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Enhanced Greenhouse Effect

The enhanced greenhouse effect, sometimes referred to as climate change or
global warming, is the impact on the climate from the additional heat retained due to
the increased amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that humans
have released into the earths atmosphere since the industrial revolution.

Climate Change
Human activities contribute to climate change by causing changes in Earth's
atmosphere in the amounts of greenhouse gases, aerosols (small particles), and
cloudiness. The largest known contribution comes from the burning of fossil fuels,
which releases carbon dioxide gas to the atmosphere.

Greenhouse Effect Contributes to Climate Change

Most climate scientists agree the main cause of the current global warming trend is
human expansion of the "greenhouse effect"1 warming that results when the
atmosphere traps heat radiating from Earth toward space. Certain gases in the
atmosphere block heat from escaping.
energy transformations that occur in a coal fired power station.
There are four main stages:
fuel is burned to boil water to make steam
steam makes a turbine spin
spinning turbine turns a generator which produces electricity
electricity goes to the transformers to produce the correct voltage.
The National grid uses power lines to connect power stations to the
consumers. These include homes, factories, offices and farms.

Power stations generate significant heat losses to the

environment. Below is an energy transfer diagram for the
generation of electricity from a fossil fuel such as coal:

Chemical energy is stored in coal. This energy is transferred

as heat and stored in water as steam. The energy in steam is
transferred to movement in a turbine and to electrical energy
in the turbine.

Why coal fired power stations are one of the main

contributors to the enhanced greenhouse effect.
What is the problem with fossil fuels?
Fossil fuels are burned to spin turbines that generate electricity or in engines
of vehicles we use for transport. When fossil fuels are burned gases such as
carbon dioxide (CO2) are released into the atmosphere and contribute to the
greenhouse effect and warming of the Earth. Electricity production in Australia
is very reliant on fossil fuels, making us the worst emitter (per person) of
greenhouse gases in the world.
A second problem is that there is a limited amount of fossil fuels that currently
exist on Earth. Developed nations like Australia rely on fossil fuels to support
the way we currently live - to grow and transport our food, power the factories
that produce the goods we buy, and to make products. Globally we are now
face rapidly increasing development and demand for resources and energy.
In less than 100 years humans have used approximately half of all the known
reserves that exist on Earth. So, while the demand is growing, the supply is
declining. The supply that remains will also become progressively harder to
extract from the Earth This problem is often called 'Peak Oil'.
Both of these problems mean that there is a need to become less reliant on
fossil fuels.

Define renewable resources and non-renewable resources.

A nonrenewable resource is a resource of economic value that cannot be readily
replaced by natural means on a level equal to its consumption. Most fossil fuels,
such as oil, natural gas and coal are considered nonrenewable resources in that
their use is not sustainable because their formation takes billions of years.
Solar energy can supplement energy supply directly in our own homes
Most Australians are connected to the National Electricity Grid, a
network of electric cables and transformers that links power generating
stations to your home.
A Grid-Connect Solar Photovoltaic (PV) System acts as a mini power
station on your roof, feeds power to your home, and surplus power back
to the Grid.
Solar systems for domestic homes generally consist of solar panels, an
inverter and a metering system.
Most solar power systems use PV modules (panels) installed on a
rooftop to create and collect energy from sunlight. An inverter converts
the Direct Current (DC) electricity generated by solar panels into
Alternating Current (AC), the form of electricity conventionally used in
homes. The system is connected through a meter to the grid. Solar
systems allow you to use your solar power when it is generating
electricity during the day and put any excess back into the grid. As soon
as you need more electricity than your system can generate, your
electricity will automatically be supplied from the grid. At night, your
house draws energy from the grid.

Solar panels
Solar cells are produced from thin wafers of silicon. When light falls on the cells an electric
current is produced. A collection of solar cells connected together forms a module.
Most homes or commercial buildings will need around 10 square metres of unshaded, north-
facing roof space to mount the modules for a 1kW solar system. Ideally the modules should
be tilted towards the sun at around 30 degrees to maximise the solar collection.

can contribute electricity to the electricity grid (Solar roof panels).

