Homeowners nowadays are more aware of the different renewable energy methods that can be used to power up their homes – it can either be solar panels or the use of wind turbines on the roof. The truth is there are many different types of renewable energy sources, and each of them known to have pros and cons.
Choosing Renewable Energy
When asked from homeowners why they chose to use renewable energy in their homes, they will answer one among the three options. To reduce the energy costs they are paying monthly, to contribute less to the carbon footprint, or they want to achieve self-sufficiency which is also known as the state of being off the grid. Many times they decide to use renewable sources not only because of one but three reasons. All three reasons are considered valid, but the first one which is to save energy costs consider as an investment for long term.
Below figure shows even Australias electricity prices are high. Still, Australia is having a reasonable price for the electricity. Personally, I have installed solar panels from Eurosolar to reduce this electricity price further.
Residents of the Australia might complain about their energy bills as their bills are expensive. Transferring to a renewable power source means the system will not pay for itself in an instant, but it will take years before the initial investment is paid off. Let’s say for example that your electric rate now is 12 cents for every kilowatt-hour; this would mean that the solar panel you have will be able to pay for itself in about 15 years. This is if the electric rates remain the same. If it does then the payback period will be shorter, and your investment to the renewable energy source will be of higher value.
The other two reasons, less carbon footprint emitted into the environment and the goal of achieving self-sufficiency, are considered noble causes. Some may realise that shifting to the solar panel is not the best decision financially but you believe in good karma.
Way to self-sufficiency
Having the desire to be self-sufficient may sound like an easy task, but it is not the case especially when concerning about renewable energy source. The day will come that the wind will cease to blow for a while and when it happens there will be no energy to be generated by your wind turbines. Solar panel, on the other hand, won’t be able to produce anything during night time while little power would create during cloudy days. The good news is that you will be able to generate as much as you can when the sun is up and just use batteries as a storage medium. It is possible technically, but the problem is that it could be very expensive in today’s market. The initial investment for the renewable energy system may become double with the use of batteries, and it needs regular maintenance. Another thing to remember is that batteries need to replace once every five or ten years. For those who have access to the grid power, it can be used together with the renewable energy source. With the aid of net metering, the grid may utilise as a virtual storage.
How to save energy
Before investing your money in renewable energy, it is essential to decrease the amount of energy you consume. Being efficient in using energy is way cheaper compared to finding ways to generate it. The payback time is also much faster. Here are some ways you can save energy:
- All your incandescent lights should replace with CFL lights equipped with LED bulbs.
- Obsolete appliances should replace with the latest models that are energy efficient.
- A programmable thermostat is a good investment and makes sure that it controls the heat to the programmed amount.
- If you still have CRT or plasma televisions in your home, buy newer models equipped with LCD or LED technology. Aside from the fact that they are energy efficient, they are high definition too.
- Make sure that your home has proper insulation and inspect for any air leaks.
- Electrical devices and home appliances that not use during day and night should be turned off or unplugged at all times.
It is possible for homeowners to perform analysis of their electric load but if they want to audit the entire energy consumption of their home including examination of insulation, ventilation, cooling and heating systems, professional must be hired to do the job. Auditing will require specialised equipment that can be quite expensive. There is good news for people living in the Australia because you can avail government rebate if you are upgrading to an energy efficient home and you are installing renewable energy system. The credit will cover the money needed to pay for the professional auditor hired.
After you have taken steps to make sure that your home is energy efficient, it is time for you to decide on how you can generate the energy consumed daily. There is no guide as to what technology is best for everyone. Each has to depend on the conditions locally.
Passive solar energy system
Passive solar is the process of capturing the heat of the sun and the sunlight then directs it to a location where you need it to be. Windows that are facing south are best to get the sunlight during the winter while an overhang large enough can cover the sunlight while keeping the room cool. The trees around the house should also place in a strategic location. If you have a wall that faces south but with a tiny window, then it would be best to install a passive solar designated for heating. Passive solar is considered as an ancient method used before the invention of lighting, cooling and heating systems. There are climates in some parts of the world that are ideal for this method which makes it possible to decrease the energy consumption by a considerable amount.