Save On Home Energy & Reduce Your Bills

Why save on home energy?

Well humankind is quickly approaching a point where it needs to decide how it should deal with its energy production problem. In the last 200 years, almost half of the world’s natural reserves of oil, natural gas, and coal have been depleted so you need to start to save on home energy.

Industrialization and rapid urbanization have taken its toll on the nonrenewable energy levels. Now, as the available energy reserves continue to decline, and prices of oil, coal and natural gas continues to rise, we must consider alternative sources of energy.

In recent years, alternative energy sources like solar power, wind power, hydroelectric power and geothermal energy have taken massive strides forward. These advancements, regarding both energy efficiency and cost effectiveness, have made it possible to conserve energy and reduce your energy bills.

Furthermore, these renewable energy sources are environmentally friendly. They also add support to the fight against rampant pollution caused mostly by the combustion of non-renewable energy. Let’s look at the benefits of green energy and how this relatively free energy can shape the future.

Solar Energy:

Solar energy has been in use long before man even learned to make a fire. Uses of solar energy have been documented from the earliest times.

Drying laundry in the sun, focusing sunlight through magnifying glasses to start a fire, all of these are possible by harnessing the power of the sun. It is the most common and utilized free energy source. solar power from sunAn estimated 30% of the total solar energy is used while the rest is reflected back to space. See this pdf for more interesting facts.

But still, when properly implemented, free energy from the sun can be utilized to accomplish fantastic feats and also save energy.

The primary perk of using green energy from the sun is its vast and unending supply. Solar energy is free of cost, unlike fossil fuels. That means, you only need to pay for the installation of solar power equipment.

You don’t need to procure solar energy at a cost. This contributes to a substantial amount of savings over the years.

Solar energy panels are functional for a long time. Since they have no moving parts, the maintenance cost is non existent. Once you’re done with the installations, it will continue to serve you for the rest of your lifetime.

Solar panels give you green energy, causing no pollution or carbon dioxide emission. This has a positive effect on the environment and reduces the pressure on fossil fuels, thereby saving energy and bills.

Wind Energy:

The free energy from wind is another example of the savings on cost and efficiency from alternative energy sources that can help save on home energy. Like solar, the wind is also a natural element. That means, it can be obtained quickly and has a non-exhaustible supply.

Wind power is transferred with the help of wind turbines, which rotate in the wind. This action converted the ‘wind power’ into electricity through a generator. save on home energyWind energy doesn’t require mine excavations and refineries like coal and oil.

Since it is available in nature, the only cost is during the installation of the wind turbine.

Wind energy can also be stored in batteries. Therefore, it helps to save energy. Furthermore, it is a far cleaner and environmentally friendly option than using fossil fuels.

This means that there will be no carbon footprint and zero carbon dioxide emissions. For high remote areas where power line extension is practically impossible, wind energy provides ample free energy for an extended period. In windy areas, it might even power an entire home on its own.

Wind power is a viable green energy source to save on home energy due to its low maintenance cost and high efficiency. For more information on this whole subject why not try this site for green energy solutions

Alternative Green Energy Sources To Solar

Alternative Green Energy Sources

Do you, when you’re thinking about using green energy, just think that all you have to do is to grab the sun by the horns and corral it for your personal use. I mean, why not? That thing is huge! It feeds the plants, powers our rivers, and dictates our seasons so why not help out our laptops and TVs while it’s at it? But there are alternative green energy sources.

But, for those of you still not sure if you can reasonably expect to make it off the power grid with solar panels alone, there are other energy sources you can tap into that are growing in popularity as technology continues to advance.

Wind Power

Remember how our power plants currently work? We burn coal, and it boils water, which creates steam, which turns turbines. Well, wind power cuts out all the middlemen and turns the turbines directly. When those giant blades turn, they cause a generator to produce an electrical current, which is then stored and sent to homes on its grid lines.

Wind power is fantastic in that it doesn’t have any pollution, requires no outside resources, and utilizes minimal land, allowing for multiple turbines to be placed together. For your home, how much you can rely on wind will depend on how much of it billows through your region on a regular basis.alternative green energy sources

By No machine-readable author provided. JMT~commonswiki assumed (based on copyright claims). [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Without a steady wind source, you won’t be able to tap into nature’s gusts nearly as well as you would like. For a home that uses about 780 kWh per month of electricity, you would need a wind turbine that can produce between 5–15 kilowatts to reach the 50–90% efficiency.

Another consideration in regards to wind turbines is space. If you live on a small lot or in an urban setting, they’re not going to be feasible. Even before considering the building codes, which will likely limit or disallow a noisy turbine, you’ll need to find room for it. However, turbines are fantastically effective if you have a great deal of property.

Thermal

Thermal energy is drawn from the heat produced by the earth’s core and is another one of the alternative green energy sources. The heated rocks and water that come up from between those rocks can be tapped into to generate electricity if you live in an area with significant geothermal output.

