Power is a critical resource and a requisite ingredient for industrial as well as general socioeconomic development of a society. Its availability, accessibility and affordability determine a country’s economic growth and development rate. This in turn directly impacts upon the cost and standards of living of the people in a country. In reality, the negative impacts of high costs of power are borne by the majority poor in a typical economy. The purpose of this paper is to identify cheap power sources for a small house project planned for by the university.
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Green and Non-Green power
Environment and power which is continuously required for various socioeconomic activities are intricately related. Consequently, there is need to ensure that possible negative effects of various sources of power upon the environment are minimum and lessened accordingly where they are excess. Shekhar (2007) explains that there exists a reciprocal relationship between the environment and technology and that if the environment is to keep on supporting life, it must be safe from harmful consequences of our activities.
Race for Green power
Following the massive environmental pollution that accompanied industrial revolution in Europe and North America during the 17th and 18th Centuries, which is attributable to certain sources of power used by industrialists, there has been a concerted clamour for power sources that are less pollutant to the environment. In addition to being less pollutant, countries are seeking power sources that are cheap and that can support sustainable development.
Currently, more and more societies in both the industrialized as well as the industrializing economies are striving to increase consumption of green power which is environmental friendly and readily available. Shekhar (2007) points out that unconventional energy sources are being encouraged all over the world to substitute the pollutant fossil fuels. Race for less pollutant sources of power have in particular been accelerated by global climate change whose adverse effects are far reaching up on those who are least responsible.
Evidence available for instance shows that if subjected to a circumstance that requires choosing between green and non-green options, customers in countries like UK and USA would readily opt for green power and be ready to pay something more for it (Folmer and Tietenberg 2002, p. 59; Redlinger et al. 2002, p.146).
Kats et al. (2010, p.20) argues that green buildings make up an important and growing percentage of the market for new renewable power and are helping in reducing carbon dioxide emissions and drive expanded erection of renewable-energy fittings. Green buildings have an indirect energy savings according to these authors compared to conventional buildings.
Green power in UK
In the UK, green power market has evolved considerably in the recent past. Elliott (2003, p. 288) points out that the Renewable Energy Company was set up at Stroud area in Western England and it has evolved as Eco-tricity, offering green power nationally. A number of other private green power retail organizations have also emerged. Elliott (2003, p. 288) further argues that success of future green power schemes will depend on the prevailing market conditions as well as the availability of green energy supplies at reasonable prices.
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Portable Power Sources for the small house project
There are varieties of portable power source devices in the market which can be relied upon in taking care of energy needs for the small house project. They range from those that are effective in charging electronics such as laptops, desktops, mobile phones, and iPods and that are efficient and economical in providing for lighting and other power needs of a small house.
Of great importance is that most of them are green power devices since most of them use solar energy and other forms of renewable energy such as wind. This task will identify some companies that manufacture portable power products and the most suitable portable power sources for the small house project planned by the university
Northern Tool + Equipment Ltd offers a variety of portable generators from which a suitable and cheap generator to take care for the lighting requirements of the small house project can be purchased. They have portable generators of a capacity that ranges from 1200 Surge Watts, 1000 Rated Watts and above.
Their prices are competitive starting at $ 149.99 dollars and above. The All Power America 2-Stroke Portable Generator-1200 Watts,1000 Watts ,Model APG-3004D for instance is cheap and can readily provide for the power needs of a small house. It can run for eight and a half hour at a half load and has a capacity of 1.2 litres and comes with twelve months manufacturer warranty for parts and labour. It has a low noise level meaning that it is eco-friendly.
All Power America Portable Generator-2000 Surge Watts, 1400 Rated Watts, and Model APG-3014 is another alternative that can take care of the lighting and other power needs of a small house. It costs $249 meaning that it is above the All Power America 2-Stroke Portable Generator-1200 Surge Watts, 1000 Rated Watts, Model APG-3004D by $ 100 in terms of cost. However, its slightly higher cost is worth its strengths and advantages compared to other models available in the market.
It provides up to 9 hours of run time at 50% load courtesy of its 1.3 (gal.) fuel capacity. It comes with a twelve months manufacturer warranty for parts and labour. Comparatively, it can serve lighting and power needs for the small house project better than All Power America 2-Stroke Portable Generator-1200 Watts, 1000 Watts, Model APG-3004D despite its higher cost since an extremely cheaper source may prove expensive in the long run.
There are also green and non-green power heaters which can take care of the heating needs of a small house. SolarHome ltd is an organization that deals with solar power products and offers reliable solar power heaters as well as other solar power systems including solar power lighting, appliances and panels. Solarhome offers solar power heaters that heat air and that heat liquids. It has brands such as ceramic heaters, electric heaters, mecathermic heaters, outdoor heaters and reflective heaters. Most of these are portable and convenient for use in a small house.
Powertraveller Ltd based in Hampshire UK is one of the leading companies that specialize in designing and developing portable power sources which can prove handy in taking care for the charging needs of a small house like the one planned for by the university. The company offers competitive products such as powermonkey classic, powermonkey explorer, solarmonkey and Solanut, powergorrilla, Solargorrilla, uvmonkey and motormonkey. In this age of absolute reliance on computers both at the workplace and at home, Powertraveller products can be helpful for a small house.
Powergorrilla laptop charger
Powergorrilla is a portable laptop charger. This particular charger is designed to sustain a laptop for 2-5 hours while in use and for more than 20 hours in other devises that are electronic. The charger goes for $ 150 only including 20% VAT. The device has superior safety features which enhance its durability thus giving value for your money. Powergorrilla is a reliable power solution for laptop usage at home and away. Comparatively, it is better off than Solargorrilla especially because of the prolonged time it can support your electronics.
