Using green energy in your home may be simpler than you would think nowadays. New eco-friendly technologies have large-scale access to renewable energy sources on a global level. New renewable energy options such as solar panels and small wind turbines can be used to generate electricity and heat in and around your home.
There are several alternative energy systems to consider once you decide to begin using renewable power for your home. Solar power, wind power, hydropower or geothermal power are all viable green energy sources, it’s just a matter of finding the system that works best for you. Switching to alternative energy can take time and it does require an initial financial investment so if you can’t afford to power your entire home by using green energy from the very beginning, start by powering one area at a time instead.
Switching to Green Energy in Your Home
Switching to an alternative energy source can take time, but even you can’t modify your home to solely use green energy in one day, implementing a few efficient energy consumption habits can help you cut down on your power usage. Getting used to running your household in an energy efficient manner will help you cut down on your carbon output and your electricity bills, as well as prepare you for using an alternative energy system effectively.
Energy-saving habits will not only help you lower your costs, they will also help you make the most out of a green energy system once you do install it in your home. Once you become used to maximizing your power resources, it will become easier to adjust your energy consumption to the capabilities that an alternative energy source provides. In other words, it’s essential to start by disciplining yourself when it comes to mindful energy consumption.
Even if you are still connected to the traditional power grid, you can try to make the most out of the energy that you have and work on using it to its full potential so that, when you begin integrating alternative energy into your home, you will require less of it.
Accessing a Green Energy Supply from Your Current Energy Provider
If you are unsure of how to begin incorporating green energy into your home, you can start by asking your current energy provider if they offer a green alternative. More energy suppliers have begun harnessing renewable energy sources such as solar or wind power in order to provide electric energy to their customers.
Switching to a renewable energy source will cost you more, as you will need to pay a premium in order to cover the incurring expenses for accessing the alternative power supply. However, the green energy supply options and costs that you can choose from will depend on the state you live in.
Solar Energy Systems for Your Home
There are two types of solar power that you can use to supply your home with green energy. Active solar power can be collected by using photovoltaics, or solar cells. It can be used immediately or stored for later use. It can provide electricity and heat or help support a traditional electrical or heating system. Solar panels can be used to harness solar energy and power your home in its entirety by using a grid tie. They can also be used alongside a traditional power grid that you can turn to when the solar power gathered by the panels is insufficient to completely power your home. You can choose to go completely of the grid or stay connected to the regular power grid and use it as a backup energy source during cloudy days or at night when solar energy is unavailable.
Switching to solar energy does require an initial investment, but the costs associated with installing solar panels have lowered significantly over the past few years and incorporating a solar energy system in the household has become more affordable of late. Energy costs drop after switching to this renewable power source, so an increasing number of homeowners are deciding to take on the initial investment in order to save money on monthly fees and recover their costs over time.
However, if you are considering installing solar panels in your home, research if there are any restrictions on the size and type of solar energy collectors that are allowed in your area, as many towns do have such limitations in place. Also, take the climate that you live in into account before deciding to choose this type of energy, as the cost efficiency for solar power depends on the amount of energy you can collect and the amount that you require in order to power your home.
The second type of solar power that you can harness is known as passive solar power and it does not require the pricey systems based on photovoltaic cells, instead, it uses the sun to heat your home in one of three ways. Direct gain implies capturing sun power directly through the windows and heating the home while indirect gain means gathering thermal energy in your home’s walls. Isolated gain can be used for a sunroom or a solarium.
Geothermal Energy Systems and Ground Source Heat Pumps for Your Home
Geothermal energy can be harnessed from natural sources in the ground, such as hot springs, volcanic areas, or geysers. Ground source heat pumps are similar, but they tap into the temperature of the Earth to heat and cool a home according to the user’s needs. They are used to reduce electricity costs for heating and cooling homes and they facilitate the transition to renewable energy sources.
These systems typically use a quarter to a half as much electricity as traditional power supplies do, and they can last between 25 and 50 years. As is the case with solar energy systems, energy savings over time help homeowners recover their initial investments.
Wind Power Energy Systems for Your Home
Wind power can be used to supply a home with green energy in one of the cleanest forms currently available, but it can be a bit more difficult to set up. The area that you live in must be zoned to allow the installation of wind turbines. You will also require enough space to accommodate the turbines, so it is essential that you do some planning before choosing to use wind power harnessing systems. The Department of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy suggests that you provide at least one acre of rural land for the wind turbines and that you set them up in a climate that permits a steady breeze.
As a wind power energy system can be expensive, it is recommended that you identify the monthly energy consumption in your home and crunch the numbers before you decide to invest in this clean energy source in order to figure out if it is a financially sound option for you. Depending on the amount of energy your home needs, the size of the turbine required to power it will vary.
Hydropower Energy Systems for Your Home
If you have an available water source in your vicinity, your best green energy source could be hydropower. A micro hydropower system can be used to harness the power of a stream, creek, or river near your home and transform it into clean energy. The hydropower system diverts a portion of the running water through a turbine, spinning a shaft and powering a generator.
You can ask a Department of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy representative to help you estimate whether the water source that you have can provide enough energy to significantly lower your monthly electric bill and decide if it is an investment worth making for you.