Sustainability and the Pursuit of Renewable Energy

Recently I have been inspired by a couple of courses I have taken to research the production of Energy in the United States and across the world. The issue with energy is that we need it, we need a lot of it. The American people need more energy than ever before. The American people suffer from “never enough syndrome” where we can never have enough of anything to satisfy our needs. Each person is seeking out more things that will satisfy their “American Dream.” Each of these items that are produced whether it be a new car, a television, or a football, they each require energy to produce. Energy consumption in the United States is usually thought of as the energy we consume at home or at work, but actually residential only makes up 11.9% of the total energy consumption and commercial makes up 9.4%. This leaves transportation to consume 37% and industry 36% of the total energy consumption. We are constantly using energy and we need more and more of it every day. So, how do we produce it sustainably? Currently, renewable energy makes up 11% of total energy production in the United States. While the rest of the energy for the United States is produced with 8% nuclear (semi renewable/clean), 11% coal, 32% natural gas, and 37% petroleum. (https://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/us-energy-facts/) To sustain the quality of life we strive for we must learn how to produce a massive amount of energy, approximately 100 quadrillion Btu, through renewable resources. This may seem impossible with the current status of renewable resources, but with technological advancements in efficiency, it could be done. Not only do we need better ways to produce the energy necessary, but we also must focus on reducing the consumption of energy. The consumption of massive amounts of energy consumed in the production of things we want and need is what has dug us into a pit where it’s nearly impossible to power through renewable means. There are many ways to begin reducing the consumption of energy. Specifically, in architecture, we can start using sustainable materials as well as solar heating, cross ventilation, stack ventilation, and other methods to decrease heating and cooling. I am not well versed in how to create mechanical processes that can consume less energy, but this could be solved by solving the issue of greed found in nearly every American. 

This weeks topic in class has inspired me to continue my research into sustainable design and energy consumption to help create a better future for all of us. The 11th Hour movie focuses on the direction that the world is currently headed given its consumption of energy and lack of sustainable design. The 11th Hour and stories of Easter Island create a persona of a struggling world that many people have taken advantage of through the harvesting of natural resources and overpopulation. The world does need to improve and we must start taken steps toward sustainability to survive as a species. The world has no mercy and will fix itself at any cost as we have seen through natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornados, and earthquakes. Not that each of these things were caused specifically by the overconsumption of humans, but mother nature always has a way to fix herself in some way. If we do not start improving we may find ourselves on the short end of the stick for Mother natures plans. My research into the topic has inspired me to continue research and want to know more so that I know betters ways to improve the world for everyone in it. I hope this course helps to continue my research into energy consumption and energy production.

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