Staying warm indoors when it gets cold outside is one of our more important concerns during the darker, colder winter months and having an environmentally friendly way to do that is becoming more and more important as the world’s natural resources are depleted. Yet despite the growing need to conserve fuel and use what we have wisely, there are millions of people living in urban areas that simply have no viable way to support this kind of sensible power usage.
The problems faced by city dwellers where power is concerned are mainly governed by the infrastructure that is in place and difficult or very expensive to change. Most cities rely heavily on electricity to supple homes with power for their needs including their heating and hot water systems and its generation is ever becoming a more expensive commodity.
Electricity for Heat
Most of the fuel used to create the electricity generated by power stations to serve the bulk of the country’s population comes from fossil fuels, or carbon based fuels that are taken from the earth including coal, oil and natural gas. Several decades ago when these fuels were plentiful and cheap, this wasn’t a problem and whole cities grew up around this form of power generation.
Families were spoiled with all manner of electrically powered appliances to make their lives more convenient and that also included electric heating devices from small space heaters, through to whole house central heating systems that included the facility to produce unlimited hot water for all those lovely showers and baths that people like to take every day.
Unfortunately, this good thing didn’t last and as oil and natural gas supplies started to dwindle the price rose and suddenly, toward the end of the twentieth century, electricity was no longer cheap. Alternatives needed to be found for sure and they are being found but the major problem for those living in the city is they are still largely reliant on electricity for all their homes’ power needs.
For those living in rural areas, the abundance of alternative fuels such as wood for wood burning furnaces and stoves means that reliance on the more expensive and resource hungry electrical power supply is much less. Access to cheaper coal is another bonus that city dwellers cannot enjoy so much since it costs more to deliver this fuel in cities due to traffic congestion and lack of parking for the delivery trucks, plus the fact that wages are higher and so drivers demand greater recompense for delivering to city addresses.
Renewable energy sources have been found and are being employed but their growth is painfully slow and still only makes up less than 5% of the entire country’s power needs. Wind farms, solar voltaic electricity farms and hydro power stations are being built and put to use, but we need more of them fast!
One way that people living outside the city can help themselves is by generating their own electricity by putting up solar panels in areas that get lots of sunshine or even installing small wind turbines on their property. When you generate more electricity than you use, you can sell some of it to the power companies and help keep the power flowing through the country that way.
Portable Heating using Propane
One way in which city and town dwellers can cut their reliance on electricity for heat is to use small, portable propane fueled heaters (see: http://portable-propane-heater.blogspot.com for more details). These small units can deliver a lot of heat cheaply and readily without adding to the drain on the electric supply in urban areas.
Propane is a useful and portable fuel that can be used to run modified gen sets in rural areas or wherever they are needed as backup for those time when we get blackouts. Having one or more of these small units can literally be a life saver during times of power shortages and outages during the coldest months especially for the elderly and infirm who suffer most when the temperature drops during winter.
These are some things worth considering next time you switch on that energy hungry appliance. Ask yourself if you really need to use it. And if you don’t, why not save a little energy?
You can do your small but not insignificant bit to help the environment and conserve our resources for generations to come. Read this article on climate change and what you can do to stay warm when it gets cold.