A Real Green Revolution?
If you are like me, just a normal person who lives in a typical neighborhood and not out in the wild of very rural areas, then you have often wondered how you could be more green in your energy production and use.
Often we look at our gas, electric, LP Gas or oil heat bills and wonder how can I save money. Most of us have done the traditional things like adding insulation, using compact fluorescent bulbs, sealing cracks around doors and windows, buying newer energy efficient windows and home appliances, maybe even purchasing a new more efficient furnace. But we still see our energy bills going every higher.
Some of us have even added some form of wood to our heating system in order to stay warm in the winter. Wood heating systems such as sealed fireplaces, wood stoves or pellet stoves. Some of us have even bought one of those new coal or corn cob furnaces. You know the kind that usually comes with its own little hut and you place outside your home.
But again we see that the fuel source, wood or coal or corn cob seems to be eating an ever bigger portion of our monthly budget. We wish there was an easier way to "go green" with our energy needs but either we don't want to move or we can't afford to move or build from the ground up.
So what is the average guy to do? There are other things you can do and I will discuss some of those methods that almost everybody can do to help lower their energy cost as well as go green and help save the planet.
Solar Energy for the Home
I won't try to explain how solar energy works here. (There are a couple of videos below that will do a much better job than I have room for here) Lets just say almost anyone with a roof or sidewall can install some solar panels.
Solar panels can do one of two main things that will provide you with ability to harness the power of the sun. Now before you say the sun is not that powerful, you must remember the sun, the yellow/orange orb in the sky, powers everything not made by man on this planet. Yes everything. Every single living thing on this planet uses the suns power in some form or fashion from our food to the trees and even the powerful wind and weather.
Man cannot say that. In fact, the sun is now powering a lot of man made things on this planet as well from light bulbs to automobiles to major industrial factories. The sun is also a free energy source. Well its free after you buy your solar collectors to harness its power. But as you will learn later in this hub, even solar panels can be had on the cheap.
How Solar Panels Work Large or Small
Renewable Solar power for your home
Wind Power on a Small Scale
When most of us think of wind power, we think of the giant and super giant modern wind mills that often grace the top of a hill or seem to float out on the ocean. By the way, the official industry term for this kind of energy producing product is Wind Turbine. But I think Wind Mill sounds better.
The truth is, there are a lot of much smaller models that a typical homeowner can use to help power their home or office. In fact there are a lot of models that come in many shapes and sizes that one can use for the home, office or industrial complex.
Often people say that wind mills are noisy. This is true of the giant and super giant variety but the smaller models used for the home are often very quiet. In fact some are so quiet you may not even know that they are actually turning and producing electricity.
Models vary greatly on how efficient they are. Some models can turn and produce power in wind as low as a few miles per hour. Some models, even though they may produce more power, need a stronger wind of 10 miles per hour or more to turn.
Wind mills also don't look like the old wind mills from the farms of yesteryear nor do they look like the typical wind mills we think of when it comes to the country of Holland. But, you can actually get new models that look exactly like those, if you so desire to have that look.
The video below gives great information about wind mills, how they work and how you can use them even if you might happen to live in a community that frowns on traditional wind mills.
Great Wind Mill/Wind Turbine Information
Reducing Your Energy Load
There are a myriad of products that are designed to use as little power as possible. In fact, if you have the money, you can really go all out.
You can have a system designed for an existing home or apartment that cost in the thousands of dollars and it will help you reduce your external energy needs to zero during peak production.
In addition, you can add battery banks that will store energy so that you can draw on that energy produced by your solar panels or wind mills when they are not able to produce power. In fact there are a growing number of homes and other buildings all across North America that are capable of doing just that. Those property owners often open up their monthly energy bills from the energy producers to find a check. Yes if you produce enough power, you can actually get a check back from your power company.
But most of us cannot achieve such a state of energy bliss for one reason or another. But we all can reduce our consumption of power to help any size system we may have and lower our bills to an extremely low level
Of course, there is not much you can do about appliances once you have them. So you must shop for and purchase the most energy efficient appliance you can get and afford. That mean everything from your refrigerator to your cook top and oven to your counter top appliances to your entertainment systems and computers.
All appliances have an energy star rating on them and your local appliance dealer can help you decipher which appliance is best for you. And of course you can also just turn off or unplug unused appliances.
One area often over looked by homeowners is their lighting. Today, it is possible to light your home with very efficient bulbs. LED or Light Emitting Diode now come in a variety of bulbs. The most common form of LED lighting is holiday lights.
But you can also get general LED light bulbs that draw less than a single watt of power. Now these kinds of light bulbs are most useful for decorative lighting and mood lighting purposes. But you can also get LED bulbs that are as bright or brighter than incandescent (traditional bulbs) or compact fluorescent bulbs. And they draw even less energy than compact fluorescent do.
I have a number of LED bulbs in my own home and I am very happy with what they do. In fact, LED come in a variety of bulb shapes and sizes and bases that can be used in existing lighting fixtures. So you don't need to replace Aunt Anne's lamp that has been in the family for a century.
To be sure, because it's a new form of an old technology (LEDs have been around for decades) it is a bit pricier than compact fluorescent but you can get some bulbs for under $8 at a home center or online.
The video below gives you some ideas for LED uses. I use LED bulbs in almost all of task lighting fixtures and have seen my electric bill drop significantly. Now the general lighting LED bulbs as well as some of the task lighting bulbs can be expensive, upwards of $60 per bulb, you are using a LOT less electricity and they last and last and last so it is likely that you may never need to replace that bulb ever again. That alone will save you money but the less electricity you pay for, will allow the bulb to pay for itself.
LED Lighting For Your Home
One Last Thing
One Last Thing; if you like this post, if you have questions, if you have something to add, why not put it in the comments below. Also don't forget to check out my other post and why not follow me as well so you can get more direct contact info with me or be notified when I post something new you may find interesting. And, of course, feel free to share this with those you care about. Thanks for reading.
dashingscorpio from Chicago on December 28, 2010:
Very informative hub!
I think I made the ultimat sacrafice though when I chose not to have children. Less people, Less damage to the planet. LOL!