What strikes a chord when you think of sustainable energy for the home? I bet you’re envisioning large solar panels installed on the rooftop or in your neighbor’s yard. Solar panels take advantage of the energy produced by the sun, converting that energy into electricity that can power your household for free! However, there are numerous other energy sources for the household, and solar panels are merely one alternative.
A good alternative to big and hefty solar panels? Solar shingles, also termed photovoltaic shingles, is the answer. They are solar panels that mimic the appearance and function of a conventional rooftop and have become an alternative for homeowners hoping to reduce their utility bills while maintaining the high value of their homes at the same time.
Tesla reinforces the benefits of solar shingles by claiming that they are three times stronger than conventional shingles, and can last for a very long time. Compared to solar panels, solar shingles are more aesthetically-pleasing and a lot simpler to install. They blend with traditional shingles flawlessly, and they are designed to withstand rain and wind.
Although the installation of solar shingles is slightly more expensive than the average solar panel, there are tax incentives to help balance the cost. Installing solar skylights can be another comparable and more affordable alternative. They are transparent solar panels that resemble conventional skylights, capturing available light and producing energy for one’s home.
Derived from the heat that comes from the sub-surface of the earth, geothermal energy generates renewable power nonstop, releasing almost little to no ozone harming substances.
Compared to ordinary HVAC systems, geothermal heat pumps utilize 25% to 50% less power and they can be installed or added onto existing systems. Not only do the warranties for its components last more than two decades, but equipment rooms can also be significantly scaled-down since the equipment does not take up as much space than an average HVAC system.
The biggest benefit of a geothermal heat pump is the fact that it runs very quietly and has no external equipment outside the home like an air-conditioner to bother neighbors. The system runs so quietly to the point that occupants are not able to tell that it is running. A geothermal heat pump is also great at providing at least 50% relative indoor humidity, thus keeping households pleasant and snug.
Geothermal heat pump systems allow for design flexibility and can be effectively installed in many spots since shallow ground temperatures are relatively constant around the U.S. Based on the particular hydrological, geographical and spatial attributes of your house, your local supplier will help you figure out what is best for your household.
Hybrid of solar and wind energy
A hybrid system of solar and wind energy is another fantastic and reliable renewable energy option. They are considered ‘off-grid’ systems since they are not connected to an electricity distribution system. With a combination of both solar panels and wind turbines, power can be produced twice as much, making these systems one of the most powerful, economical and ideal. Since energy sources such as solar and wind are abundant sources, energy can be generated at any time of the year.
However, the speed of winds is contingent on the location where the wind is produced. During the summer, wind speeds are relatively lower and weaker as sunlight is available longer throughout the day. In contrast, wind speeds are stronger in the winter where there is less sunlight. Hybrid systems are more likely to produce power for a household since the peak operating times for both the solar and wind systems happen at various times of the day and year.
Microhydropower systems have also become one of the most affordable and consistent renewable energy options for your home. Why not build your own miniature hydropower system to generate electricity if you have water flowing through your property? All you need is a turbine, pump or waterwheel for the energy of flowing water to be converted into electricity easily. With just two simple steps, a microhydropower system can be set up. First, divert water to a water conveyance such as a channel or pipeline that will carry the water to a turbine, pump or waterwheel. Then, the turbine will convert the moving water into energy by rotating itself, generating electricity.
An advantage of a microhydropower system is that it can provide sufficient electricity regardless of the size of your property, and this electricity can be generated at a much lower cost as compared to wind or solar.
Lastly, another way to power your home is using wind energy. Bid goodbye to huge wind turbines, as small wind energy is affordable, efficient and clean.
After six to 30 years, you would be able to fully recover the cost of a small wind turbine and the electricity that your wind turbine generates will effectively be free. However, this is contingent on a few factors, such as the type of wind system installed, the quality of wind at the site of installation as well as the rates of electricity in your area.
A grid-connected system might be the answer for those homeowners who are looking at reducing your utility bills. Such systems are more cost-effective and affordable since smaller systems are available if you do not have a demand for high energy. If you require more energy than what your wind turbines can produce, the extra electricity can be easily drawn from the grid. Furthermore, many states provide tax incentives or other financial inducements to encourage homeowners to invest in small wind energy. In the United States, small wind turbines qualify for a 30% federal tax rebate. As such, an investment in a small wind turbine can actually be beneficial for the value of your home while helping to lower your utility bills at the same time.
If you are looking for a way to utilize sustainable energy for your home, solar panels are not the only answer. There is a whole array of sustainable energy sources out there, so don’t be too disheartened if solar panels are not suitable for your home.