What Is a Greenhouse Gas?

Having worked at Legend Power for nearly one year, I have used this phrase hundreds of times, “Legend Power’s energy conservation technology helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” And it is true that we can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but I am beginning to think that many people are unaware of what a greenhouse gas really is. We all seem to agree that these mystery gases are bad and that they need to be reduced, but I suspect that most people do not really understand what greenhouse gas is.  Realizing that I don’t know nearly enough about this topic as I should, I did some digging around online and found some interesting information.

Greenhouse Gases, often abbreviated as GHG, are gases that are trapped in the earth’s atmosphere, and they allow the sun’s radiation (heat) to enter the atmosphere but not to escape.  These trapped gases in the atmosphere cause the Earth’s temperature to rise, which has the potential to dramatically change our climate for the worse.

The most abundant GHG in our atmosphere are:

•    Water Vapor
•    Carbon dioxide
•    Methane
•    Nitrous Oxide

The most popular greenhouse gas amongst the crowd is carbon dioxide, which is where the term carbon emissions originates.  Although not all greenhouse gases are carbon based, the term carbon emissions has quickly become synonymous with greenhouses gas emissions.

Greenhouse gases are as old as the earth and prior to the industrial revolution they were perfectly harmless – just the very act of breathing (we exhale carbon dioxide) creates a greenhouse gas, and I am not about to stop breathing to save the planet.

The earth has the ability to convert GHG into nontoxic gases such as oxygen, but the amount of GHG that can be converted into oxygen is limited. In addition, the problem is exacerbated by our reliance on fossil fuels, which need to be ignited to create energy, and which result in excessive creation of greenhouses gases.

Whenever we use electricity, we help put greenhouse gases into the air. Greenhouse gases are traditionally measured in tons; every 5 MWh of electricity consumed in Ontario creates one ton of greenhouses gases. In Ontario coal is burned to generate electricity, which creates greenhouse gases.

Using electricity is not wrong. We just have to be smart about it because continuing to release large amounts of GHG into the atmosphere is a dangerous option.  Thankfully many business are beginning to realize that saving energy is a good financial and environmental decision. And there are many Canadian companies with innovative solutions to electrical energy consumption, who can help companies reduced GHG emissions.