Renewable energy resources that are commonly used for construction applications include solar, wind, geothermal and biomass energy. Examples of renewable energy sources include wind energy, solar energy, bioenergy (organic matter burned as fuel) and hydroelectric power, including tidal energy. Green energy solutions are used in buildings that range from large office blocks to people's homes. Solar energy generates electricity by capturing sunlight on solar panels in a joint chemical and physical reaction, known as the “photovoltaic effect” (or PV).
With design applications for passive solar systems, solar heat gains from solar energy can be increased during the winter months. The use of a building shape and housing to accept, store and distribute energy from renewable sources appropriate to buildings is commonly defined as passive solar design. Shading, reflection of solar heat, insulation of the building element, floor cooling, wind cooling, water cooling, evaporative cooling, dehumidification, night radiant cooling, nighttime cooling of the thermal mass of buildings, exotic methods of passive cooling and seasonal cold storage. Currently, wind farms are considered to be the most efficient source of green energy, since they require less refining and processing than the production of, for example, solar panels.
Find out what green energy rates are and how to tell the difference between real green rates and “greenwashed” rates. Other factors also favor green energy, such as the ability to produce relatively cheap localized energy solutions, such as solar farms. Therefore, while most green energy sources are renewable, not all renewable energy sources are considered green. By converting solar radiation into thermal energy through collectors, solar heating systems can heat water, air, etc.
The fundamental concept of using solar energy for heating is to design the elements that shape the exterior of the building for this purpose (the roof, walls and floor are insulated at a high level) and allow the maximum possible use of solar radiation. Active solar systems are distinguished from passive systems, which use the structure of the building, in terms of collecting solar energy, storing accumulated heat and distributing heat to spaces. As an energy source, green energy often comes from renewable energy technologies such as solar energy, wind energy, geothermal energy, biomass, and hydropower.