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Renewable Energy: Options for Environmentally Conscious Homeowners
Renewable energy has become a realistic, practical and viable energy choice. There are many people whose perceptions have changed and are willing to support efforts to develop and adopt renewable sources of energy in light of concerns about rising fossil fuel prices, a fact that will one day prevail. out, and these fossil fuels have a detrimental effect on the state of our environment.
As a result of these changing perceptions, governments have begun to establish policies and adopt programs that will increase the development and use of renewable energy sources to reduce dependence on dwindling fossil fuels and at the same time protect the environment. On a personal level, people have also started taking matters into their own hands in support of these efforts. Just as people have decided to take the initiative and practice waste recycling in their homes to clean up the environment, we are now at a point where renewable energy options for homeowners have become a viable option for serious consideration and implementation.
The same forms of renewable energy that governments are using to power large-scale or meet national needs are also available in smaller versions to homeowners. The idea is to take an existing workable solution – i.e. renewable energy sources such as tidal and wave energy machines that harness the power of the sea or wind/water turbines usually used in coastal areas or mountaintops – and convert it into your own version. Home, back garden (providing your garden is a viable and reasonable size) or farm. The same applies to solar energy, which can be harnessed through the installation of solar panels. These choices are varied and available to homeowners who prefer to use renewable energy.
Many people have already gone out and done this on their own initiative. In some areas, communities have also mobilized resources to use renewable energy sources for their energy needs, especially if they are outside the national power grid and in remote areas. There are people who hesitate to pursue this venture due to financial reasons. Some people are under the impression that installing renewable energy sources in their home or farm is an expensive proposition. Fortunately, that is not the case and there are existing technologies and devices that make this a very practical and cost-effective option. Among them are the following options:
- Solar photovoltaic (PV) panels generate electricity from the sun’s energy. These solar panels are suitable for many homes, as they only require daylight instead of direct sunlight. A house with south, south-east or south-west roof which is free from shade will be suitable for solar technology system.
- Solar thermal panels differ from PV panels in that they collect the sun’s energy and use it to heat water. The panels run alongside conventional boilers. Solar energy can generate up to 65% of household electricity and reduce carbon emissions by less than a tonne.
- Biomass systems burn wood (pellets, chips and logs) to power heating systems and boilers. Homeowners can use a wood burner or stove as a biomass appliance to heat the room if a complete system is not a viable option.
- Micro combined heat and power (CHP) systems replace conventional boiler systems. The system burns gas to heat water and at the same time produces electricity.
- Geothermal heat pumps, also known as ground source heat pumps, extract heat from the ground. They can extract heat using pipes buried in the ground. This system heats water in radiators and homeowners can use it in underfloor heating systems.
- Air source heat pumps extract heat from the air outside the building. Pumps use heat to heat indoor air, heat water in radiators and underfloor heating systems.
- Micro hydro power is a combination of water pressure and flow. This system is like a smaller version of industrial hydroelectric plants. If you have a fast, flowing water source in your garden, such as a stream or river, you can install a small turbine to generate electricity.
- Micro wind energy technology is similar to wind farms, which are now becoming commonplace. This system uses wind energy through a small turbine to generate electricity, but the turbine does not require space, so it is not suitable for small gardens.
All these renewable energy sources are efficient enough to meet the energy needs of an average household. Some energy companies will buy any excess energy you produce at a preferential rate. For example, in the case of solar energy you can use as much energy as you need during daylight hours. Any excess energy will be transferred to the energy company overnight. Every homeowner can make energy changes that help the environment, no matter how small, such as replacing the boiler. For many years, people ignored wood as a fuel. However, recent studies have proven that wood is an excellent source of renewable energy. Modern wood-burning boilers offer high efficiency with low emissions.
Wood is a carbon-neutral fuel with no net carbon emissions or corrosive gases. It is also possible to convert old coal-fired boilers into wood-burning boilers, with logs, wood chips and pellets as fuel sources. As a bonus, homeowners can spread the waste potash as a garden fertilizer. Choosing a renewable energy source like wood (biomass) creates a chain reaction as it helps the environment in other ways. It encourages woodland management, establishment of densely planted short rotation coppice plantations and improvement of forest biodiversity. Fossil fuels will eventually run out and by then oil, gas and coal prices are likely to rise. Renewable energy source offers many advantages. In addition to making a positive contribution to the environment, you can save money. However, it is important to make an informed choice when adopting a renewable energy source to power your home.
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