Of the many advancements in technology that we see all around us these days, some fit in so well that they go unnoticed, while others stand before us, ready to change our whole outlook on life. Here’s a look at three green technologies that stand ready to change our world.
1. Wind Turbines
Harnessing the power of the wind is nothing new – people have been using it to power their ships since the dawn of man. However, wind power has historically been cast aside as being too sporadic for modern industrial processes. The modern wind turbine, however, paired with smart grid technology can displace dirty coal plants when available, and then be taken offline when the winds die down. Mass application of this technology will change our energy landscape as we know it.
2. Light Emitting Diode (LED) Light Bulbs
The age old incandescent, tungsten filament light bulb has always had a critical flaw: 95% of the energy used to power them goes to heat, not light. This means terrible energy efficiency and quick burn out. When the compact fluorescent bulb (CFL), with its incredible energy efficiency, came on the scene, its own failings were also obvious: the light was pale, and they tended to flicker. Today, however, engineers have adapted the existing technology of LED lights, with their incredible efficiency and seemingly inexhaustible life span, and fit them into standard light bulbs. These bad boys use a fraction of even CFL energy, will last for decades, and produce the kind of incandescent light we know and love. That is a green technology miracle if there ever was one.
3. Rain Barrels
Yes, rain barrels. Standard municipal service, unbeknownst to many consumers, are often significantly more resource intensive than we realize. Storm water drainage systems in major metropolitan centers like Chicago are built for torrential rains, and the energy required to power those systems is immense. Thankfully, small changes in behavior at the home level, with technologies like rain barrels, can make a dramatic impact. Imagine if 50 gallons of rainwater were collected at the homes of each of Chicago’s nearly 3 million residents? That would mean a big energy savings for the city. As we know, any technology that saves energy, is, by definition, a green technology. And the lowly rain barrel is as great as any.