If you are considering the best way to power your home, there are many ways to do so. You can power your home in a traditional manner (through power plants) or you can get your electricity from another source. As off-grid living becomes increasingly popular, there are more and more ways of getting power.
Traditionally, homes get their electricity from power plants. These plants use coal or oil to make electricity. A single power plant can give power to thousands of homes, however power plants are not very energy efficient. These plants use nonrenewable resources and end up creating more waste than energy output.
If you live in an area that is sometimes sunny, sometimes, windy, or sometimes has flowing water, you may consider going hybrid. This means that you will power your house part time with a traditional power plant and part time with a renewable energy source. You will have power metering and your energy usage will be measured every month. Your home will initially use any renewable energy it may have and then, once that is used up, will begin using power from a power plant. You will still pay your electric bill to the electric company in your area, but if your home becomes efficient and does not use any energy from the power plant, it is possible you will get money back.
Solar Panels or Shingles
A common alternative energy source are solar panels. Solar panels and solar shingles take in and convert the sun’s energy to provide your home with power. If you live in an area that receives a lot of sunlight, you may be able to completely stop using power from a power plant. Although this may be cost efficient in the long run, solar panels and shingles can be very expensive to purchase, install, and maintain.
Wind is the third most popular energy source in the world. Wind is a renewable energy source, which means it is not something that can be used up. The wind blows large turbines that collect energy and deliver it to houses. It is also possible to purchase a small wind turbine to just power your home. These are much smaller than typical turbines, which can be up to 130 meters tall. A downside to wind turbines is that, being so tall, turbines can interfere with bird, bat, and flying insect populations. In areas with wind turbines, scientists find lower populations of these species. This is thought to be because the flying animals cannot see the wind turbine blades as they are spinning and the animal will fly right into it.
Another option for alternate power is geothermal. This, while not technically a new alternative source, is only recently gaining more popularity. Geothermal energy is derived from using the heat coming from the Earth’s core using a heat pump. The heat pump can easily keep a house cool or warm and can maintain the humidity of your home. It also uses up to 50% less energy than a typical HVAC system.
Microhydropower is a form of renewable energy that uses water as a way to get electricity. Water from a nearby moving source is funneled into a turbine or water wheel where it creates energy. This energy is stored and used by your house. Water power is the most commonly used alternative energy source in the world and is the second most common source of energy (second only to traditional power plants). It is cheaper to build and maintain than most other forms of renewable energy and is also a reliable source of energy. While the wind and sun may vary depending on the day, as long as you have water, you will always have power. The biggest downside to microhydropower is if you live in an area with inconsistent or no water flow. Without water flow, hydropower will not be possible.
While there are many other energy options available, these are some of the most popular and affordable. Try out one in your home today.
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