Electricity powers many aspects of our modern lives and a supply of electricity in a building is essential for creating and controlling the environment. Systems for heating, cooling, ventilating and lighting all use electricity, because of its energy content and for the ease with which it can be controlled. The electronic equipment of modern offices and intelligent buildings requires convenient supplies of electricity. On a larger scale, electricity also provides the large amounts of energy needed for industry and transport, and for pumping public water and drainage systems. To give you a better basis for considering these matters this chapter explains the features of electricity supplies and their alternatives. The principles and options described in this chapter provide a useful basis for considering energy and environmental issues put forward in Chapter 14. The Resource 4 section also outlines the science of current electricity, magnetism and induction if you need to remind yourself of basic principles. In the 1830s, while working at the Royal Institution in London, Michael Faraday experimented with various electrical devices that led him to demonstrate and explain the principles and effects of electromagnetic induction. For example, if a magnet is moved near a wire or coil then an electric current appears in the wire, or is ‘induced’.
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