Energy is required for any sort of work, and for millennia, the human race has used primitive energy sources such as the manual labor of people and animals alike, such as for farming or making tools. By the 19th century, energy was transformed by the Industrial Revolution, where steam power allowed many machines and factories to be powered for vast amounts of work, and vehicles, too, made use of this power. Gone were the days of wind-powered ships or spinning wheels for textiles. In the 19th century, coal-powered steam was driving industry and technology forward, and later in that century, electricity entered the scene, such as with light bulbs thanks to the work of Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison. By the 20th century, electricity had established itself as the norm for powering many different things, and homes and public buildings routinely used electricity from the 1900s onward. But this power did not come from nowhere; by then, an electric service company would be the provider of power for any home or building, and related jobs such as backup generation services, electrical contractors, light fixture engineers, and more appeared as the 20th century progressed. And even today, in the 21st century, innovation with electricity continues. What might it look like?
Spending and Power
An electric service company is a business, and its generated power is a product to sell. An electric service company makes its profit from the amount of power used by homes and public buildings connected to it, and electric service company may provide power for a town, city, or even an entire region. Homeowners and public building owners, for their part, will enjoy a steady supply of electricity in return for paying their utility bill. What kinds of costs may they deal with for the power provided by a electric service company? The U.S. Department of Energy, for example, has estimated that the typical family spends $2,200 or so each year on utilities, and this power is used by a number of different parts of the home. Heating and air conditioning, for example, is a big one. Nearly 54% of a home’s power is dedicated to climate control, and this dwarfs other uses for electricity such as appliances or water heaters. For this reason, homeowners are urged to make sure that their HVAC systems are in good shape, or else electricity might be wasted. How?
A homeowner should only pay as much for electricity as they actually need. This means that utilities in the home should be kept in good shape to prevent wasteful spending, and more efficient light bulbs or appliances can be purchased for the home. Light bulbs are good place to start for both homeowners and commercial purposes. Older light bulb models may be inefficient with power and need to be replaced often, and their light output may be limited. But now, newer models of light bulbs such as LEDs can provide the same or more power for a fraction of the electricity, and this can save a lot on electric bills over time. Already, LEDs are proving efficient, practical, flexible nearly everywhere from flashlights to vehicle headlights to light rigs on fishing boats at night. Estimates have pointed to a positive change in the coming years if enough LEDs saturate the market, where more, stronger lighting is available for less electricity.
Heating and air conditioning is another concern, for public buildings and even for homeowners. Even when in good condition, an HVAC system will need a lot of power to work, especially in summer and winter, and if the system is damaged or dirty, or if the building has poor insulation, the heating and cooling utility will be overworked, and this consumes a lot of wasted electricity that can quickly pad the electric bill. Dirty HVAC systems can be cleaned out by professional crews to restore air flow, and damaged components such as blower fans or torn-up air ducts can be fixed. Meanwhile, drafty or uncovered windows can leak a lot of warmth or cool air in winter or summer, and thinly insulated roofs or walls can add to this problem. A concerned homeowner can hire other crews to fix these features, too.