Green Research Projects
Green projects around the world are benefiting with GIS technology because it is so versatile, and has a lot to offer in the renewable energy field.
One of the exciting ways that GIS is helping green projects is with wind maps. A wind map shows the average wind speeds of an area which can be used to find the best place to install a wind turbine farm. They can also show what wind speeds are like at different elevations helping researchers determine how tall the wind generator should be for the best results. This helps cut costs by revealing the areas with the greatest wind energy potential.
Wind maps can also reveal the frequency of wind-related dangers such as tornadoes and hurricanes. This allows engineers to design and construct more durable wind farms that can handle these types of conditions. Geographical information systems can also reveal information on the land that might prohibit the building of the wind farm, for instance, is the area prone to flooding, or is it to far away from transmission lines to be a feasible project.
By combining a wind map with a solar map, researchers can calculate if wind turbines or solar panels would be more beneficial, or maybe a combination of the two technologies working together.
Solar panels can also benefit from the many features that GIS has to offer. There are several factors to consider when installing solar panels such as solar intensity, the amount of daily light the panels receive, the average temperature of the area, and cloud coverage. All of these parameters can increase or reduce the effectiveness of the solar panels. With GIS, these parameters can be placed on a map as separate layers, and combined to show the investors where the most productive areas for solar panels are located.
Solar maps can reveal how much solar energy an area receives on an annual basis. By combining solar maps with digital elevation maps and aerial maps, researchers can determine if a building has enough surface area on the roof to install solar panels. You can also see if there are any obstacles such as trees or buildings that might limit the amount of light that the roof is receiving.
Check your home's energy efficiency. Replace any insulation which will be allowing heat to escape. Check doors and windows for cracks in panes, sealant fails, or perhaps holes. These tiny repairs will all save huge on heating and air conditioning costs.
One of the effective and best ways in which to create a green home is to truly surround it with green! Planting a tree outside can produce shade in the summer, and will reduce cooling costs by up to 25%. Trees and shrubs will also block heavy winds from your home, which prevents them from coming in through compromised windows or leaks in your doors. This may save on your heating costs by up to 20%.
As you can see, digital maps can provide a wealth of information that can greatly benefit green projects by revealing the best areas to install the wind and solar farms and revealing hidden dangers that could make some places less than ideal for green projects. GIS is a powerful support tool that can contribute to a greener earth.