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Environmental Impact of Electric vs. Gas for Home Heating

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Jane Marsh's picture
Editor Environment.co

Jane Marsh is the Editor-in-Chief of Environment.co. She covers topics related to climate policy, sustainability, renewable energy and more.

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  • Aug 10, 2021 9:15 pm GMT
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President Biden recently enhanced the nation’s sustainability goals. He assigned trillions of funding dollars to the clean energy sector, increasing the eco-friendliness of America’s infrastructure. We can utilize technological advancements and sustainable practices to decrease our adverse environmental effects. 

 

Transitioning away from fossil fuel reliant energy towards renewable sources can improve conservation efforts. Biden plans on promoting the transformation by generating an electric grid. America can significantly decrease its greenhouse gas emissions by adopting electric, energy-efficient heating systems. 

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The Electric Grid

Generating an electric grid can significantly decrease our reliance on environmentally degrading technology. When powered by renewable energy sources, the grid can eliminate the industry’s greenhouse gas emissions. The transition will save residents money over time because of decreasing solar power prices.

 

Current fossil fuel prices reach up to 17 cents per kilowatt-hour of energy. Solar power is as low as three cents per kilowatt-hour, making it more ecologically and economically efficient. As environmental scientists and engineers improve storage technology, the grid can deliver clean energy based on real-time demands.

 

The conventional grid overproduces electricity, creating unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions and developing needs. Electric alternatives can generate and deliver energy on demand, responding to the consumer’s requests. Newly advanced storage technology helps individuals access non-emission generating power from off-site locations.

 

One company developed a mass storage facility in Monterey, California, using a repurposed power plant. Developers placed a 300-megawatt lithium-ion battery in an old smokestack, conserving renewable energy. America can develop the electric grid from the localized facility’s advancements, improving the eco-friendliness of energy distribution.  

Challenges With Gas Powered Heating

Many residents utilize gas-powered home heating systems, decreasing the sustainability of temperature control processes. Unlike electric versions, the heaters generate emissions when in use. Greenhouse gas emissions alter the atmosphere’s natural composition and increase Earth’s temperature over time.

 

Rising sea levels and global ecosystem degradation derive from the temperature alterations. Gas-powered systems also decrease a homeowner’s access to energy-efficient appliances. Many green devices are electric and only connect to sustainable power sources.

 

Limiting one’s access to energy-efficient appliances decreases a home’s sustainability. Expanding one’s reliance on fossil fuel-derived power increases their carbon footprint’s size.

Benefits of Natural Gas

Unlike coal-powered energy sources, natural gas is less ecologically degrading. Coal emits 228.6 pounds of greenhouse gases for every million British thermal units (BTU) burned. Natural gas-generated energy releases 117 pounds, significantly decreasing adverse environmental effects.

 

The cleaner energy source is also more cost-effective than alternatives. Residents can save over 30% on their utility bills when fueling heating units with natural gas. The majority of American buildings contain gas-powered systems, increasing the cost-effectiveness of maintenance.

 

Purchasing new electric systems is expensive and increases production and transportation emissions. Natural gas-fueled heating units also use less energy than electric versions. They may decrease a resident’s utility costs and shrink their carbon footprint over time.

The Case for Electric Heating

Electric furnaces are beneficial to homeowners because of their location diversity. Unlike gas-powered systems, residents can place an electric heater anywhere. They require no external vent connection, increasing their accessibility and aesthetic appeal.

The systems also generate zero emissions when in use. Conventional heating creates up to 50% of a homeowner’s utility costs. It also contributes to 441 million carbon emissions annually.

 

Residents can significantly reduce adverse ecological effects by adopting electric heating devices. They may further decrease emissions by powering their systems with renewable energy. The electric grid remains in the development stage, and homeowners can connect appliances to personal solar panels or wind turbines.

 

When powered with clean energy, heating systems can generate little to no greenhouse gas emissions. Unfortunately, conventional energy sources still derive from fossil fuels, limiting a home’s sustainability. Currently, natural gas-powered systems and electric versions have similar ecological impacts.

Fueling the Future

Once we establish the electric grid using renewable resources, electric heating will be the most sustainable temperature control option. We can expect a national transition away from fossil fuel-generated energy sources in the near future. Until then, residents can evaluate the efficiency of their home appliances, cutting back their uses of high emission devices. 

 

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Michael Keller's picture
Michael Keller on Aug 16, 2021

Electrical heating is significantly more expensive than using natural gas. Those of us in cold climates should not be forced to choose between allegedly  “saving the planet” and a much lower standard of living.

Your arguments strike me as propaganda for the green energy religion.

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