- Save big on heating and cooling with geothermal heat pumps
- Conserve energy before you generate energy
- Solar hot water systems can reduce water heating costs by 80%
Renewable Energy Sources Just Keep on Delivering
Tom and Larry speak about the cost effectiveness of solar panels and weight in the pros and cons of investing in Solar PV and Solar Thermal systems. They also remind us that it ,before investing in any system to generate renewable energy, it is a good idea to make sure your home is able to conserve it.
Renewable energy is about as green as you can get, and this superlative can be summed up with a simple description: Renewable energy comes from natural resources that are clean and inexhaustible. But harnessing renewable resources demands the best technology we can muster, along with hi-tech manufacturing and skilled installation. Translation: It's not cheap or easy to put renewable energy to work at your house.
That's why it's important to make sure you're CONSERVING energy before you start GENERATING energy from renewable resources. It's much smarter to complete less-expensive energy upgrades like air sealing, additional insulation, duct sealing, and HVAC equipment upgrades before you consider solar and wind power.
If you've already made your house more energy efficient by upgrading some or all of the 10 Energy Vital Signs®, then you're primed for a look into renewable energy technology. There are some attractive options to consider, and like other home energy-saving upgrades, there may be federal and state incentives to sweeten the deal. Dr. Energy Saver can help you determine what incentives apply to the upgrades you're considering.
Here are the most common ways to put renewable energy to work at your house so that you can save money and help save the planet.
- Geothermal heat pumps: The steady temperature of the earth makes it possible for ground-source (aka geothermal) heat pumps to operate with super efficiency. A geothermal heat pump can save you 30% - 70% on heating expenses and 20% - 50% on air conditioning, compared to conventional heating and cooling systems.
- Solar thermal: If there's good solar exposure on your roof or elsewhere on your property, a solar hot water system can cut your water-heating expenses by as much as 80%. Some solar thermal systems don't just heat water for washing; they also supply hot water to your heating system for additional energy savings.
- Photovoltaic power: "PV" technology is advancing at a startling pace, and this means that more and more people will be able to cut their electric bills by turning solar energy into electricity.
- Wind power: Putting a windmill on your property definitely means you're planning to stay put for a while. But it's not as outlandish an idea as it once was, thanks to a new type of "vertical-axis" windmill that requires less space and is much more unobtrusive than conventional horizontal-axis windmills.
- Biofuels: We're talking about burning wood or pellets instead of fossil fuels to keep your home warm in the wintertime. These fuel sources qualify as renewable but they're not inexhaustible or completely clean, so there are some caveats to consider.
Dr. Energy Saver can help you decide whether renewable energy sources are right for you and your home with a Home Energy Audit. In some states it is also possible to purchase energy produced from renewable sources, find out here what's available.
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