Have you Considered Renewable Energy for Your Home?

| 4/14/2009 3:41:19 PM

Tags: renewable energy, solar, wind, reader response, question to readers,

Have you considered installing renewable energy systems at your home? For example would you be most likely to have a wind turbine, or solar electric panels? Have you thought about a solar water heater, a solar space heater or solar-powered outdoor lights?

Tell us what you’ve considered and why; whether you’re dreaming big or starting small; and how far in the future you hope to be able to make it happen.

If you’re looking for more information on your options, this article, All Kinds of Solar, is a quick list of the many different ways people use solar energy. Another good introduction to home-scale renewable article is the article Choosing Renewable Energy, which discusses one couple’s efforts to get off the grid with wind power, solar power and wood heat.


sherry majors
4/26/2009 8:45:07 AM

My sons and I would love to stop paying our co-op. our electric bill in the winter with all the farm electric that has to be used is over $300.00 a month! yes we would love to have wind/ solar but where do we start? we raise our own food try to live with my disability pay, there isn't much left. Is there help out there?

dotti _1
4/25/2009 4:33:34 PM

we have made many changes to your home to be more energy eff. but i want to do more. but i am having a hard time find wind or solar power companys to purchase these items from. not sure what to buy. we recycle every thing. we grow our own food that we can. i want to do more but i am confused about solar or wind. there is nothing near by to purchase a solar system or wind even both. please help

4/21/2009 2:45:23 PM

Hello everyone, Few months ago, i saw an ad for a alternate energy from stationary bike in the mother earth magazine. Unfortunately lost the information. Does anyone have the info. Some websites listing similar one for $900 but i dont remember that price for the bike. Any information will help. Please pass one any website links or company name who manufactures those. thanks, Anitha.

luke _1
4/21/2009 12:16:59 PM

I'm planning a batch water heater to supplement my natural gas system. Any advice out there on tanks to use and such?

4/20/2009 8:42:21 PM

We have just bought 2 wind turbines,and 4 solar panels that provide electricity and will warm the water for our basement's radient heat. we're trying to find a water turbine to tap that fast flowing streams on our propery, for more electric power. we use minimum electricicity and conserve the best we can but want to pay less and get it from a never ending resource, and it seems we'll just have to do it our selves. we already heat our home with an outdoor wood furnace. we bought 5 logtruck loads of feld trees for $1200 and that's been enough to heat our 4 bedroom home,garage, barn, plus the domestic hot water, for 3 years. we do cut and split the wood ourselves, but how many people are paying $400 a year for heat and hot water. plus an added bonus has been the bio-char that i've been throw in the garden and in winter cleaning the woodstove helps melt the paths between the woodstove, the stacked wood and the house. reading the article let me know i'm doing a good thing for my yard and why it works. i just knew something was helping out great!

4/20/2009 9:25:06 AM

I am a carpenter/green adviser and part of my work is finding the problems with homes that make them less efficient. Before ever converting systems it is extremely important to find the flaws in your home that are losing your energy. Windows, doors, attics, crawl spaces, baseboards and dryer vents are a few common problem areas. Simply taking the back of your hand around these areas where connections to the outside exist will tell you if you're losing air. Older houses can be especially drafty and resolving the loss of air can reduce energy use dramatically! Unplugging electronics when not in use is HUGE! TV's and Video players draw more power when not in use than when they're on. Little things add up!

alan jones_1
4/20/2009 6:28:33 AM

Step 1: Practice conservation. Get used to turning those lights off. Step 2: Invest in energy efficient bulbs and appliances. Current alternate energy devices are still pretty weak compared to what we're used to, so if you have an old fridge that makes the house lights dim every time it turns on - its time to get a new one. Step 3: Not one source of alternate energy will do it. You need an eclectic mix of wind, solar electric, and solar heat to get you cranking, even then you might not get off the grid, but you'll get closer to the edge.