To effectively tap into geothermal energy residentialy, you would need to have a home located near geothermal vents, or you’d need to drill deep into the earth to access those vents. Luckily, this is becoming easier than it once was as drilling operators are cropping up in the Midwest and beyond to provide such a service on large properties where permits can be granted.

Quite a bit of care needs to be put into accessing geothermal energy. Because of pollution risks and the sheer number of materials needed to create an electrical source, you would need to hire a contractor and have the property space on which to build.

Hydroelectric

Very rarely is a residential space able to tap into hydroelectric power, but it is possible. Hydroelectric power basically harnesses the energy produced by the water as it flows downstream or in tides on the ocean.
hoover dam
Michael Barera [CC BY-SA 4.0, CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

Most commercial hydro power is produced by dams such as the Grand Coulee in Washington State or the Hoover in Nevada. These dams tap the natural inertia of water traveling downriver and use it to turn turbines that produce large quantities of electricity.

To use hydroelectric power at home you would need a water source and generator that the water could access. This requires access to a river or stream or waterfront property where you can build a device to harness tidal strength. Most residential generators are upwards of 30 feet high so, again, you’ll need the property and space on which to build it.

The turbine of a hydro system is fantastically efficient at converting energy in water to electricity so if you’re in a rural area or have the space, definitely consider what this type of electricity can offer you. Yet another of the alternative green energy sources to consider.

Save Money On Energy Bills – 7 Ways To Do It

Tips To Help Reduce Carbon Footprint & Save Money On Energy Bills

The whole point of renewable energy is to save money and have as small an impact on the earth as possible. And one of the most effective ways to do that won’t cost you a dime – in fact, it WILL save money on energy bills for you.

By cutting waste and using less electricity in the first place, you can reduce your electric bill immediately. This can ease the pressure on your budget and also make it far more realistic to install a solar power system in your home that could replace your grid-based power.

To help you cut down your waste, here are some tips to help reduce your carbon footprint and save money on energy bills:

1. Insulation and Windows

– By properly insulating your walls and ceilings, you can reduce your heating costs by 25% or more. This immediately cuts down on how much oil or electricity you use and allows a solar heating system to run far more efficiently. Windows can be equally as wasteful. Consider upgrading to double-glazed windows to minimize heat loss.

2. Weatherizing

– You can also seal up any cracks or holes on the outside of your home to reduce the heat loss you experience in the winter. Simple caulking and stripping can go a long way, and in some regions, cities and local governments are subsidizing the cost of doing so, even offering huge tax credits to encourage action.
3. Light Bulbs – If you’re still using old-style incandescent light bulbs, switch today because they waste a LOT of energy. Upgrade to the far more efficient compacincandescent light bulb to Save Money On Energy Billst fluorescent (CFL) models to cut down on your energy use by 75% and get as many as five years out of each bulb. The cost has dropped quite a bit recently as well to make it far more affordable when replacing the entire home’s lighting.

4. Thermostats and Refrigerators

– Anything that has a thermostat can be adjusted to use less energy. Your refrigerator is a good start as they use a tremendous amount of power. You can buy a smaller one to start with, storing less food over shorter periods of time. You can also turn up the temperature to as high as 37°F (3°C) and your freezer to 3°F (-16°C) – the most efficient temperatures to maintain food safety.

You water heater thermostat can be turned down as low as 120°F (49°C), plenty hot for showers or washing. Additionally, you can turn your thermostat down in the winter to 68°F (20°C) – plenty warm enough to feel comfortable. The 4-degree difference has a massive impact on energy consumption.

5. Wash with Cold Water

– Most clothing doesn’t need hot water to get clean when adequate detergent is used. Another tip regarding your water use is to avoid using the dishwasher when it’s not full. Additionally, turn off the drying cycle. Instead, you can open the dishwasher to let it air dry.

6. Shower Heads

– Get a low-flow shower head installed to cut down on how much hot water you pump through it each day. It costs only $25, but the drop off in energy use is tremendous.

7. Air Conditioning

– Avoid turning on air conditioners unless the temperature gets above 85°F (30°C). When you turn on an air conditioner, turn the thermostat up to 76°F (25°C), and if it has an energy-saver mode, turn it on as well. If you plan on using solar energy, air conditioning can be a huge drain on your batteries.

This list has enough simple suggestion to get you started today, but there are dozens of other things you can do to cut down on your energy use. Turn off lights when you leave the room. Unplug electronics that use power even when not in use.

Do things by hand that you don’t need electricity for. Spend more time outside and less time in front of the TV. Buy smaller electronicenergy star logos that use less power. Buy appliances with the Energy Star label.

The more money you can save on your electric bill and the further you can reduce your usage, the more affordable and viable a solar power system will be, and the closer you’ll be to cutting ties with the power grid once and for all.