The sun shines on the solar panels generating DC electricity
The DC electricity is fed into a solar inverter that converts it to
240V 50Hz AC electricity.
The 240V AC electricity is used to power appliances in your
Surplus electricity is fed back into the main grid.
Whenever the sun shines (and even in overcast weather), the solar cells generate
electricity. The grid connect inverter converts the DC electricity produced by the solar
panels into 240V AC electricity, which can then be used by the property/household.
If a grid connect system is producing more power than is being consumed, the
surplus is fed into the mains power grid. Some electricity companies will meter the
electricity fed into the grid by your system and provide a credit on your bill.
When the solar cells are not producing power, for example at night, your power is
supplied by the mains power grid as usual. The energy retailer charges the usual
rate for the power used.
As all of the components in a grid connect system have no moving parts, you can
expect a long and hassle free life from your solar power system! Generous
government solar rebates and incentives mean you can also save thousands on a
grid connect system for a limited time!

Identify other methods that can be used in households to reduce their energy

Conserving energy, by taking actions like insulating/weatherstripping your home and

purchasing Energy Star certified (high efficiency) appliances, is usually the smartest, most
economical and most potent environmental action you can take. Cleaner, greener energy
supplies may provide the cleanest supplies of needed electricity, but minimizing the energy
we need is still the first step to take before selecting the cleanest, greenest supplies.
Whenever you save energy, you not only save money, you also reduce the demand for such
fossil fuels as coal, oil, and natural gas. Less burning of fossil fuels also means lower
emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), the primary contributor to global warming, and other
You do not have to do without to achieve these savings. There is now an energy efficient
alternative for almost every kind of appliance or light fixture. That means that consumers
have a real choice and the power to change their energy use on a revolutionary scale.
The average American produces about 40,000 pounds of CO2 emissions per year. Together,
we use nearly a million dollars worth of energy every minute, night and day, every day of the
year. By exercising even a few of the following steps, you can cut your annual emissions by
thousands of pounds and your energy bills by a significant amount!

1. Wear the right clothes

Dress for the temperature. Layering clothes and wearing wool helps
keep you warm in winter, and means you can turn your heater down.

2. Shut doors and close curtains

Heating or cooling the whole house can be expensive. Where possible,
shut doors to areas you are not using and only heat or cool the rooms
you spend the most time in.

Make sure your curtains or blinds seal your windows properly, and keep
your curtains closed at night, and during the day when there is a heat-
wave. Block draughts around doors and windows to stop air leaking out,
or in.

3. Set your thermostat

Every degree above 20 degrees can add 10% to your heating bill
In winter heating can account for over 30% of your bill. Set your
thermostat between 18 and 20 degrees. Every degree above 20 can add
10% to your heating bill. In summer, set your thermostat to 26 degrees
or above.

4. Turn heaters and coolers off when you don't need them

Turn off when you leave the room, or go to bed. With some ducted
heating systems you can turn off the heating in the rooms that are
unoccupied. Make sure all your heating or cooling is turned off when you
leave the house.

5. Wash clothes using cold water

Washing your clothes in cold water can save $115 per year
You can save around $115 per year by washing clothes in cold water.
You can also save by making sure you select the shortest appropriate
washing cycle and waiting until you have a full load.

6. Run your fridge efficiently

Your fridge is always on, making it one of your most expensive

appliances. Make sure the door seal is tight and free from gaps so cold
air can't escape. An ideal fridge temperature is 4 or 5 degrees and an
ideal freezer temperature is minus 15 to minus 18 degrees Celsius. If
you have a second fridge or freezer, only turn it on when you need it.

7. Insulate your roof

An insulated ceiling makes a big difference to your energy bills. If you

already have insulation installed, check that it is properly installed and
has the right rating (measured in 'R-value'). In Victoria, insulation rated
R3.5 or higher should be used for ceilings.

8. Stop standby power waste

Up to 10% of your electricity use could be from gadgets on standby

Did you know your phone charger is still using energy even when your
phone is not attached? Up to 10% of your electricity could be used by
gadgets and appliances that are on standby.

A standby power controller will automatically reduce standby time and

switch appliances off when not in use. You may be eligible for a
discounted standby power controller. See Energy Saver Incentive.

9. Save energy in the kitchen

Thaw frozen food in your fridge to reduce cooking time. When you are
cooking, use the microwave when you can it uses much less energy
than an electric oven. If you use the stove, keep lids on your pots to
reduce cooking time. Use the economy cycle on your dishwasher and
only run it when it's full.

10. Use energy-efficient light globes

Replace old incandescent and halogen light globes with energy-efficient

globes. Energy-efficient globes save power and last longer. Light globes
can sometimes be replaced for free or at reduced cost. See: Energy
Saver Incentive
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