Homeowners nowadays are becoming more conscious of how they affect the environment than they ever have been before. We are seeing, more than at any other point in history, more people focus on what their ecological footprint is. More and more people are working to reduce the negative impact they have on the environment, whether that be through recycling, consuming less, or using alternative energy.
The world of renewable energy is still very new, though, and homeowners aren’t always up to date on what options are out there for them to utilize. Here’s a rundown of the current technologies that let you embrace renewable energy…
Solar power is definitely the most common type of renewable energy that we hear about, nowadays. This is because the technology used to capture solar power has continuously taken wide leaps, leading to solar panels becoming more and more common to see on houses in neighborhoods around the United States. Solar power is also the most widely available of all these technologies, as you can get solar power pretty much anywhere in the country (yes, even in states with frequent cloudy weather).
There are plenty of tax credits that are in place for homeowners that want to take advantage of solar power, which makes it more financially feasible for folks, in addition to the money they already will be saving off their power bill. Some communities have even taken it upon themselves to have collective solar grids that help lower the energy costs for an entire neighborhood.
Today, it’s more cost effective than every to install solar panels, as most companies offer payment plans that help you pay for the panels over time. Sometimes, the money you save on energy costs is even greater than the payment for your panels, which means your overall monthly expenses are lower than before you installed solar panels, even as you pay them off.
Homes near running water have an advantage, when it comes to renewable energy, in that they can utilize that force to create hydropower. Many people are scared away by hydropower because they think it requires an enormous system that will be difficult to install. However, recent jumps in hydropower technology have led to the integration of micro hydropower systems, which can sometimes power an entire home.
The effectiveness of hydropower depends on the force of the running water through your property, but it tends to be more reliable than even solar power. If you are curious about setting up a hydropower system, then do some research on what permits you’ll need from your local government, and check to see what types of renewable energy tax credits you can take advantage of.
Like solar power, wind power is very geographically dependent. A cluster of wind turbines can potentially generate enough power to run a small town, but it has to be installed in a place where wind is frequent and has specific patterns that can be predicted. According to the Department of Energy, a small wind turbine has the potential to supply than 75% of an average home’s energy usage.
Like with other types of renewable energy, tax credits are available for homes that want to take advantage of wind power, but there are also zoning restrictions that exist in certain places. Always research about local permits before installing a wind turbine. Also, places that encourage wind power with tax credits will often have resources that help you determine how much energy wind will generate at your home’s specific location.
Geothermal energy is one of the least common types of renewable energy that we see today. Essentially, geothermal power works by capturing the heat that is stored in the ground and then converting it into energy. The heat in the ground comes from the sun and the core of the planet.
Like other types of renewable energy, geothermal has a tendency to be dependent on the current weather (more so than solar power, though). However, if you do install a geothermal pump in your yard, most experts agree that it will likely pay for itself in 4 to 6 years by reducing energy costs each month.
Guest post by Alek Sabin
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