Fossil fuels aren’t just bad for the environment, they’re expensive. Investing in alternative energy for your home can help you reduce your utility bills, generate fewer greenhouse gases, and start moving toward the future. You might have more options than you think when it comes to powering your home with alternative energy—consider using one or more of these methods to start saving money right now.
The Earth itself has a hot inner core. That means heat and energy come directly from the ground, so harnessing geothermal energy creates a cheap source of heat with almost no emissions. A geothermal heat pump costs up to 50 percent less electricity than standard HVAC systems.
Existing HVAC systems can also be converted to geothermal energy—this equipment actually takes up less space than traditional HVAC systems. Geothermal systems have the additional benefit of running very quiet.
Solar Roof Tiles
These days you don't need huge solar panels on your roof to make use of the sun's energy. Photovoltaic tiles, also known as solar shingles, don't destroy the look of your roof (in fact many people prefer them to old fashioned shingles) and they're easy to install. You can cover your whole roof or add solar shingles right alongside traditional roofing.
The solar shingles made by Tesla are guaranteed for the life of your house, so you won't be sacrificing roof strength for solar energy. You'll probably want a battery to capture any energy that isn't used immediately, but once you get your system in place, solar energy is completely free, so whether you switch wholly to solar power or use it to supplement your other energy sources, you'll definitely notice the difference in your energy bills.
Don't forget to take advantage of direct sunlight, too. Open window treatments and blinds to allow the sun to shine directly in your home during chilly days. Shut the blinds and curtains to keep the sun out when it's warm in the house.
If your home is in a windy spot, harnessing that wind may be the right answer. Wind turbines can be huge, but they don't always have to be. Smaller turbines are coming on the market now for residential installation, and many companies can set it up for you. Check with your homeowner's association to find out if you're allowed to install a small wind turbine to harness the power of the wind to power your home. You may also wish to contact the city or county clerk's office to ask if the zoning rules in the area allow for wind turbines.
Wind energy generates no greenhouse gas and can be a great way to augment other energy systems, just make sure you choose a spot where wind frequently roars through.
If there is any type of running water on your property, such as a creek, take advantage of it with a micro hydropower system. Even a small system can provide enough energy to power a large home, potentially providing much more energy than solar or wind arrays.
Contact your city or county clerk's office to ask about any permits you may need to take out before you install a micro hydropower system, and make some backup plans for any colder months in your area, during which your stream or creek may freeze over and cease generating power.
A relatively new option in clean energy, fuel cells can be used to produce both heat and electricity. Because the technology is relatively new, alternative energy fuel cells are not widely available and they are extremely expensive. However, if there's an installer near your area you may want to consider this option. Fuel cells are very clean and don't take up much space, which makes them a great option for alternative home energy.
Setting up an alternative source of energy is an investment, but it pays off. Use alternative energy to lower your bills and rely less and less on fossil fuels. In the long term, you’ll end up having more money to spend on more upgrades for your home!