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Definition | Green and Alternative Energy Information

Clean energy – Definition

Finding an adequate definition for clean energy isn’t an easy thing to do, mostly because of the issue with nuclear power categorization. While some energy experts believe that nuclear power should be also categorized as a clean energy source because harnessing nuclear energy doesn’t emit harmful greenhouse gas emissions others say that nuclear power shouldn’t be considered as a clean energy source because of radioactive nuclear waste.

What does this “clean” mean? The clean means environmentally friendly, or given our current energy situation, environmentally more acceptable compared to fossil fuels. This somewhat explains why there is such a big debate whether we should include nuclear power among clean energy sources or not, as energy experts first need to agree whether nuclear power is environmentally more friendly option compared to fossil fuels.

The question about nuclear power categorization is really a question of setting up the limit for term “clean”. If clean energy refers only to energy sources that are not connected with greenhouse gas emissions then nuclear power should be considered as one of the clean energy options, and if clean refers to energy sources that are not hazardous for environment then nuclear power cannot be categorized as a clean energy source.

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Green energy – Definition and meaning

The simplest green energy definition would be energy produced from energy sources that are environmentally more friendly (or “greener”) compared to fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas). Green energy therefore includes all renewable energy sources (solar, wind, geothermal, biofuels, hydropower), and by definition should also include nuclear energy though there are many environmentalists who oppose the idea of talking about nuclear energy as the green energy because of the nuclear waste issue, and its harmful environmental effects.

Green energy term was coined to separate highly polluting fossil fuels from other less polluting, environmentally friendlier energy options such as renewable energy sources. Climate change has become a global threat, and world needs to find cleaner (less emitting) energy options, and thus the importance of green energy keeps growing.

Green energy is still not powerful enough to compete with fossil fuels. This is mostly because green energy is still significantly more expensive energy option compared to fossil fuels, and thus many countries, especially developing ones, rather stick with cheaper fossil fuels such as coal.

It also has to be said that term green energy doesn’t include only renewable energy sources but can in more broader term also include the conservation of energy (for instance a green energy example is also a building constructed in a way that it keeps itself cool in the daytime and heated in the night through its architectural design instead of relying on air-conditioning or a heating system).

The promotion of green energy does not only include using more renewable energy sources in years to come but also to make currently dominant fossil fuels energy technologies more greener and less polluting (such as clean coal technologies).

Term green energy is sometimes identified with the term sustainable energy but this is not entirely correct because sustainable energy also includes technologies that improve energy efficiency. Green energy doesn’t refer to efficiency of renewable energy sources but is only interested in their positive environmental impact (compared to fossil fuels).

Posted byNed Haluzan

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Building-integrated photovoltaics

Building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) are by definition photovoltaic materials that are used to replace conventional building materials. What this means is that photovoltaic materials actually become an integral part of the building, and in most cases they are planned together with the object as its integral part though they can be also built later on.

The global interest in the building integration of photovoltaics is constantly growing, and in the last couple of years BIPV are being increasingly incorporated into the construction of new buildings as a principal or ancillary source of electrical power. Some energy experts even argue that BIPV is currently the fastest growing segment of the photovoltaic industry.

A Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV) system’s main concept consists of integrating photovoltaics modules into the building envelope such as the roof, skylights, or facades. This means that BIPV not only serve as power generator but also as building envelope material, which in the end results in both savings in materials as well as reduced electricity costs.

A complete BIPV system consists of photovoltaic modules, a charge controller, a power storage system, inverter and other power conversion equipment, backup power supply, and different supporting equipment.

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