Solar Wind & Water: Green Solutions for Your Home Solar Wind & Water: Green Solutions for Your Home
Solar, wind, rain collection, passive water heaters - renewable energy comes in many forms. A modern homeowner who wishes to become an earth-friendly homeowner has many options for incorporating renewable energy into their daily lives. Below are four types of cost-effective and low maintenance renewable energies.
Photovoltaic solar panels use light energy from the sun to generate electricity. Solar panels are usually mounted on the roof of a building to maximize their exposure to the sun's rays. Modern solar panels can convert as much as 60% of the sun's energy into electricity for home use. Though this may not sound like much, it is enough energy to easily power a home, depending on the size and quantity of the solar panels.
Photovoltaic cells are also used on spacecraft and on the International Space Station. In these applications, they provide power to the spacecraft to operate the heating, cooling, and other electrical systems, as well as power for solar-electrical propulsion.
A "wind" is a machine rotated by the wind which converts that kinetic energy into mechanical energy. These are more familiarly known as windmills. Wind turbines are a good choice for regions prone to high winds, such as open prairie or oceanside homes. Wind turbines can be as large as small building, or as small as a simple anemometer. Small wind turbines produce less energy, but they can easily be installed on a home to supplement other forms of renewable energy.
Rain collectors supplement a home's existing water usage. Some homeowners cringe at the thought of using water that has not been purified, but there are numerous uses around the home that do not require purified water. One of the most common uses for rainwater is watering a garden. By collecting water when it rains, a homeowner can use that water later during dry periods.
Rain water can also be used for toilet flushing and laundry. This may require some mild modifications to the home's plumbing. However, by using rainwater for only toilet flushing, laundry and outdoor uses, a house can reduce their reliance on public water sources by up to 80%.
Passive Water Heater
Like photovoltaic cells, passive water heaters use the sun's energy to produce hot water. In a collector, passive water heaters gather the sun's rays and energy. That energy is used to heat water as it travels through the collector. Hot water is stored in tank for use inside the home.
A truly passive water heater uses a system of natural convection to circulate the water through the system. This natural convection, known as thethermosyphon principle, takes advantage of hot water's natural tendency to rise (and, conversely, cold water sinks).