adoption is growing across the world. As renewables make up a larger portion of the world’s energy production, predicting future scenarios becomes more pressing. Thankfully, machine learning applications can bring several improvements to renewable energy forecasting.

Machine learning applications are a subset of artificial intelligence, where algorithms learn to identify patterns from data with minimal human intervention. Many companies use it to find ways to improve or predict upcoming changes that would affect their business. This pattern-based prediction can help renewable energy, too.

Since renewables rely on nature, their efficiency and production can vary widely. Better predictive tools can help energy companies and users make the most of these installations. Here’s how.

Predicting Energy Consumption

One of the most crucial parts of renewable energy forecasting is predicting how much energy users will consume. Unlike other power sources, renewables don’t generate electricity around the clock. Power companies need to understand demand so they can allocate energy appropriately, so as not to waste any.

People can monitor usage trends to predict upcoming consumption changes, but this can be slow and inaccurate. Since computers are generally better at data-heavy tasks than people, machine learning can spot trends and make connections faster. In the renewable energy sector, this looks like an algorithm analysing usage patterns to determine which areas will need more energy at any given time.

With this information, energy companies can deliver power to where it’s needed most. The result is less waste, less disruption, and more consumer satisfaction. Some machine learning algorithms can achieve this even with partial information, making them far more reliable than traditional approaches.

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Predicting Weather Conditions

Another unique issue with renewable energy forecasting is the weather’s impact. Since renewables rely on things like the wind and sun, varying weather conditions produce different amounts of power. Machine learning applications can help predict these more accurately than traditional models.

Most weather forecasting models rely on data from large geographic regions that don’t always accurately represent local conditions. Machine learning algorithms can process far more granular data in a similar or even shorter time. This precision and speed produces more reliable, relevant forecasts.

The same machine learning programs can then predict how the weather will impact energy production. If renewables will produce higher-than-average levels, energy companies can scale down fossil fuels and vice versa. Some days, wind power alone can produce half of the U.K.’s energy, while others, it barely generates anything, so this flexibility is crucial.

Predicting Market Movements

Renewable power vendors need to meet market demands to make sustainable energy more widespread. Like in any business, appealing to customers requires an understanding of consumer trends. Many companies use machine learning applications in this area, and so can renewable energy businesses.

With enough high-quality data, consumer actions are surprisingly predictable. Machine learning algorithms can forecast long-term market movements, so renewable energy companies can understand their audience. Since it can take time to adjust production or marketing strategies, predicting these consumer trends early is crucial.

If more renewable power vendors adapt to shifting markets, they’ll become more attractive to consumers. As a result, sustainable energy will spread faster, helping the world move towards a greener future.

Predicting Potential Issues

Another crucial part of renewable energy forecasting is determining where potential problems may arise. While renewables provide lower lifetime operating expenses, upfront equipment costs are typically high. If companies can predict when conditions may threaten the grid, they can prevent it, leading to considerable savings.

One of the most useful machine learning applications in this area is predictive analytics. In this process, machine learning algorithms look at how equipment is running to predict when it will need repair. That way, workers can prevent costly breakdowns and don’t have to perform any unnecessary maintenance.

While human inspectors can attempt to do the same thing on their own, they’re not as effective. One study found that AI-assisted predictive maintenance is up to 25.3% more efficient and 24.6% more precise. These savings can help make renewable installations more cost-effective, helping them grow further.

Machine Learning Makes Renewable Energy More Viable

Machine learning can help forecast many relevant factors impacting renewable energy. As a result, renewables will become more reliable, affordable, and desirable. With these improvements, they could overtake fossil fuels faster.

Renewable energy is promising on its own, but machine learning expands its potential. By making renewables a more viable alternative to fossil fuels, machine learning is improving sustainability across multiple industries.