United States Carbon: Climate Change

Levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases (ghg) in the atmosphere have increased dramatically in the past few decades. Solar energy is a renewable resource available within every geographic region of the U.S. with great potential to significantly reduce our nation’s ghg emissions.

Quick Facts

  • Top sectors producing ghg emissions in the U.S.: the electric power industry (33%), transportation (28%), industry (20%), and commercial and residential combined (11%)
  • Both concentrating solar power (CSP) and photovoltaic (PV) technologies produce clean, emissions-free electricity that can help reduce U.S. ghg emissions
  • Solar heating and cooling systems can provide about 80% of the energy used for space heating and water heating needs.

Overview

Many scientists now agree that climate change is caused by an increase of greenhouse gas (ghg) emissions in the atmosphere. The ghg emissions in the United States come from a variety of different economic sectors, with the most prominent sectors being the electric power industry (33%), followed by transportation (28%), then industry (20%), and commercial and residential combined (11%).[1] While there may be not be one technology that can reduce all U.S. ghg emissions to zero, solar technologies come close. Solar energy is a solution to climate change and can significantly reduce emissions in each of these sectors.

Electric Sector

More than a third of U.S. ghg emissions result from the burning of fossil fuels for electricity usage in buildings and homes. Both Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) and Photovoltaic (PV) technologies produce clean, emissions-free electricity and can feed this electricity right back into the U.S. grid. Solar Heating and Cooling (SHC) technologies can also be used to displace the need for electricity. As of Q1 2013, the U.S. now has over 8,500 MW of cumulative installed solar electric capacity, enough to power more than 1.3 million average American homes.[2]

Transportation Sector

Electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids are widely seen as one of the near-term climate change solutions in the transportation sector, especially when these vehicles are charged by a station powered by solar energy.

Industrial Sector

The U.S. is a highly industrialized country, and therefore a large portion of our ghg emissions stem from the industrial sector. The manufacturing of common materials such as aluminum and steel are energy intensive and generate high levels of ghg emissions. One of the main uses for energy in the industrial sector is for boiler fuel, meaning that energy is needed to generate steam or heat water, which is then transferred to a boiler vessel.  Another use for energy is for process heating, when energy is directly used to raise the temperature in a manufacturing process, such as in drying paint in the automobile industry, and cooking packaged foods.[3] Solar energy can offset the need for fossil fuels by generating high-temperature and medium-temperature heat from CSP and SHC technologies.

Commercial and Residential Sectors

The commercial sector includes buildings such as offices, malls, warehouses, schools, restaurants, and hospitals, while the residential sector consists of homes and apartments. Both commercial and residential buildings spend the majority of the energy consumed on space heating, space cooling, and water heating. This is a perfect application for SHC technologies, as the SHC systems can provide about 80% of the energy used for space heating and water heating needs. Furthermore, solar air conditioning can be used as a clean, emissions-free solution to meet cooling needs instead of using electricity.

Life-Cycle Assessment

Solar produces less life-cycle ghg emissions than conventional fossil fuel energy sources.[4] While there may be some ghg emissions produced during the manufacturing and recycling of the solar system, the generation of energy from the solar system results in zero ghg emissions and zero environmental impact.

To learn more about United States Carbon and our energy reduction technology that will help you become greener, cleaner, and more socially responsible please contact us at (855) 393-7555 or visit our website: www.unitedstatescarbon.com

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2 thoughts on “United States Carbon: Climate Change

  1. Pingback: United States Carbon: NYC Gets First Net-Zero Energy School | United States Carbon

  2. Pingback: United States Carbon: Buildings Account for 39% of CO 2 emissions in the United States | United States Carbon LLC

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