Are you trying to become more environmentally conscious?
Think about purchasing a renewable energy system to power your home. It does take time and money to research, buy and maintain such a system, but many people enjoy the independence they gain and the knowledge that their actions are helping the environment.
A renewable energy system can be used to supply some or all of your electricity needs, while operating via new and eco-friendly technologies. There are many different systems and technologies that’ll power your house while remaining eco-friendly and saving energy. Some of the most popular and efficient types are solar electric systems, geothermal heat pumps, wind electric systems and smart power strips. The main goal of these new technologies and systems is reducing your electricity use.
It’s important to determine the overall energy efficiency of your home. Considering the energy efficiency measures before you buy your renewable energy system will reduce your electricity use and allow you to buy a smaller and less expensive system.
Small solar electric systems
A small solar electric or photovoltaic system can be a reliable and pollution-free producer of electricity for your home, and at the same time, act as a cost-effective power supply.
When it comes to these systems, you should think about solar panels, which have come a long way since their beginnings. Modern solar panels are more efficient than their predecessors, and they can even look attractive and stylish now. They absorb energy from the sun and use it to generate heat or electricity.
You can either install them on your own or hire professionals to do it. Some American states have solar leasing programs now, in which you sign up with a company that puts the panels on your roof and maintains them.
There are also solar hot water heaters that use the sun’s heat and/or energy to heat the water in your house, either by directly using the sun’s heat or by collecting energy with solar panels. The heated water stays in an insulated tank, much like it would with a conventional water heater, and you can use it whenever you want. While these cost more to install than traditional water heaters, you could save a lot of money on your water heating bills by doing so.
Geothermal heat pump
Maintaining a comfortable indoor temperature can use up to half your home’s energy. Some of the new green technologies out there, such as the geothermal heat pump, can help reduce your heating and cooling bills.
If you have central heating and air in your home, the way it maintains the temperature is by exchanging air inside your house with the air outside. This isn’t the most efficient system, since in summer, the outside air is usually hotter than you want, and in winter, it’s usually much colder. A geothermal heat pump works in a similar way, but its heat exchange apparatus is buried underground, where temperatures are a lot more stable. This type of system might cost you more in the beginning for installation, but it’ll pay off in the long run, because it’ll reduce your heating and cooling costs.
The pump’s system won’t be exposed to the elements like a conventional system would be, which means less damage and less maintenance. It’ll also run more quietly and efficiently than conventional heating systems, and will last longer.
Small wind electric systems
Small wind electric systems are one of the most cost-effective home-based renewable energy systems. For example, a backyard wind turbine might be a good green home technology to make use of.
These use the wind’s energy to generate some of the electricity you need to power your home. But before investing in one, you should first see whether the area you live in is a good candidate for wind power—for Americans, there’s a helpful wind map available online, provided by the U.S. Department of Energy.
As with solar power, residential wind energy typically doesn’t provide all of the electricity that you need to power your home, but it can supplement your conventional power use and help reduce your energy bills. Unlike solar panels, however, wind turbines aren’t quite as widely accepted. Some homeowners’ associations forbid them , so make sure you check with your association and go over some important questions before buying one.
Smart power strips
Apart from all the big systems previously mentioned, there’s also something you can do right now. A smart power strip is a smaller piece of technology that’s affordable and easily accessible, and can also help reduce your energy use.
Smart power strips work by using a control device to cut all power to devices and systems that keep using energy even when they’re in the “Off” position. They use energy because they’re in “standby mode” and aren’t actually turned off. When you turn off your “control” device, though, your smart strip will cut the power flow to all the other devices on the strip. After that, they’ll fully turn off and won’t make use of your electricity.
For more information on wind turbines, visit Generate Your Own Wind Energy or Use a Provider?>>[box]
Matt is a home improvement writer working for The Cool Roofing Company in Atlanta, GA. He supports the sustainable living movement: green roofs and solar energy use.[/box]