Everything You Needed To Know About Wind Power

wind-energy

Wind power employs pole-mounted turbines to generate energy. People began using this method over 4,000 years ago. The earliest forms of wind energy included wind-driven pumps and sailboats. Today, it can deliver eco-friendly electricity that people use for lighting, cooling, transportation, cooking and other purposes.

The wind provides an unlimited source of energy. Turbines produce power in much the same way as a hand-driven dynamo crank. The blades turn a shaft that drives a generator. It creates electricity that can be transferred to electrical lines or stored in a battery.

Great Advantages

Wind turbines help individuals, businesses, and utilities reduce their environmental impact. They don’t directly produce any air or water pollution. Likewise, this equipment doesn’t release any of the harmful greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.

A lack of pollution protects people from developing serious medical problems, such as lung cancer. It also reduces the symptoms of health conditions like asthma. Animals thrive in a clean environment as well. It’s important to remember that our survival depends on certain creatures, such as honey bees, to name but one species that is under threat.

Wind energy is an entirely renewable resource. It doesn’t rely on international shipping or underground fuel deposits. Unlike most power generation methods, it enables people to produce electricity without the use of water. This prevents water pollution and drought-related energy shortages.

In particularly windy areas, turbines can generate power at all hours of the day and night. This makes them particularly desirable for coastal and mountainous locales. People can combine mid-sized wind and solar equipment to maximize renewable energy in places with intermittent sun and wind.

Applications

Wind turbines may be installed in a wide range of locations. Installers can place them near homes, in farm pastures, on offshore platforms, and atop tall hills. If necessary, lights may be added to warn aircraft of their presence.

Offshore turbines can have fixed or floating bases. They benefit from the incessant winds that blow across oceans and other vast bodies of water. Many wind power farms are arranged in horizontal rows.

This form of renewable energy is highly scalable. Whereas traditional power stations are designed to supply electricity for large populations, turbines come in a tremendous variety of sizes. Different models power one piece of equipment, a single home, or hundreds of buildings.

The biggest turbine on Earth can be found in Hawaii. It stands as tall as an office tower with 20 floors. This enormous unit generates sufficient power to energize 1,400 average dwellings.

Conserves Space

Unlike conventional plants or even solar farms, turbines needn’t occupy much land. People can continue to perform other activities in the areas around their poles. For example, a turbine can be placed in a field with crops or livestock.

This is important because open land is scarce in some parts of the United States and other countries. Wind power allows people to generate energy without destroying valuable farmland or numerous acres of wildlife habitat. It also leaves fish in rivers unharmed.

Remote Locations

Wind energy offers a desirable solution when people need limited amounts of electricity in places where it isn’t economical to install power lines. For instance, a small turbine could supply electricity for a weather station on top of a mountain.

Likewise, turbines provide an excellent way to generate energy for off-the-grid homes in remote rural areas. They free residents from using gas generators that emit air pollution, create fire hazards and produce considerable noise in otherwise peaceful locales.

Fewer Risks

Compared to most other power generation technologies, wind turbines are much less likely to trigger disastrous events. They don’t rely on fuels that must be drilled, mined or carried in cargo ships. This prevents catastrophic train and shipping spills.

Although such disasters remain rare, nuclear power stations can melt down and pollute enormous bodies of water while rendering large land areas unlivable. Natural gas extraction has been linked to groundwater pollution and even earthquakes. Wind power enables people to benefit from electricity while avoiding such dire risks.

Economic Advantages

Farmers and other landowners receive substantial payments when utilities install turbines on their property. They help to make farms economically viable without occupying considerable amounts of land. Homeowners who install their own turbines can avoid monthly utility payments and potentially earn credits on their electric bills.

To sum it up, wind power reduces environmental harm in many different ways while benefiting a wide range of citizens. It offers a versatile, scalable and reliable way to generate electricity for almost any purpose.

Categories: Green Technology

What is Green Living?

What-is-Green-Living

Green living encompasses nearly all aspects of life. This lifestyle prevents environmental harm, helping to ensure that humans and animals can safely live on Earth for centuries to come. In some cases, it can offer supplemental benefits, like saving money or protecting your health.

Live Green To Conserve Our Planet

To live in an eco-friendly manner, it’s important to avoid unnecessary consumption. For instance, you could conserve plastic or cardboard by purchasing a large package of rice rather than several small bags or boxes. You can also forgo disposable goods that you don’t really need, such as paper cups and plastic shopping bags.

Renewable Energy

Renewable energy is another important aspect of green living. People can cut pollution by installing wind turbines or photovoltaic panels on their homes. If this isn’t an option, it’s best to find ways to conserve electricity by using more efficient devices or turning off electronics when they aren’t needed.

Other Ways To Reduce Consumption

Transportation plays a major role as well. Although it isn’t always possible, people can greatly reduce their environmental impact by walking or using bicycles. Trains, buses, and car-pooling also save considerable amounts of fuel and minimize air pollution.

Water Consumption

Saving water is crucial, especially in arid climates. This type of conservation also reduces consumption of the electricity that homes use to pump water. Sometimes this task is as simple as taking a shower instead of a bath. It may also involve more complex efforts, such as repairing leaky faucets or replacing inefficient fixtures.

Green Shopping

Green living often prompts careful shopping choices. For example, you might choose to buy an Energy Star appliance, rechargeable batteries or unbleached paper goods.

And while it’s not always a realistic option, buying used merchandise can also reduce a person’s carbon footprint in many situations. For instance, a tremendous amount of used clothing remains in excellent condition. These items don’t need to be shipped across the country or around the world before someone buys them.

You could also visit a restaurant that uses biodegradable containers rather than foam take-out boxes or coffee cups.

Small Decisions Make a Big Impact

These tiny decisions don’t only affect your personal impact on the environment. They set a positive example for other individuals around you.

Organic-food-shoppingThis encourages businesses to supply more eco-friendly products and services. If most people refuse to buy bleached coffee filters or inefficient appliances, manufacturers will need to make improvements and suppliers offer better products.

Green living enthusiasts frequently check ingredient lists when they purchase household supplies. Numerous cleaning products contain harmful toxic chemicals. They can trigger health problems and contribute to water pollution. Fortunately, safe natural alternatives are available.

People also protect the environment by forgoing various chemicals that aren’t really necessary. They let harmless dandelions grow in the lawn rather than spraying weed killers. Others prioritize non-chemical ways to keep pests at bay, such as caulking and weather-stripping.

Not everyone can afford to eat exclusively organic food, but most people have the ability to buy at least a few of these products. Farmers grow organic crops without spraying pesticides or other chemicals, so they’re less likely to harm human or animal health.

Taking Out the Trash

Think twice before throwing any significant item in the trash. