When it comes to powering your home, you can easily and quickly find yourself contributing to environmental damage just because of how your energy systems are designed and where they get their power from. There are ways to avoid this, however. You can switch to alternative sources of power that are renewable and far cleaner by comparison. There are many green energy alternatives for powering your home, including wind, solar, geothermal, propane, hybrid, and hydro power options.
When you think of wind power, you probably immediately think of those huge wind turbines spread out across the prairie horizon. Using wind to power your own home, however, does not require any massive machinery. In fact, you can harness wind on a much smaller scale in order to harvest the energy you need.
Depending on the type of home wind system you choose to have installed, you will usually begin to see a return on your investment in six to 30 years—that may seem like a long time, but after that, your electricity will be pretty much free thanks to your turbine. You can use wind power in combination with other energy sources, opt for a grid-connected wind system, or, in rural areas, even go big and move completely off the grid to rely solely on wind power.
The sunshine touching your roof is free electricity—you just need a way to capture and harness it. Solar energy is a great option for powering your home because it is sustainable and renewable, low-maintenance, silent, and eco-friendly. Solar power can power so many things in your home; you can make use of gathered solar power by incorporating solar water heaters, outdoor solar lights, solar cookers, and even solar-powered phone chargers.
Make sure you are purchasing your solar panels from licensed professionals in order to get the most out of the sunlight hitting your roof. The majority of expenses associated with installing solar panels can be attributed to the installation and maintenance of the panels, but the good news is you will most likely make the money back within 20 years. If solar panels don’t fit your aesthetic, you could go the route of solar shingles instead, which cost about a third more but come with tax incentives—and they are easier both to install and to look at.
Did you know you can derive energy from the heat beneath the earth’s surface? Geothermal heat pumps are another green, renewable way to power your home. This energy source emits little to no greenhouse gases and its development does not require a substantial environmental footprint.
Geothermal heat pumps use less electricity than normal HVAC systems—25 to 50 percent less, in fact—and their hardware requires less space, as well. Geothermal heat pumps also create less noise than HVAC systems because they do not have a condensing air unit like air conditioners do, eliminating the sound problem. It is so quiet you might not even know it’s there.
Propane is a very popular choice for people wanting to switch to green energy and decrease their carbon footprint. Propane boasts low greenhouse gas emissions, is completely non-toxic, cheaper and highly efficient compared to other fuel sources like electricity, EPA-approved, and has a low carbon content. With propane, you can heat your home dependably, power water heaters, power appliances, cook, and more.
You can store propane in a large, refillable tank above- or belowground on your property, like in your yard. Tanks come in different sizes, and owning your propane tank has additional benefits beyond the green energy it provides. You can customize your tank to your wants and needs and stay in your own comfort zone. When you own your own tank, you don’t have to stick to one supplier, allowing you to get better prices and save money.
There are many requirements and rules which must be considered when installing the tank. You should not attempt to install your propane tank on your own—call licensed professionals who can safely, legally, and efficiently install it for you.
A hybrid system combines both solar and wind energy to power your home, allowing you to live even more “off the grid” than you could with other green power avenues. Using both wind turbines and solar panels, a hybrid system allows you to double your generative power.
Why these two types of power, specifically? The combination of wind and solar power means efficient and reliable power, as those are two of the most available energy sources. Wind and solar power make a perfect partnership. The individual availability of the two sources work well together as wind is more prevalent in most places during the winter months when there is less sunlight, and there is more sun in the summer months when there is less wind. A balance is achieved, and your home can have power all year round.
Hydroelectric power is another great option for renewable power and functions much like wind power does, using a fluid medium (in this case, water) to generate power. By using water to power your home, you are getting the energy that you need while also protecting the environment in the process. Hydro power is reliable because the flow of water is continuous—even more so than wind and sun.
In order to harness hydropower, you’ll need access to a nearby, flowing water source. Make sure you get permission from local authorities to use said water source and build a hydroelectric generator. Once you have the permissions out of the way, setting up your hydro power system does not have to be complicated, and the system’s operation and maintenance is not difficult.
When it comes to finding alternative, greener ways to produce power for your home, you don’t have to look far. There are many options for a cleaner, greener lifestyle, including hydro power, hybrid power, propane, geothermal, solar power, and even wind turbines. Powering your home doesn’t have to mean harming the environment.
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