What is Energy?

ResidentialCalendarNovember 16, 2018

Did you know that without energy, literally, nothing would exist? It’s one of the most important things in our universe, but what is it exactly?

In this article, we’ll explain what energy is. We’ll also talk about the different forms of energy that are out there and how they impact the world around us.

What Is Energy?

Energy is the ability to do work

So what is work? Work is the ability to move against a force. When a bird is flying, it’s using motion and work to fight against the force of gravity in order to keep itself airborne. Your car does the same thing when you push the gas pedal to get up the hill. Every time you do a pushup you’re working to create enough motion to push your body up away from the ground.

All of these are examples of work creating motion.

All of these require energy.

Different types of objects require different forms of energy. For example, a body in motion uses kinetic energy. Meaning the body itself has some sort of energy that is causing it to move. That may be an external force such as something pushing it, but it may also be an internal force that causes the body to propel itself. There’s also chemical energy. When you burn wood you’re using energy to fundamentally turn wood into ash. An example of thermal energy (when you change the temperature of something) is heating up a pot of water.

Every one of these types of energy is necessary to do something. We need energy to move, to cook, to breathe, to play video games, to drive and to live. Without energy, everything would be motionless forever. In fact, if we didn’t have energy, nothing would exist.

Crazy right?

Now, let’s explain how we can categorize energy, as there are many sources of energy.

Types Of Nonrenewable Energy

Nonrenewable energy is any kind of energy that comes from a nonrenewable source.

Types of nonrenewable energy include:

  • Petroleum products
  • Hydrocarbon gas liquids (Propane, butane, ethylene etc)
  • Natural gas
  • Coal
  • Nuclear Energy

Most of these nonrenewable sources of energy are called fossil fuels because they were created in the earth over millions of years. Once we deplete these resources, they are gone forever, or at least, it will take longer than humanity’s timetable to replenish themselves.

As of 2017, 37% of US energy consumption came from petroleum, 29% came from natural gas, 14% came from coal, and 19% came from nuclear energy. That means that 89% of all US energy comes from nonrenewable sources.

Types Of Renewable Energy

Renewable sources of energy come from anything that can be replenished within the confines of humanity’s timetable.

Renewable sources of energy include:

  • Geothermal energy
  • Wind energy
  • Biomass
  • Hydropower
  • Solar energy

These sources are available almost always. We don’t have to worry that there won’t be sun tomorrow. We also don’t have to worry about running out of wind or heat from the Earth’s core.

Although we will not run out of these sources of energy, they only account for 11% of the energy we use in the US. Of that 11%, 2% is geothermal energy, 21% is wind energy, 4% is biomass, 21% is biofuels, 19% is wood, 25% us hydroelectric energy, and 6% is solar.

Our Energy Choices Affect The Environment

As we’ve discussed, some sources of energy are renewable while others are not. This is a benefit in favor of renewable energy. If we don’t have to worry about our sources of energy running out, we can power our homes, cars, and lives indefinitely.

But there is so much more to our energy choices than the amount of energy that’s available to us.

Our energy choices have an impact on our land, air, and water. Some energy sources affect one more than the others. Some affect our natural resources more greatly than others. But they all have an effect.

If we want clean air, clean water, and a healthy ecosystem, we need to start being more conscientious about our energy choices. The negative impact of fossil fuels has been well-established and well-documented for years. They worsen our air quality and they cause untold environmental devastation when there’s a leak on land or in water.

Vivint Solar works hard every day to give customers an affordable alternative to these harmful fossil fuels in the form of solar energy. The solar energy market is expanding rapidly and solar is more affordable than ever.

Speak with one of our solar energy reps today to learn whether solar is both a viable and affordable option for you!

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