Harnessing renewable energy for the family home

People are also becoming greener by recycling more, with a growing number of councils providing people with the means to be more efficient.

After the recent recession, people have become savvy and more aware of saving money, so being efficient is a priority, and one that naturally comes hand in hand with being green. Besides helping us to save on our energy bills and generally consume less, choosing to be green will also help you do your bit for the environment.

Renewable energy is energy that is generated using an array of natural resources including sunlight, which can be converted into electricity using solar panels; wind, which can be harnessed using wind turbines and converted into energy; and rain, which flows into rivers containing dams to create tides that cause turbines to flow and generate electricity. The great thing about all of these methods is that they are naturally replenished, so they will never run out.

Solar panels are very popular, appearing on houses and garden sheds around the world, while also being used for a number of smaller scale appliances including garden accessories, from shed solar lights and garden lighting, to solar water fountains.

However, the other main renewable energy sources are not as mainstream and people are unaware of how easy they can be applied to every-day living.

Wind Power

Houses that are close to open spaces could potentially have wind turbines installed. These turbines can output more than 60 KWh depending on where they are placed – to put this into context, a wind turbine exposed to wind speeds greater than 5mph can provide enough electricity to power a home.

Geothermal energy

Another renewable energy source that isn’t as well known is Geothermal energy, which is thermal energy that is stored deep with the earth. There are several methods for extracting the heat, with the most common being the geothermal heat pump. Nowadays, homes can be fitted with geothermal heating and cooling systems which provide them with an unlimited supply of efficient heating.

Hydroelectricity Power

Hydroelectricity is energy created by water power. A common method for harnessing its power is by use of water turbines, which are hooked up to a source of flowing water. This makes hydroelectric power ideal for those that have properties placed close to running water, whether it’s a river, stream or waterfall. A great thing about this type of renewable energy is that it produces very little direct waste, making it super efficient.

Hydroelectric power makes up around 90% of all electricity generated from renewable sources, while close to 20% of the world’s entire electricity production comes from hydroelectric power plants.

While installation costs can be quite high for all of the setups mentioned, renewable energy systems will benefit homeowners in the long-run, so are well worth investing in.

Resources:

Energy Saving Trust

Renewable Energy Association

Department of Energy & Climate Change

Renewable Energy Systems

Low Energy House

The Renewable Energy Centre

Solar Energy International

European Wind Energy Association

RenewableUK

 

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