Solargorrilla is a portable power product which is a feasible charging alternative for laptops below 40-watts capacity. Its major strength rests on its ability to charge electronics such as mobile phones and iPods on a 5-volt USB output. In our case Solargorrilla can provide cheap power source for charging electronics at the house and as well as when one is travelling; the device at the Powertraveller e-store costs $140 only. It has superior features which includes sturdy rubberized covering, transportable fold-up design, water resistant design 20V power socket out and a standard five-Volts USB socket and weighs only eight hundred and twenty grammes.
Solarmonkey and Solanut
It is another portable power product manufactured by Powertraveller which is definitely suitable for the small house project. It is portable and supplies your gadgets and electronics with power directly from the sun. In conjunction with Solanut, you can connect them directly to your electronics even where you do not have batteries or a power supply.
This particular devise is normally connected to two panels of solar that enable them to generate electric current which in turn charges your devices that are electronic. Solanut stores excessive solar power which enhances usage of your solarmonkey in case a sunny day turns cloudy. Thus, charging your electronics goes on uninterrupted.
At home, solarmonkey courtesy of its accompanying Solanut can prove hardy especially during cloudy days. Solarnut can also stand alone as an emergency charger able to.give you an average of fifteen minutes talking time on your phone. Powertraveller advises that in order to make sure that solarmonkey serves you well you should charge it consistently, that is at least once after every two to three months. It sells at $35 only including a 20% VAT.
Duracell Powerpack 300
This is a portable power source made by Duracell power Ltd. It is useful at home, on the road and at remote locations. It is made for use as a sole source of portable power on electronics like mobile phones, laptops, TV and others that use AC and DC power. This particular portable devise has a 300 Watts capacity which is in form of AC power and is normally used in boosting and operating electronic devises during times of power blackout thus ensuring electricity supply. Duracell Powerpack 300 sells at $129.99 when shopped directly from the Duracell direct e-store.
Duracell Powerpack 450
Duracell Powerpack 450 is another portable power source from Duracell Power Ltd which provides power for electronics and devices that use AC and DC power. It is a great companion for your portable generators. It provides 450 Watts of household power with two 120 V AC power outlets and one 12 V DC power outlet. It sells at $ 169.99 and comes with one year manufacturer’s warranty. Given its superior features especially power capacity it is better than Duracell Powerpack 300.
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Apart from Northern Tool + Equipment Ltd, Powertraveller Ltd and Duracell Power Ltd, there are other various independent organizations in UK from where competitive products for this project can be sought. They include organizations such as ehow Ltd, Portablepowersupplies Ltd and Calendarlady among others.
Advantages of Portable power sources
There are numerous advantages and benefits that accrue from portable power sources. Enviromenntally, green portable power sources are helpful in mitigating contamination of our immediate environments at home and beyond. Portable solar power devices for instance are important in terms of lessening pollution of our surroundings at home as opposed to fossil fuels. Financial wise a number of them are cheap to buy and to maintain in comparison to conventional sources of power.
Portable power sources are convenient since they are easy to carry for use at remote locations and other places near our homes. Thus, they facilitate use of home and in-house power tools carrying out significant activities. Portable power sources enables you to remain connected and informed through you laptop and TV.
Portable power sources are also reliable in terms of response to emergency cases at home and remote locations. For instance, portable generators at home insulate us from power outage thus ensuring that we are always supplied with power needed by our families and homes. And since they can easily be wheeled from one place to another they provide ideal power for electric lawn mowers, hedge trimmers, edges, circular saws, drills, cement mixers, electric chain saws and other home power tools (Popular Mechanics 1980).
Portable power sources have an advantage of low energy consumption and that means lower maintenance costs. Electric radiant heaters are for instance popular because of their economical consumption of electric power. They consume as low as 700 to 1000 Watts to heat up a standard room. When temperatures are lesser than 32 degrees Celsius, an electric radiant heater uses about 650 Watts to heat an average room. They can therefore be used with portable generators conveniently.
UK market offers various alternatives of portable power sources, which suits the needs of a small house as well as bigger projects. They come in a variety of green power and non green power and as noted earlier the green power market is growing in the UK. Gradually, consumers both as individuals as well as businesses are embracing green power sources which are friendly to the environment which impacts directly on their well being. Cost and suitability of portable power sources available in the market to small house project largely influences what we get for the project. Thus, enough time should be taken to sampling and comparing prices and suitability.
The concerned stakeholders led by the government should encourage use of green power energy which is eco-friendly. The can be encouraged through creation of a conducive environment in which emerging organizations can thrive. For instance, new entrants can be exempted from certain taxes and access to low interest loans be made available for them. Such incentives will motivate their ventures which in turn will ensure a higher supply of green power in the market. With a higher supply, prices will drop and many people will afford it and safe our environment from adverse effects of usual sources of power.
Elliott, D., (2003) Energy, society, and environment: technology for a sustainable future. New York: Routledge.
Folmer, H., and Tietenberg, T., (2002) The International Yearbook of Environmental and Resource Economics 2001/2002: A Survey of Current Issues. Williston, VT: Edward Elgar Publishing.
Kats, G., Braman, J., and James, M.J., (2010) Greening our built world: costs, benefits, and strategies. Hamilton, HM: Island Press.
Popular Mechanics. (1980) Now Protect your Home Against Power Failures! With the New ‘Two-In-One’ Home Emergency Power Generator by Kohler for Garden Way. Popular Mechanics, Vol.2, No.15.
Redlinger, R. Y.et al. (2002) Wind energy in the 21st century: economics, policy, technology, and the changing electricity industry. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Shekhar, N., (2007).The Mutual Relationship of Environment and Technology. Pratiyogita Darpan, Vol. 2, No. 15 p.524.