So as you can see, you CAN save money on energy bills – its official!

Photovoltaic Solar Energy System – How To Generate Electricity

How To Go About A Photovoltaic Solar Energy System

Start by determining how much sunlight you receive each year by analyzing meteorological data and your current electricity usage. You can then start creating a list of necessary parts, building materials and permits to get your solar project underway and install a photovoltaic solar energy system.

sunlight for photovoltaic solar energy system
By Antero Pires from Corroios, Portugal (Entre os ramosUploaded by tm) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Adding solar power to your home with PV cells starts with the big question of whether you want to remain hooked up to the grid or not. Each option has its share of drawbacks so be sure to review them carefully.

If you go off the grid, you’ll almost certainly need to have a generator or battery to supply power when solar energy isn’t available. Even if you plan for the worst-case scenario, you never know when you’ll get 30 days of consecutive cloud cover and rain blocking out your power source.

Batteries can be quite expensive, however, and they require a lot of maintenance. Solar panels last 30 years or longer, but batteries may only last 2–5 years depending on usage. They are very toxic so they need to be stored and disposed of properly.

If you choose to remain on the grid, you will need to do a lot of research to determine what your local laws are. You also need to know how to follow the power company’s regulations. You will likely need special equipment to ensure the power remains compatible. And if there is a power outage that you don’t continue pumping out electricity to dead power lines. This is a huge safety issue.

Either way, you’ll need to consider acquiring:

Batteries

If you opt to go off-grid and install batteries, make sure you choose a deep cycle battery made with either lead-acid or nickel-cadmium. These batteries will last longer and match the energy storage and release requirements for a photovoltaic solar energy system.

Charge Controller

Additionally, you’ll need to purchase a charge controller, which is important in making sure your battery doesn’t get drained too fast or overcharged. When the battery is full, it will stop the charging cycle. When it is drained too low, the controller will stop drawing off the battery to extend battery life. A charge controller will keep your batteries in service by as much as 150% longer than without one.

Inverter

All electricity is not created equally. For this reason, you’ll need an inverter to change your direct current (DC) power (created by the solar panels) into alternating current (AC) power. This AC is used by your outlets and provided by your electric company. If you remain on the grid, your inverter should also stop the flow of electricity from your home to the power company when the power is out.
This will protect any electrical workers from working on live lines. Inverters are sometimes included in PV cell kits or with basic installation packages. Check with your contractor before buying a separate inverter.

Generators

For those who want to go completely off-grid, a generator is necessary, even if you have a battery backup. If the power is low and your batteries are starting to lose their charge, you’ll need a generator to recharge the batteries or provide emergency power. If your power output suddenly overwhelms the inverters, you will also need a generator to supply backup power.

A good generator should be directly connected to the inverter so that, when you turn on the generator, the inverter immediately recognizes the new power source and switches the entire load to it. Generators come in many options including gasoline, diesel, and gas. Gasoline-powered generators are the most common because they are the least expensive and the easiest to get fuel for.

Assorted Other Parts

While the core parts listed above are very important, there are quite a few other small parts you’ll need to complete your installation, including:
Wiring – Varies depending on the size of your photovoltaic solar energy system and the number of panels.

Grounding Equipment – A vital safety consideration and is required for all electrical work

Overcurrent Protection – Regulates and protects the power supply from excess current and shortages

Junction Boxes – Protect and preserve your conduits and cables from the elements and other outside factors like bugs or rodents

Disconnects – Shuts down the direct current (DC) from the solar cells (usually mounted outside the house for quick access in the event of an emergency)

Permits

Before you start hammering away at your new solar energy system, contact your local municipality. See if there are any permits required. The odds are that you will need to acquire at least a building permit. And possibly additional permits for the installation of a solar system. Heating systems are usually more straightforward, while PV cell systems might require a lot of paperwork, especially if you plan to say connected to the grid.electrician workingBy photo taken by flickr user editor B (flickr) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Also consider what is legal for you to do on your own. Only certain operations may be completed by an unlicensed contractor. Are you planning on running wires and changing how your house connects to the power grid? Then you’re almost certainly going to need an electrician. And an inspector will be required to look at the finished product and sign off on all safety regulations.

The building department is usually your go-to source for permits, but your municipality can vary from the norm, so check first. In the U.S., however, almost all cities and towns follow the same National Electric Code. Exceptions include New York City and Chicago, which both have their own building codes.

Don’t forget. The government wants people using renewable energy and will reward you for your efforts. So follow the rules, use the right materials and file all your permits. They will help you along in the process every step of the way. And you will have your own photovoltaic solar energy system.

Solar Panels

Of course, there will be the solar panels themselves. With recent advances in technology, there are more options for solar panels than ever before. But it is still important to choose panels that fit your budget. And the sizing options for your home. It’s best to talk with a salesman or contractor who has experience with solar panels. Please ask for and check their testimonials before you use them.