How to make your home more energy efficient and save money on electricity
These days, home energy options include a variety of renewable sources that provide efficient energy at reasonable prices. The U.S. Department of Energy says solar panels, wind turbines and hydropower systems are the top home and property systems providing renewable energy. These renewable systems can provide power cheaply and effectively while qualifying property owners for tax credits, rebates and other financial enhancements. Homeowners have been taking pro-active energy saving steps in recent years, including the use of programmable thermostats, taking energy audits and sealing air leaks. All well and good, according to federal energy officials, but this is only a prelude to employing good, clean renewable energy options.
Solar panels are a great place to start in creating a home energy-saving policy. Technological advances coupled with dramatically falling solar panel prices have made these systems more feasible. The economics of solar panels have shifted, meaning new financing and leasing models are available. Properties unable to host rooftop solar systems can join together in a community collective solar project. All community property or stake owners share in the energy from the system as well as tax credits, utility savings and other financial revenue. When installing, consider the amount of sun being received at the site, how large the system must be, where it will be located, whether the system should be hooked up to the overall energy grid or stand alone, and how to maintain system safety.
Wind turbines are another green renewable energy option, according to the energy department. People living on 1 acre of land or more with strong wind generation can produce electricity efficiently and inexpensively with wind turbines. Even small wind turbine units can reduce energy bills by 50 to 90 percent. They can also help people avoid costly extensions of utility power lines to rural properties. The systems ensure consistent power even when extended power grid outages occur, according to the Department of Energy. Putting wind turbines in places takes some planning and special conditions, not the least of which is insufficient wind. Homeowners need to estimate the amount of wind that blows and work with local zoning and regulatory officials to get the job done. As is the case with solar panels, costs are coming down rapidly for small wind energy systems. Other federal initiatives are also in place to lower costs and encourage ownership of these systems.
Hydropower systems are another renewable energy option that's increasingly affordable and effective. Homeowners with flowing water on their property like creeks, streams or other sources can use a 10-kilowatt micro hydropower system to generate enough power for a small farm, large house, or bed and breakfast. As always, planning is key as property owners need to determine how much power can be taken through this resource. They also need to deal with zoning, regulations and water rights before proceeding in earnest. Micro hydropower systems use waterwheels, pumps and turbines, depending on the layout. They turn water power into rotational energy, translating it into electricity.
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