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Experiment Uses Machine Learning to Identify U.S. Solar Panels

March 2nd, 2019 Posted by Environmental News No Comment yet

Last December, Stanford University scientists published a paper describing an experiment that used machine learning to locate nearly all U.S. solar panels. They hope the data will help them identify factors that promote solar energy and those that discourage it.

What is Machine Learning?

Machine learning is a growing field in technology, yet many people don’t know what it means. Like most scientific concepts, you can get different answers depending on whom you ask. However, we like the simple way that Emerj defines it:

“Machine Learning is the science of getting computers to learn and act like humans do, and improve their learning over time in autonomous fashion, by feeding them data and information in the form of observations and real-world interactions.”

The scientists from Stanford University created a machine learning program called DeepSolar. Then, they fed it 370,000 images, labeling each of them accordingly if they did or did not have a solar panel.

DeepSolar runs a complex algorithm that identifies patterns associated with solar panels, like color, texture, and size. That’s how it can analyze a completely new image and tell if it’s looking at a solar panel or not.

How Solar Panels Work

According to the Environmental Protection Agency of the United States, using renewable energy can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. Also known as “green power”, renewable energy comes from many sources like solar power, wind power, and geothermal technologies.

Solar panels are made of silicon cells and other materials with conductive properties. When exposed to the sun, they convert sunlight into electricity in the form of direct current (DC). Wires send the direct current to an inverter that transforms it into alternating current (AC), which you can use to power your home.

Study Findings

The experiment used high-resolution satellite images to identify 1.47 million solar panels in the contiguous 48 American states.

Among many other findings, the researchers discovered that household income is directly associated with the adoption of solar panels. However, it has less impact when it surpasses $150,000 a year.

The scientists also made another interesting discovery: There are areas with plenty of sunshine and high electricity rates where few people are using solar panels, even though the power bill savings would exceed the equipment costs. This may be caused by the upfront cost of solar panels.

Finally, the study concluded that once solar energy penetration reaches a certain level in a neighborhood, more people from the same area start adopting it.

 

CREED LA fights to ensure that developers pay fair wages to all the hard-working construction professionals throughout the industry while simultaneously providing them with quality health care, continued training, and trustworthy retirement plans. To learn more about how our non-profit organization supports those building a better, greener world for us all, contact CREED LA online or at (877) 810-7473.

How to Make Your Home Healthier for You and for the Planet

February 27th, 2019 Posted by Environment No Comment yet

Last December, the World Green Building Council published a guide outlining strategies to make homes healthier for people and for the planet. Here’s why these actions are important and what you can do to improve your home:

What is the World Green Building Council?

The World Green Building Council is an association that advocates for green buildings. Its mission is to drive the construction of green buildings for everyone by promoting sustainable practices and a healthy lifestyle.

Present in over 70 countries around the world, the World Green Building Council has a few goals:

  • Limit global temperature rises to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
  • Reduce the building and construction sector’s CO2 emissions by 84 gigatonnes.
  • Ensure all buildings are net zero emissions.

If you want to learn more about their initiatives, we encourage you to check out their website.

The Importance of Green Buildings

So, what is this green building thing and why does it matter?

While the construction industry is necessary for the development of our cities, it has a history of harming the environment. For example, energy use in buildings accounts for almost 40% of our carbon footprint. Buildings are also a major contributor to natural resource depletion, which is dangerous for both humans and other species.  

Green buildings employ construction techniques that can reduce or eliminate negative impacts on the environment without slowing down economic growth. In this link, you can learn more about the benefits of green buildings.

How to Make Your Home Healthier

The World Green Building Council’s guide focuses on three key features to make your home healthier: Air quality, thermal and acoustic comfort, and light.

Did you know that more than half of the air you breathe is inhaled inside your home? The problem is that cooking and heating can cause indoor air pollution, which is harmful to your health. Installing solar panels, improving your home’s ventilation, and reducing pollutants are all good strategies for fighting indoor air pollution.

Homes that are excessively noisy and too hot or too cold can have a negative impact on the health of its occupants. Poor thermal control is associated with respiratory illnesses, asthma, and mental health issues. You can avoid it by planting trees around your house, using shades to block unwanted sunlight, and painting your roof white.

Finally, install roof windows, choose more efficient LED light bulbs, and use dimming sensors to reduce energy waste. Living in a dark home contributes to headaches, insomnia, and seasonal affective disorder, which is why lighting is very important.

CREED LA fights to ensure that developers pay fair wages to all the hard-working construction professionals throughout the industry while simultaneously providing them with quality health care, continued training, and trustworthy retirement plans. To learn more about how our non-profit organization supports those building a better, greener world for us all, contact CREED LA online or at (877) 810-7473.

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