Solar thermal energy. The sun is the source of the vast majority of the energy we use on earth. Most of the energy we use has undergone various transformations before it is finally utilized, but it is also possible to tap this source of solar energy as it arrives on the earth’s surface.
There are many applications for the direct use of solar thermal energy, space heating and cooling, water heating, crop drying and solar cooking. It is a technology which is well understood and widely used in many countries throughout the world. Most solar thermal technologies have been in existence in one form or another for centuries and have a well-established manufacturing base in most sun-rich developed countries.
The most common use for solar thermal technology is for domestic water heating. Hundreds of thousands of domestic hot water systems are in use throughout the world, especially in areas such as the Mediterranean and Australia where there is high solar insolation (the total energy per unit area received from the sun). As world oil prices vary, it is a technology which is rapidly gaining acceptance as an energy saving measure in both domestic and commercial water heating applications. Presently, domestic water heaters are usually only found amongst wealthier sections of the community in developing countries.
I love to see projects that make the world a better place manifest. The way a project manifests from inception, brainstorming, researching, creating, testing, iterating, promoting, etc. always fill me with wonder and excitement. There is no one way that it unfolds, but my favorite ways to be part of are those that are collaborative.
Green living (or sustainable living) is about practical choices, large and small, to preserve the earth and have a better quality of life. It is a lifestyle that attempts to reduce an individual's or society's use of the Earth's natural resources and his or her own resources.
In order to make sustainable choices, it is very helpful to have solid, reliable information that tells us which behaviors are sustainable and which are unsustainable. In quantitative terms, which actions will make the greatest difference, and should be prioritized. Green living can be high tech (buying a hybrid vehicle), low tech (green cleaning, or completely "back to nature." It can be smart grid or off the grid. Sustainable city living explains some of the areas of action for a city dweller.
Practitioners of sustainable living often attempt to reduce their carbon footprint by altering methods of transportation, energy consumption and diet. Proponents of sustainable living aim to conduct their lives in ways that are consistent with sustainability, in natural balance and respectful of humanity's symbiotic relationship with the Earth's natural ecology and cycles. The practice and general philosophy of ecological living is highly interrelated with the overall principles of sustainable development.