Alternative Energy VSS102

Learn about Alternative Energy for Sustainable Living through External Study

Now more relevant than ever, this online course in Alternative Energy, addresses problems such as conservation, sustainability and dealing with global warming.

It covers the basics of electricity, how to generate electricity from renewable resources, how to store energy, non electrical systems, energy consumption and conservation.  Learn to understand why alternative and renewable energy is so important and how to go about it.

There are 8 lessons in this course:

    1. Introduction: The Problems and the Energy Sources.
      • Scope and Nature
      • Terminology
      • Energy consumption through history
      • Climate Change
      • Energy units
      • Problems with Fossil Fuels
      • Problems with other energy sources ... hydro electricity, nuclear, wind, solar
    2. Understanding Energy
      • Terminology
      • Understanding electricity
      • Conductors and non conductors
      • Measuring electricity ...current, voltage, resistance
      • Ohm's Law
      • Circuits ... Series; parallel
      • Kirchhoffs law
      • Power
      • Power ratings
      • Magnetism
      • Electromagnetism and Solenoids
      • Electric motors
      • Inductors
      • Lenz's law
    3. Generating Electricity
      • Turbines
      • Generators
      • Fuel cells
      • Wind Power
      • Large Scale Wind System Design
      • Small Scale Wind System Design
      • Solar Energy
      • Positioning a solar cell
      • Small Scale Solar
      • Future Developments in Solar
      • Geothermal Energy
      • Dry Steam Power Plants
      • Flash Steam Power Plants
      • Binary Cycle Power Plants
      • Advantages of Geothermal
      • How Geothermal is used
      • Geothermal heat pumps
      • Hydropower
      • Tide and Current Power
      • Tide Barrage
      • Tidal Turbines
      • Wave Power
      • Nuclear Energy
      • Fission Reactors
      • Fusion
      • Half Lives and Radioactivity
      • Waste to Energy
    4. Storage and Using Electricity
      • Terminology
      • Cells - simple cell, car battery, gel, AGM, Nickel etc
      • Deep Cycle Battery
      • Lithium Rechargeable Batteries
      • Calculating Battery Requirements
      • Inverters
      • Alternators and Regulators
      • Converters
      • System Types
      • EMR & electricity use
      • Recommended Exposure Limits
      • Safety with Electricity
    5. Non-Electric Systems
      • Scope and nature
      • Passive Solar
      • Fire Wood
      • Drying and storing wood
      • Comparing different wood types
      • Smoke fires
      • Creosote formation in fire flues
      • Environmental aspects of burning wood
      • Biofuels
      • Ethanol
      • Small scale Biomass
      • Passive Solar Energy
      • Solar hot water ... flat plate collectors, evacuated tubes, open or closed circuit, passive or active systems, heat pumps
      • Greenhouses
      • Night insulation
      • Solar Garden Water Features
    6. Energy Consumption
      • Reducing energy consumption
      • Pricing
      • Population growth
      • Large scale reduction of energy consumption - managing green cities, urban sprawl, peak demands, transport, etc.
    7. Energy Conservation
      • How a home owner can reduce energy consumption
      • Temperature control
      • Minimising light energy consumption
      • Minimising appliance energy consumption
      • Insulation
      • Water conservation
      • Solar house design
    8. Converting to Alternative Systems
      • Estimating Energy Needs
      • Building Efficiency
      • System Design
      • System Designers


Why Choose This Course

  • Course notes and materials are unique (written by our staff) and up to date (most revised annually) –our graduates are more up to date with what they learn than many other institutions.
  • We don’t just present you with information; we also work to help you understand and remember it, develop an ability to apply it in the real world, and build networks with others who work in this field.
  • Start any time, study at your own pace, study from anywhere
  • Don’t waste time and money traveling to and from classes
  • More choices in your assignment work –courses are written to allow you more options to focus on parts of the subject that are of more interest to you.
  • Tutors more accessible than many colleges – academics are hard at work in both the UK and Australia, 5 days a week, 16 hours a day, and answering individual queries from students are top priority and always attended to within a day –often within an hour.
  • Be treated like an individual –don’t get lost in a crowd of other students. Our tutors interact with you one to one.
  • Extra help at no extra cost where needed.. If you find a task you can’t do, we will help you through it or give you another option.


  • ACS is known and highly respected internationally: by employers and academics alike. Recognised by International Accreditation and Recognition Council
  • ACS has been training people around the world since 1979
  • Over 100,000 have now studied ACS courses, across more than 150 countries
  • Formal affiliations with colleges in five countries
  • A faculty of over 50 internationally renowned academics –books written by our staff used by universities and colleges around the world.



Before installing any alternative energy system such as solar panels, it is advised to first minimise energy consumption where possible, this will save an enormous amount of energy that needs to be produced. This can be achieved by passive solar house design, installation of insulation, running appliances correctly and other means. Here is a brief list of just some of things a householder can do to reduce energy consumption:

  • Buy energy-efficient appliances. When shopping for a new appliance - especially a major appliance such as a refrigerator, dishwasher, or air-conditioner - select the one with the highest energy efficiency rating.
  • Practice fuel-efficient driving - Every gallon of gasoline burned puts 26 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. You can boost the fuel-efficiency of your car by 30% by simple vehicle maintenance and attention to your style of driving.
  • Buy a fuel-efficient car. A little more extreme but will save you money in the long-run.
  • Drive less - You'll save energy by taking the bus, riding a bike, or walking. Or car-pool.
  • Recycle whenever possible - aluminium cans, newspapers, magazines, cardboard, glass - anything recycled reduces the energy needed to create new products.
  • Eat locally produced food. Food transportation is one of the fastest growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Paint your home a light colour if you live in a warm climate, or a dark colour in a cold climate. This can contribute saving up to 5000 pounds of carbon dioxide per year.
  • Choose clean energy options - If you can choose your electricity supplier, pick a company that generates at least half its power from wind, solar energy and other renewable sources.
  • Wear warm clothing, instead of turning the heater up in winter.
  • Keep door closed if you're not using those rooms (don't heat rooms not in use).
  • Minimize opening door on a hot day (don't let the house warm up so easily).
  • Install insulation.
  • Turn the heating down at night and use more blankets.
  • Metallic paint on a radiator acts as an insulator, preventing maximum heat exchange into a room.
  • Keep heating and cooling units clean and well serviced.
  • Don't use ceiling exhaust fans any longer than necessary, as they suck hot or cold air from a room.
  • Landscape for fuel efficiency (eg: Shade trees minimize temperature fluctuations....they insulate in summer against heat and against cold in winter). Windbreaks can deflect prevailing winds.
  • Colours in the house affect temperature absorption both in real terms and psychologically. Cool colours make you feel cooler (eg: blue). Hot colours (eg: red), make you feel hotter. Dark colours absorb heat, light colours reflect more heat.
  • Carpet helps insulate houses in cool areas, in hot areas use tiles.
  • Arrange furniture so it doesn't restrict flow of warmth or coolness from heaters or air conditioners.
  • Consider solar hot water systems as opposed to electricity.
  • Turn lights off when not in the particular room.
  • Use energy efficient light bulbs instead of common incandescent bulbs.
  • Convert power connection to "Night Rate Off Peak" or other saving limits.
  • Reduce use of appliances with either heaters or moving components as they use more electricity on average.

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Fee Information (S1)
Prices in Australian Dollars

PlanAust. PriceOverseas Price
A 1 x $730.46  1 x $664.05
B 2 x $395.01  2 x $359.10

Note: Australian prices include GST. 

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