Holland Energy 2050

Energy Practicality

Practicality of Solar

  •   Wind is not the most practical decision for energy. It's expensive to set up, and is a long-term investment. Wind energy also relies on a sufficient, constant amount of wind, which is not always available.

Practicality of Wind
  • The practicality of solar energy depends on location. Places with little cloud cover and few trees will generally allow for better energy production. However, part of the difficulty is finding the correct angle at which to install solar panels on roofs and also having enough space for the solar panels. Many houses have sufficient space and the right angles to allow the panels to generate enough energy to function as they would using other sources of energy. So why not use solar power? It's expensive to install, and is not very reliable since it relies on the weather. Especially in Michigan, we understand that the sun won't always be out when we need it.

Practicality of Coal

  • Current framework is in place for mining, transporting, and converting coal for energy use. There are no immediate overhead costs. This system has been in place for a long time, since around 1880. However, the coal supply is limited. The supply is dwindling, the costs are increasing, and there's a large cost to developing an alternative. The US currently has one fourth of the world's coal supply, which is enough to use at the current rate for about 250 years. The probability of the rate of consumption, though, is likely to increase before then. At this time, coal produces 50% of the United State's electricity.

  •   If we want available and reasonable alternatives for coal by 2050, we need to start now. In ten to fifteen years, we will need to double the current efficiency. Currently we only convert about 30% of the potential energy into electricity, making this a very inefficient source of energy. This rate has not increased since the late 1950's.

Simple Solutions for Home Owners

1. High Tech Thermostats: Programmable thermostats allow you to preset temperature changes, you can
Cost: $50-$150
Investment Time: around a year, as long as thermostats control heating/cooling

2. Sealing Air Leaks: Plug the gaps around doors and windows, seal ducts
Cost: about $20 per door, $10 per window
Investment Time: approximately two years

3. Low-Flow appliances: fixtures such as shower-heads and faucets can be changed to low flow ones in order to conserve the amount of water you use and to save on the heating of the water
Cost: $30 per shower-head, around $3 for faucet aerators
Investment Time: almost no time at all, a few weeks to a month

4. Air Filters Replacement: When cooling systems get dirty, it takes much more energy to run them. If filters are replaced or cleaned, it can save energy.
Cost: $10 for filters, some however can be wiped clean
Investment Time: Less than a year

5. Compact Fluorescent Lights: These bulbs use 75% less energy than normal bulbs and the last 1-12 times longer
Cost: $3 per bulb
Investment Time: A few months

6. Lighting Motion Sensors: Very useful in saving electricity when not in use, especially as far as outdoor lights
Cost: $50-$60
Investment Time: Around a year

7. Covering Windows: Although it's not normally recognized, using blinds/shades/curtains on windows can help save energy in both the summer and winter, in the winter they can keep the heat in and in the summer they can block sunlight, keeping the house cool.
Cost: Depends on the window, most already have them but if not, they can cost from $10-$50
Investment Time: Depends, from a year to a couple years