For a year now, solar panels have produced approximately one third of the electricity needed for Leo Stranius, the Executive Director of the Association for Nature Conservation.
Wind power produces the rest. My district heating is produced using pellets, and the solar panel in my backpack charges my mobile and my laptop. Energy-related choices have become personal.
The environmental impact of our specific energy consumption is of interest to individuals and companies alike. However, unproblematic energy production does not exist. All renewable energy sources have adverse effects on the environment.
Solar panel production requires rare metals. Quarrying these metals strains natural resources. Wind power causes landscape and noise issues.
The use of bioenergy is a threat to the diversity of our forests, and water power ruins the wildlife of our rapids.
One good way to tackle such adverse effects is to ensure that all energy has been labelled as “EKOenergia” by the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation. However, minimising your energy consumption is the most effective method in terms of the environment and the economy.
You can increase energy efficiency by utilising the residual heat generated by equipment in properties. Finnish company Polarsol, for example, has developed a hybrid heating system where one device is used to collect all property heat energy, including solar power energy, wind power energy and residual property energy.
New systems can also be used to collect energy from effluent discharged into the sewer. Moreover, properties can install thermal batteries to store heat energy for cold, dark weather periods.
In the future, my home and office will only spend a little energy, and produce all of it independently. In addition to the solar panels in my clothing, the energy I create by walking and bicycling will also be collected.
The author is the Executive Director of the Association for Nature Conservation.