Be the change agent!

Generate Your Own Energy

Thinking about ways to change your lifestyle in a greener? Well, even the smallest change begins at home!

Renewable energy technologies like wind turbines, solar panels and biomass heaters offer an alternative to fossil fuels and can help reduce your homes CO2 emissions.

There are financial benefits too. Investing in a renewable energy technology now basically means pre-buying energy at today’s prices for a future where energy may cost a lot more. If fuel prices rise, your pay back would happen even sooner.

Before installing any home energy generation technologies, it is essential to minimise your energy demand by ensuring your home is fully insulated, and using energy efficient lighting and appliances. These are the most cost effective ways of reducing your energy use. Why not use our Carbon Cutter to find out more about these measures?

Then start with Renewables at your home!

Solar Energy

Generate cheap, green electricity from sunlight.

How about using solar power for an alternative energy resource to power your appliances instead of relying on electricity? Solar energy is free and renewable thus making it accessible to pretty much anyone. Even if you cannot afford to purchase enough energy panels to power your entire home, you can still start small by purchasing enough panels that would help reduce your power consumption. Every little bit counts.

But if you can afford something more…

Solar electricity systems capture the sun’s energy using photovoltaic (PV) cells. The cells convert the sunlight into electricity, which can be used to run household appliances and lighting.

PV cells don’t need direct sunlight to work – you can still generate some electricity on a cloudy day.

Do you know… There are many benefits of using solar energy:

  • Cut your carbon footprint: solar electricity is green, renewables energy and doesn’t release any harmful carbon dioxide (CO2) or other pollutants. A typical home PV system could save around 1tonne of CO2 per year – that’s around 25 tonnes over its lifetime.
  • Cut your electricity bills: sunlight is free, so once you’ve paid for the initial installation your electricity costs will be greatly reduced. A typical home PV system can produce around 40% of the electricity a household uses in a year.
  • Sell electricity back to the Grid: if your system is producing more electricity than you need, or when you can’t use it, someone else can use it – and you could make a bit of money.
  • Store electricity for a cloudy day: if your home isn’t connected to the national grid you can store excess electricity in batteries to use when you need it.

If you want to calculate presisely the costs and savings of using solar energy at your home, use Solar Calculator

With NOAA Solar Calculator find sunrise, sunset, solar noon and solar position for any place on Earth!

Open the website  Earth System Research Laboratory, go to page of Solar Calculators and take New Improved solar calculator!

There is also an opportunity to use solar and wind energy calculator both in one. Open the page My Solar&Wind Estimator. It will compute the size and cost to install an energy system for your home or building. Solar & wind calculator technology options include solar electric (PV), solar water heating, pool or spa heating, space heating & cooling, and wind turbines.

BUT! There is a “but”! The last one – an integrated solar&wind calculator – covers only the United States:( If you want to develop such things for Latvia and Portugal or Europe on the whole, join the researches, participate in projects, broaden your knowledde on these issues and maybe YOU will be the one who will invent these calculators! Be active! Think globally, act locally!

Wind Power

You don’t believe you can produce energy for your home using wind turbine? In reality there have been such efforts. Read a successful story!

Now if you are considering the idea about creating wind turbine, you should read carefully the answers below!

Is wind power practical for you?

Small wind energy systems can be used in connection with an electricity transmission and distribution system (called grid-connected systems), or in stand-alone applications that are not connected to the utility grid. A grid-connected wind turbine can reduce your consumption of utility-supplied electricity for lighting, appliances, and electric heat. If the turbine cannot deliver the amount of energy you need, the utility makes up the difference. When the wind system produces more electricity than the household requires, the excess can be sold to the utility. With the interconnections available today, switching takes place automatically. Stand-alone wind energy systems can be appropriate for homes, farms, or even entire communities (a co-housing project, for example) that are far from the nearest utility lines. Either type of system can be practical if the following conditions exist.

Conditions for stand-alone systems

  • You live in an area with average annual wind speeds of at least 4.0 meters per second (9 miles per hour)
  • A grid connection is not available or can only be made through an expensive extension. The cost of running a power line to a remote site to connect with the utility grid can be prohibitive, ranging from $15,000 to more than $50,000 per mile, depending on terrain.
  • You have an interest in gaining energy independence from the utility
  • You would like to reduce the environmental impact of electricity production
  • You acknowledge the intermittent nature of wind power and have a strategy for using intermittent resources to meet your power needs.

Conditions for grid-connected systems

  • You live in an area with average annual wind speeds of at least 4.5 meters per second (10 miles per hour).
  • Utility-supplied electricity is expensive in your area (about 10 to 15 cents per kilowatt-hour).
  • The utility’s requirements for connecting your system to its grid are not prohibitively expensive.
  • Local building codes or covenants allow you to legally erect a wind turbine on your property.
  • You are comfortable with long-term investments.

Will a small wind turbine save you money?

In the USA a wind turbine typically lowers a household electricity bill by 50% to 90%.

What size turbine do you need for your home?

Homes use approximately 10,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per year (about 830 kWh per month). Depending upon the average wind speed in the area, a wind turbine rated in the range of 5 to 15 kilowatts would be required to make a significant contribution to meet this demand.

How reliable are wind turbines? Will you have to perform much maintenance?

Most small turbines have very few moving parts and do not require any regular maintenance. They are designed for a long life (up to 20 years) and operate completely automatically.

How many turbines are needed to power a household?

