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Do you see yourself working in a role that will help to look after the planet? Get trained for work in the renewables industry and you'll have the skills to do it. In just a few short months from now, you could be helping people in the UK or abroad to reduce the amount of CO2 they consume, and cut their energy bills considerably. Fuel prices are continuing to rise as gas and oil is steadily running out. Our homes cost too much to run and keep warm, and they give off too much CO2.
Members of the public are being urged to ease back on their consumption, and look to efficient renewable energy sources. In Britain grants of up to 80 per cent are being made available (and in some instances 100 per cent) to cover the labour costs of certain energy efficient improvements. This is both beneficial for the environment, and for the appropriately qualified tradesmen and women who can carry out the work. And so it makes a lot of sense to add some training on renewable energy to any regular electrical or plumbing course you do.
If you're already in the trade, you can tune-up your knowledge and add to your current offering.
Green technology uses the earth's natural resources and converts them into usable energy. We can generate additional and efficient power supplies by utilising the sun, the tides and the wind. Clearly windmills have been in use for centuries, as have waterwheels - but neither are very practical for most domestic homes. Equipment that captures energy from the sun however can be perfect for most houses. That's why there's a need for skilled workers with green certifications.
Solar water heating collectors absorb energy from the sun and convert it into hot water. Systems have been on sale in the UK for several decades, and the technology is now well understood. They can't provide for all the hot water needs for families in the UK, but in summer they can supply a significant amount of it. This lessens their impact on the environment by reducing carbon dioxide emissions by something like 400 to 750 kg a year. We can choose either flat or tubular collection systems. They should be fitted to roofs that are ideally facing towards the south.
Solar electricity systems are used to gather the sun's energy via PV (photovoltaic) cells. Once again, the panels should be fitted to a south facing roof or wall, along with an inverter in the loft to convert the DC electric current to AC. This solar PV electricity can be used for lighting and for various appliances. Users of solar electricity will not only reduce their carbon footprint, they'll also cut their electricity bills by over a third.
Anyone with a system that produces more electricity than the household consumes can automatically sell their excess to the national grid. This year (2010) the government has stepped in to increase the amount of money energy companies have to pay for this recycled electricity. Planning permission isn't usually needed to install PV cells, although listed buildings and houses in conservation areas should check with their local authorities.
Ground source heat (which in Britain remains fairly constant at twelve degrees centigrade) can be used to create electricity and warm water.
Collector piping is placed down in the earth and fed with a special non-damaging solution that can't freeze. The solution flows through the pipes and collects heat which is taken to the heat pump. Homes with underfloor heating will notice the biggest benefits that heat pumps can bring.
If consumers choose a ground source heat pump system to replace electric radiators, they'll find the new system much more efficient.
The right 'green energy' course will cover everything you need to pursue a worthwhile career in domestic renewable energy. Naturally you'll be taught the necessary electrical skills, and the basics of domestic plumbing. You'll also look into the various energy efficient systems - how they work and how to install them. Most of the domestic interest in the renewables market is focused on solar thermal solutions and heat pumps. It makes commercial sense to concentrate on these.
Essentially, courses are there to equip you for work - so all parts of your training should lead to industry recognised qualifications. Most green courses will include optional training on installing and maintaining various types of Rainwater Harvesting Systems that are commonly used in the UK.
The law now dictates that all homes sold in Britain must supply the new owners with an Energy Performance Certificate to illustrate energy usage and where efficiencies can be made. Often more modern or alternative equipment can lower running costs significantly. And up to 80 per cent of the cost of installation work can often be claimed from the government if owners have 'green' systems fitted by qualified professionals.
And that's not all. By the year 2016, the law states that all new houses will have to produce a minimum of 15 per cent of their energy from replenishable supplies. The time is quickly coming when everyone will be looking for alternative energy solutions for their homes. Demand for skilled installers is about to soar!