Green technology is a continuously evolving group of methods of using materials that are being disposed of and recycling them to be used for other things that will not harm the environment. Building materials and landscaping are just a couple of things that can be done with waste materials. Things that can be recycled so that we can reuse them for generating energy to nontoxic cleaning products and other non-harmful things-things that could/can be harmful to our planet, ozone, and environment. We need to find things that we can do to help clean up our environment and planet before we totally destroy what is left of it. By using green technology, we can “[meet] the needs of society in ways that will continue indefinitely into the future and without damaging or depleting natural resources.” (Green technology, 2010)
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Examples of green technology are energy, green building, environmentally preferred purchasing, green chemistry, and green nanotechnology. All of these resources can keep our planet clean and we will be able to recycle smartly. We will be able to use, then re-use, as needed. As we build and use, we will be able to tear down what we have built and reuse the waste for other things.
According to Green-technology.org, here are the definitions of the examples from above:
Energy – the development of alternative fuels, new means of generating energy and energy efficiency.
Green building – encompasses everything from the choice of building materials to where a building is located.
Environmentally Preferred Purchasing (EPP) – government innovation that involves the search for products whose contents and methods of production have the smallest possible impact on the environment and mandates that these be the preferred products for government purchasing.
Green-chemistry – the invention, design, and application of chemical products and processes to reduce or eliminate the use and generation of hazardous substances.
Green nanotechnology – the application of green chemistry and green engineering principals in the field of manipulation of materials at the scale of the nanometer (one billionth of a meter).
Green energy is the use of alternative energy other than gasoline. One such alternative is ethanol and corn fuels. These burn cleaner than gas and, in today’s automobiles these fuels even provide greater fuel mileage. This has been a concern of consumers for a long time. However, in older model cars, these types of fuels do not work and dry out piston rings but car manufacturers are remedying this and designing cars to run on ethanol and corn fuels. This technology is already being used today. Even battery powered cars are on the roads; cars that don’t use any type of fuel except battery power. This is another form of green technology.
Solar heat and power are another form of energy that is “green”. Solar heat can be captured to heat water. This type of energy is already being implemented in the world today. Solar panels capture the sun’s heat and this is used to heat water plus used for power to run lights in homes. Some homes are totally powered by solar panels as are prototype solar cars. Even geothermal energy is used in certain geographical areas of the world to run generators by steam. Wind power also runs many items, including homes that would normally rely on electricity to power lights, appliances, etc. “Manyâ€¦fields of wind turbines are being built in areas of the world to take advantage of constant winds to provide economical and sustainable energy.” (EzineArticles, 2010, para. 4)
Another source of green energy would be the use of a Magnetic Power Generator (MPG). This would produce free energy indefinitely and power a whole house. This device would not cost much to build-not thousands of dollars-and if you are a “do it yourself” type of person, you could make one for fairly cheap.
According to Greendepot.com, “Green building practices, as well as the selection of the appropriate building materials, revolve around a few basic principles of science.” (Greendepot, 2010). Using recycled materials to build will result in a totally “green” building with all parts of the building originating from recycled material from the floor to the walls, ceilings, cabinets, and even furniture can be made from recycled material and when old, can be recycled again.
Not only can we build from recycled materials but we can do just about anything with those materials from building homes to landscaping. One material that is being used for home building is called Durisol. These are “hollow-core blocks [that] are made from mineralized wood shavings and portland cement, stacked into walls then finished with reinforcing steel and concrete.” (Greendepot, 2010)
Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP) helps the federal government “buy green” and uses the government’s buying power “to stimulate market demand for green products and services.” (epa.gov, 2010) It helps agencies within the federal government comply with green requirements and agencies are directed by federal law and such to purchase things with the environment in mind. The EPA created the EPP in 1993 to help meet the already mentioned requirements.
Green chemistry reduces or eliminates the use of hazardous substances. It “applies across the life cycle of a chemical product, including its design, manufacture, and use” (epa.gov, 2010) It reduces or eliminates negative environmental impact and is an effective approach to pollution prevention because it applies solutions to environmental problems and situations.
