Renewable energy applications for your home
Renewable energy is a wonderful asset in today’s society, which unfortunately can be guilty of overconsumption and waste. It is an innovative method of producing energy without burning fossil fuels whose emissions pollute the environment. It is energy provided by a resource that is naturally replenished within a human time scale. There are several types of renewable energy, including plants, wind, rain, sun, tides, and more. But when it comes to today’s advanced uses of renewable energy for the home or office, solar, geothermal, wind, and hydropower are the four most common sources. Read on to learn about these categories of renewable energy and how they can be applied in the home.
Our atmosphere swirls and churns powerfully above us without fail, so it’s no surprise that we’ve become interested in learning how to harness that energy for ourselves. Wind power is extraordinary because it carries an abundant amount of power, power that can be used to power our homes and offices. The instrument used to take advantage of the wind is called a wind turbine. Wind turbines are usually white and stand tall with large, defined blades. They generate power as their speedy blades spin in the wind. The rotating blades send power to a generator, which then produces electricity for a house.
Hydropower works much like wind power, minus the wind. Instead, it uses the force of moving water to produce and harness energy. To use hydropower, you must have access to a running water source. Ideally this would be a dam or river, but it can come in other forms as well. You must also have permission from local authorities to install hydroelectric renewable energy operations, such as a micro-hydroelectric system.
Although it is a rare source of renewable energy, geothermal energy can still be harnessed and used to produce power for the home. It uses internal heat from the soil below, which interestingly enough remains a constant 50 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit all year long. A geothermal heat pump is the device used to harness internal ground heat as a means of heating and cooling a property. It circulates the fluid in a loop, through a system of underground pipes, then to the house’s heat exchanger where heat is extracted from the fluid and used to heat (or cool) the interior. This process is simply reversed for cooling purposes.
There are several ways to use renewable solar energy at home. For example, water heaters now come with solar-powered models. These units use energy from the sun to heat water in a storage tank, allowing the unit to supply hot water on demand. Additionally, rooftop solar panels are a common renewable energy asset for homeowners. When exposed to sunlight, solar panels use the photovoltaic effect (solar cells that convert sunlight into energy) to produce electricity for a home. A few years ago, it was a larger initial investment that paid off over time, but today, the price of solar panels has dropped substantially, so anyone can afford them!