For a home, one turbine is normally installed. The turbine’s size is chosen to meet the energy requirements given the available wind resource. Turbines with power ratings from 1 kW to 25 kW are typically used. For village electrification applications, both single and multiple turbine installations are common, and turbines up to 100 kW in capacity may be used.

Other questions and answers related to wind energy use you can read on Renewable Energy House

Hydroenergy

Why not to use a stream or river to generate electricity at your home?

People have been using rivers and streams to generate energy for centuries – making water power one of the oldest forms of renewable energy. But did you know that, in the right kind of location, houses and even communities can run entirely on hydroelectricity:  electricity made by flowing water?

Hydroelectricity systems generate electricity from running water – usually a small stream. Small or “micro” hydroelectricity systems can produce enough electricity for lighting and electrical appliances in an average home.
Hydroelectricity systems are also called hydro power systems or just hydro systems.

You ask, is a hydro system suitable for your home?

To answer there are a few key questions to consider:

  • Is there a river or steam close to your home? You’ll need access to a fairly fast flowing water course, and the right to build around it
  • Does the water flow vary significantly during the year? If so, the hydro system may not be able to supply you with all the electricity you need during dry months. If you’re not connected to the electricity grid, you’ll need a backup power system.
  • Do you want to sell excess energy? Hydro systems can be connected to the National Grid if a suitable connection point is available. Any electricity you generate but don’t use can then be sold to electricity companies.

Bioenergy

Think, maybe you also can use bioenergy in your home!

How do wood fuelled heating systems work?

There are two main ways of using wood to heat you home:

  • A standalone stove burning logs or pellets to heat a single room. Some can also be fitted with a back boiler to provide water heating as well.
  • A boiler burning pellets, logs or chips connected to a central heating and hot water system.

Log burning stoves and boilers have to be filled with wood by hand. Some pellet and chip burners use automatic fuel feeders which refill them at regular intervals from fuel storage units called hoppers.

The benefits of wood fuel heating

  • A low carbon option: the carbon dioxide emitted when wood fuel is burned is the same amount that was absorbed over the previous months and years as the plant was growing. As long as new plants continue to grow in place of those used for fuel, the process is sustainable. There are some carbon emissions caused by the cultivation, manufacture and transportation of the fuel, but as long as the fuel is sourced locally, these are much lower than the emissions from fossil fuels.
  • A good use for waste wood: burning wood can be a convenient means of disposing of waste that might otherwise be sent to a landfill site.

Is a wood fuelled heating system suitable for your home?

To tell if wood fuelled heating is right for you, there are a few key questions to consider:

  • Do you have enough space? You’ll need a large dry area close to the boiler to store your wood. Ideally this should be close to where the wood is delivered to your home to minimise the distance you have to carry it.
  • Do you have a suitable flue? You need a vent which is specifically designed for wood fuel appliances, with sufficient air movement for proper operation of the stove. Your existing chimney can be fitted with a lined flue, which is relatively inexpensive.
  • Do you live in a smokeless zone? If so then wood can only be burnt in certain exempted appliances.
  • Do you need planning permission? You need to talk to your local authority if your flue will extend 1m or more above the height of your roof, or your home is in a Conservation Area or World Heritage Site and you plan to install a flue on the principal elevation visible from a road.

Savings in CO2 emissions are significant – up to 9.5 tonnes per year when a wood boiler replaces a solid (coal) fired system or electric storage heating.

Fuel savings are less significant, and if you replace a gas heating system with a wood burning system you may end up paying more for your fuel. But if you replace solid fuel or electric heating you could save between £170 and £390 per year.

Wood costs often depend on the distance from your home to a wood supplier and whether you can buy and store wood in large quantities. If you have your own supply of wood fuel then this can significantly reduce your costs.

To reduce your home’s CO2 emissions further, consider installing solar electricity or some other form of renewable electricity generating system.

Geothermal energy

Find out maybe you also can use geothermal energy in your home!

There is a solution to home heating problems. Now, high heating bills, humidification problems, hot blasts and cold drafts, furnace inefficiency, and environmental side effects of burning fuels can go the way of black-and-white television, record players, and bias-ply tires.

The benefits of geothermal heating and cooling has been discovered by hundreds of thousands of homeowners nationwide who swear by the comfort it provides and the simplicity of its operation.

Geothermal systems have proven themselves over decades of operation in all parts of the country. Several manufacturers and many contractors in your area provide the competition you need to ensure quality installation and service at a fair price. You owe it to yourself to learn more about the down-to-earth comfort of geothermal heating and cooling for your new, or older, home.

The temperature in the ground around your house is fairly constant year round, and that’s the secret behind the efficiency of geothermal heating and cooling systems. That constant temperature – roughly 46 to 50 degrees F. in northern states and warmer as you travel south – allows already efficient electric heat pumps to operate for even less, reducing the cost of heating your home by more than half when compared with a propane furnace. And geothermal systems provide cooling at up to a third less than conventional central air conditioning systems.

Geothermal systems will work for any house, old or new, whether delivering forced air through ductwork or heated liquid through radiant tubing in the floor.

While the initial cost of a geothermal system is marginally higher than the cost of a comparable fossil fuel furnace with central air, the lower operating cost will make up for the extra cost several times over the lifetime of the equipment. In fact, when the cost of the geothermal system is included in the mortgage, the combined living expenses for mortgage and heating and cooling will be less than for the same house with a fossil fuel system. In other words, the lower energy bill for a geothermal home more than offsets the higher monthly mortgage payment. That’s money in your pocket.

Use our savings calculator to get an idea of the savings available with a geothermal system, and compare your house with those on this site.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: