There are two great reasons to check out green energy solutions. One: they may save you money on your electric bill. Two: you can help fight global warming and climate change. But some houses and locations are more amenable to green energy than others. Here are some tips on determining whether these technologies make sense for your home.
How long are you planning to stay in your home? How much sunlight falls on your home? These are the important considerations when determining whether solar panels are right for you. If you expect to be in your home another twenty years, solar panels will likely pay off handsomely. The initial cost can be prorated over that period. Compared to your monthly bill from the power company, you may save substantially by getting your electricity from photovoltaic panels. But do the math.
The other thing you need to calculate is the number of “solar hours” your home gets. How many hours a year of sunlight do you get? This is geography. Minnesota and Arizona will have quite different amounts. But it is also affected by trees or buildings that shade your roof. A good contractor can calculate this for you. The solar hours will determine the amount of electricity your panels can produce.
In forested areas where firewood is plentiful and cheap, a wood stove can be a good alternative, either as a partial heat source combined with a furnace, or to heat the entirety of a small house. Modern wood stoves are very efficient and low in carbon emissions.
Installing a solar hot water heater is almost always a winner. Hot water heaters add a lot to your monthly electric bill. The solar alternative is efficient even in cold, cloudy climates, as it needs less sunlight than whole house panels.
Solar panels are not the only option. Technology is providing more ways to use passive solar power for heating. South-facing windows can heat a room. Windows can be placed at a slant to maximize heat in winter and coolness in summer. Special films for windows have been developed to block sunlight in summer. These options are relatively inexpensive compared to solar panels, and can do a lot to cut your heating or cooling bill.
The old-fashioned rain barrel is still a good idea. It is simple and effective water conservation. Set up barrels under the downspouts from your roof gutters, and use this water for your lawn–and your garden if you have one.
Follow these tips to get started putting green energy to work for your home.
Production of energy and conservation of energy using green technologies can both be effective in lowering your electric bill and helping avert climate change.