bill webster_2
4/19/2009 4:33:45 PM

I live near Lake Erie in Canada, and have an abundance of wind. Last year I put up a 400 watt wind turbine from Canadian Tire. I installed it and made a tower myself. I have been using it mostly for lights and and a small heater in the winter. So far, no problems. Hopefully, I'll be able to add some more batteries and some solar panels this year.

george works
4/19/2009 1:01:15 PM

My wife and I retired to a tiny Caribbean island where the price of electricity is very high and the service is unreliable. We installed a solar water heater and a grid-tie solar photovoltaic system ourselves. Both have worked flawlessly for three years now, and we have enough solar power to manage comfortably when the local grid is down for a few days. But even with "free" installation and maintenance, and with our high electric rates, it will take 15 years for our system to pay for itself. My advice to anyone considering solar electric is, first do everything possible to reduce your electricity use. New high-efficiency appliances cost less than the solar panels to run inefficient ones.

4/19/2009 5:23:53 AM

My husband and two small boys and I are currently living in the Middle East. We are hoping to move back to the US in a few years and buy land/build a home/live off the land. We are doing a LOT of reading and planning! but still have questions; perhaps someone could share some experience and advice with us? We would love to use passive solar for heating and cooling and active solar for our energy needs. Assuming we have space in the country, is it better to have the solar panels on the ground, or is a rooftop system better? (We plan to live where there is winter snow!) I read online that you should avoid rooftop systems as they can damage the infrastructure of the roof?!?! I would also be concerned about snow covering the panels in the winter. . . are there cons to a ground-level system? Thanks for any advice you can give!

4/18/2009 5:51:41 PM

I have a solar water heater that I have put on the roof but have not hooked up yet. Here in Maine they just put in a wind farm near my property. Despite this, The local Electric Cooperative buys rather expensive power from Canada. It would really be nice if some grants could be applied for under the stimulus package so that homeowners could put up their own wind generators to feed the grid.

robin c. rutan_1
4/18/2009 10:33:32 AM

I live in a single-wide manufactured home. All of my lighting is by CFS. I have good insulation and double paned

4/18/2009 6:54:36 AM

Yes, my husband and I have been considering solar or wind power. But being 55 and 60 years old, we weren't sure if the return on investment would be worth it for us. Only one company locally installs solar or wind systems and they're talking $18-20,000 which is not in our budget. Any advice??

4/17/2009 11:45:07 PM

I currently live in an apartment, but I'm trying to buy a home. I constantly dream of all of the eco-friendly improvements that I can make that will help me be more financially independent and kind to the earth as well. When I buy a home, I will probably work on sealing the house first, and making sure that the windows and the insulation are up to snuff. I will definitely use low energy light bulbs, and I will use power strips so that I can make sure that all appliances/chargers/computers/electronics are turned off whenever I leave the house. After that I'm thinking about installing a green roof, with solar tubes for lighting, with water harvesting capabilities, and solar panels. I'm not sure if I will try to install a solar water heater, or if I will go for the flash water heater. I don't know how long all of this will take, but I'm hoping that slow and steady will eventually win the race!

4/17/2009 9:34:13 PM

Last spring we purchased a solar charged electric lawn mower. The small solar panel was our first foray into solar energy. It was much simplier than I thought. http://dailyhomerenotips.com/2008/12/28/energy-conservation-project-listing-solar-charged-lawn-mower/ That then lead us to install a solar air heater in the fall. Of course, much more effort, but it was not complex. It simply took a day of two of us installing the unit without any prior experience. http://dailyhomerenotips.com/2008/10/24/solar-air-space-heating-part-1-another-type-of-solar-energy/ We are very pleased with both projects and recommend then to anyone. Dan

pat morgan
4/17/2009 6:28:17 PM

We have been here 39 years. We have replaced windows, insulated and in short recycled even our furniture. The problem is now we wante to do more but aside from our garden we cannot afford more. I want a more ecofriendly toilet for instance but its out of randge. We are on a fixed income and frankly I love your book now as I did a long time ago. However now I can only drool over the things I want to do.

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