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Environmental technology (envirotech), green technology (greentech) or clean technology (cleantech) is the application of one or more of environmental science, green science, environmental monitoring and electronic devices to monitor, model and conserve the natural environment and resources, and to curb the negative impacts of human involvement. The term is also used to describe sustainable energy generation technologies such as photovoltaics, wind turbines, bioreactors, etc.  Sustainable is the core of environmental technologies. The term environmental technologies are also used to describe a class of electronic devices that can promote sustainable management of resources.

Renewable energy is energy that can be replenished easily. For years we have been using sources like wood, sun, water, etc. for means for producing energy. Energy that can be produced by natural objects like wood, sun, wind, etc. is considered to be renewable.

Water purification.  The whole idea/concept of having dirt/germ/pollution free water flowing throughout the environment. Many other phenomena lead from this concept of purification of water. Water pollution is the main enemy of this concept, and various campaigns and activists have been organized around the world to help purify water.

Sewage treatment is conceptually similar to water purification. Sewage treatments are very important as they purify water per levels of its pollution. The more polluted water is not used for anything, and the least polluted water is supplied to places where water is used affluently. It may lead to various other concepts of environmental protection, sustainability etc.

Environmental remediation is the removal of pollutants or contaminants for the general protection of the environment. This is accomplished by various chemical, biological, and bulk movements.

Solid waste management is the purification, consumption, reuse, disposal and treatment of solid waste that is undertaken by the government or the ruling bodies of a city/town.

Egain forecasting is a method using forecasting technology to predict the future weather’s ‘s impact on a building. By adjusting the heat based on the weather forecast, the system eliminates redundant use of heat, thus reducing the energy consumption and the emission of greenhouse gases.

Energy conservation is the utilization of devices that require smaller amounts of energy in order to reduce the consumption of electricity. Reducing the use of electricity causes less fossil fuels to be burned to provide that electricity.

The Tesla Roadster is the only all-electric sports car for sale and in serial production. It can be plugged into conventional outlets and can be charged fully or partially on renewable energy, including solar, hydroelectric, geothermal or wind power.

Since industrial use of energy accounts for 51% of worldwide energy usage improving energy efficiency in this field is a top priority for environmental technology companies around the globe. Advanced energy efficient electric motor and electric generator technology that are cost effective to encourage their application, such as the brushless wound-rotor doubly fed electric machine and energy saving module, can reduce the amount of  carbon dioxide (CO2) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) that would otherwise be introduced to the atmosphere, if electricity is generated using fossil fuels. Greasestock is an event held yearly in Yorktown Heights, New York which is one of the largest showcases of environmental technology in the United States.

Modern appliances, such as,  freezers, ovens, stoves, dishwashers, washing machines and dryers, use significantly less energy than older appliances. Installing a clothesline will significantly reduce your energy consumption as your dryer will be used less. Current energy efficient refrigerators, for example, use 40 percent less energy than conventional models did in 2001. Following this, if all households in Europe changed their more than ten-year-old appliances into new ones, 20 billion kWh of electricity would be saved annually, hence reducing CO2 emissions by almost 18 billion kg. In the US, the corresponding figures would be 17 billion kWh of electricity and 27,000,000,000 lb (1.2×1010 kg) CO2. According to a 2009 study from McKinsey & Company the replacement of old appliances is one of the most efficient global measures to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. Modern power management systems also reduce energy usage by idle appliances by turning them off or putting them into a low-energy mode after a certain time. Many countries identify energy-efficient appliances using energy input labeling.

The impact of energy efficiency on peak demand depends on when the appliance is used.  For example, an air conditioner uses more energy during the afternoon when it is hot. Therefore, an energy efficient air conditioner will have a larger impact on peak demand than off-peak demand. An energy efficient dishwasher, on the other hand, uses more energy during the late evening when people do their dishes. This appliance may have little to no impact on peak demand.

Energy saving technology, also known as green technology, is technology which augments or replaces existing systems for a net energy savings. This type of technology helps decrease the impact of human activity on the environment and often saves money for the operators. There are several types of energy saving technology, including green homes and buildings, fuel efficient vehicles, and power efficient computers.

Green homes are a good example of how these technologies can affect daily life. One of the simplest energy saving technologies is building insulation. If properly placed, insulation allows a building to stay at the desired temperature with significantly less heating or cooling than it might otherwise require. Energy savings can also be achieved through building architecture. Assuming that two buildings have equal volume and that other energy factors are equal, the most energy efficient building will be the one with the smallest surface area. This can present an interesting challenge to architects who also have to deal with usage and aesthetic factors.

A variety of energy saving technologies are combined with efficient architecture in green homes. Some of these technologies, including compact fluorescent light bulbs and energy efficient appliances, simply replace older less efficient technologies. Other energy saving technologies operate by generating new energy. The most common example of this technology is home solar panels. Green homes may also implement flash water heaters, which heat water as needed instead of expending energy to maintain a hot water tank.

Hybrid cars and fully electric vehicles are an increasingly popular form of energy saving technology. These vehicles are much more fuel efficient than similar vehicles with conventional combustion engines. Electric vehicles do not use gasoline at all, but instead use electric motors powered by large rechargeable batteries. The main limitation for electric vehicles is the weight of batteries that provide enough power to travel long distances.

Another example of energy saving technology is power efficient electronics and computers. Electronic paper displays, such as those employed by many e-book readers, use only a small fraction of the energy consumed by traditional flat screen displays. Many net books and compact laptops also use power efficient processors that provide significant energy savings over traditional laptops or desktops.

As demand for both energy and the cost of energy increases, many companies have begun researching new ways to save energy.  The process is difficult because it is not always immediately clear whether or not a new technique will save energy in the long run. Despite this, new types of energy saving technology are developed and released on a regular basis.

Kathy Kiefer

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