Renewable energy systems have come a long way in the past decade. No longer does renewable energy only mean acres of wind turbines or solar panels, though an increased commitment to clean energy sources in the United States and worldwide does mean more commercial-scale wind and solar farms are contributing to the energy grid. Rather, renewable energy has become accessible on an individual and household level, making it easier than ever to go green. Here are some tips to saving energy - and cash - with renewable energy systems.
How to Use Renewable Energy in your Home
Utilizing renewable energy can take many forms. When we think about solar energy, we usually think solar panels on the roof, but even something like hanging your laundry outside to dry on a sunny day can be considered solar energy. The sun makes our planet habitable, and living organisms have relied on it for heat, light, and energy for almost as long as they’ve been around. Similarly, wind power has been harnessed to perform work for humans since the first millennium. When you think about all the ways renewable energy has always been used, it’s easy to imagine using renewable power in your home!
- Tip 1: Use curtains and blinds to optimize efficiency. As the sun moves across the sky, open or draw your curtains to make the best use of natural light and heat. During both summer and winter, let light in through windows that face the sun, and close the blinds on others. Curtains will insulate your house, keeping it cool or warm depending on the inside temperature. This insulation combined with using natural sunlight during the day can help you save on energy costs.
- Tip 2: Use solar power outdoors. This may seem obvious, but your yard and garden are some of the easiest places to use solar energy. In the absence of big, shady trees, your yard gets a lot of direct sunlight, allowing you to use solar power efficiently. Opt for solar-powered pathway and deck lights that charge throughout the day and light up at night, and solar systems for heating pools and running fountains.
- Tip 3: Install rooftop solar panels. If you’ve ever considered a rooftop solar panel, you may have been discouraged thinking about the initial cost. Fortunately, purchasing solar panels outright is not the only option. Panel leasing and community solar energy initiatives are both ways to make integrating solar power into your home more affordable. If you choose to purchase solar panels for your home, you can make money by selling unused energy back to your utility. Otherwise, batteries that store unused solar energy can save on grid energy costs by allowing you to use the electricity generated during the day at night and during cloudy weather.
- Tip 4: Use wind turbines to generate electricity. While household-sized wind turbines are generally not powerful enough to sustain a house’s energy use, they are a great way to supplement electricity coming in through the power grid. When it comes to saving money and energy, every little bit helps! In conjunction with a solar panel, however, a small household wind turbine can make a big difference. Cloudy or stormy days when a solar panel may not produce much energy are perfect for wind energy collection, and can help you maintain clean energy use no matter the weather.
Clean energy is the way of tomorrow, and it’s easier than ever to make a commitment to being green. Renewable energy systems are becoming more accessible and affordable all the time, and more people are using renewable electricity sources for their homes and businesses. Are you ready to take the first step?