The 12 Principles of Green Chemistry was originally published by Paul Anastas and John Warner in Green Chemistry: Theory and Practice (Oxford University Press: New York, 1998) and provides a guide for chemists to implement Green Technology” (epa.org, 2010). The twelve principles are as follows:
Less Hazardous Chemical Synthesis
Designing Safer Chemicals
Safer Solvents and Auxiliaries
Design for Energy Efficiency
Use of Reusable Feedstock
Design for Degradation
Real-time Analysis for Pollution Prevention
Inherently Safer Chemistry for Accidental Prevention
(Anastas, P.T; Warner, J.C.; Green, 1998)
Currently, China is a world leader in the manufacture of solar panels and research into carbon capture, the process of burning coal while not emitting greenhouse gases. This country is providing a model of how countries should foster a green economy.(RONAN McGREEVY. (2010, November 13)
Nanotechnology is defined as “the art and science of manipulating matter at the nanoscale to create new and unique products and materials.” (Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies, 2010). The nanoscale is the scale of atoms and molecules. As products are made using the nanometer-scale, there is a growing demand for this technology to help clean up the environment by reducing pollution and trying to produce a cleaner environment and economy. It is easier than we may think.
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Experiments with nanotechnology are happening all the time. Using this nanotechnology, science has been experimenting on all types of things. From using DNA molecules in processes to building nanoscale patterns on silicon chips and other surfaces to print things (versus lithography) to removing arsenic in a solution base and by being able to “detect pollutants at the level of parts per billion.” (Project on Emerging Technology – nano (2007, April 26).
Nanotechnology has opened promising routes to improving and lowering the cost of fuel cells and is leaning toward tools for removing toxic and hazardous materials in waste sites. This kind of technology is essential if we are going to clean up our planet and it is a growing technology to be sure and, according to Lux Research, in 2005, more than $30 billion in nanotech products were sold globally. This figure is estimated to grow to $2.6 trillion by the year 2014.
Green technology is an every-growing technology to find what is best for our planet and its continued survival and evolution. We cannot continue down the path we started on years and years ago or we will not have a planet that will sustain life. Using green technology will allow us to clean up our rivers, lakes and waterways as well as our environment. Recycling is one way to do this. Not only does this help us use waste materials but it keeps these waste materials out of dumps and landfills.
Even appliances are going green. A plug, developed by 2 brothers, called the GreenPlug, plugs into a normal wall outlet, between the wall and the appliance, and stops excess power to the appliance. It stops the flow of unused energy to the appliance thus saving on energy and power. The GreenPlug helps appliances cut down on the amount of energy that they consume and it will add to the life of older appliances as well.
There are hopes that green technology can jump-start the economy which has been failing and struggling. By implementing green technology, it is going to be “the next global job and wealth creation engine.” (McNally, S., 2009)
But green technology has a long way to go before it can become a key in the economy. It has not been around long enough to make an effect as yet. Green technology is still so new that it is going to take a long while before it will put any kind of dent in the recession we are currently in. It is going to take a lot of initiative on the parts of companies; both small and large.
Green technology will more than likely come first to the health and transportation sector as both are made more efficient by governments. The economic downturn makes companies more susceptible to change and change, like green technology, will probably be embraced quickly because of the openness for change that is currently felt all over the world.
There are so many ways that we have already begun to use this technology. The postal service in Key West, Florida, for example, has begun using electric delivery carts instead of automobiles. Not only the postal service but other government agencies as well are trying to make transportation eco-friendly. Other areas are seeing solar power as an alternative to electricity. There are solar powered homes, businesses, and just recently, electronics are becoming solar powered. Like the world’s first solar powered keyboard made my Logitech. It is also wireless which means it can be completely recharged just by putting it in the sun or any other light source. Every part of the keyboard, including the packaging, is recyclable making the first “green” keyboard.
As we continue to evolve, so does the world around us. In order for this world and planet to get cleaned up, we need to keep experimenting with the things that will ultimately make this world cleaner and better. All the cleaning up in the world makes no difference if we do not have a plan to “turn green” and make things eco-friendly.
We will always have some sort of solid waste but even some of that can be turned into something that is usable and reusable. Even sewage can be used as a means of a heat source. Cleaning up our planet is of the utmost importance and finding new way to do that can be done. Recycling and e-cycling need to be important and we need to pursue and continue to pursue every avenue until this planet goes totally green. That is our future; our goal.
Social awareness about the need for cleaner, environmentally-friendly products and services is crucial if we are to clean up our environment. Academically, green technology needs to be taught to our children as well as learning about it ourselves. It should be mandatory that our children be taught; not only our elementary children but college students as well.
“The industrial segment needs to be pushed forward to come out with more environment-friendly production and consumption processes. Various incentives need to be given to the industrial sector, which is ready to innovate and implement green technology.” (Green technology is the future at large. (2010, November 14). Businesses need to “man up” and do their part as well by going green and having their employees do the same and give incentives for doing so. We all have to start somewhere and the big and small businesses need to do their part too.
By recycling products that we use every day, we come closer to turning our environment green and cleaning up our world. Other countries need to know this technology and need to implement it. Without the technology, we will inevitably end up destroying ourselves and our planet. Going green with green technology is the only viable conclusion.
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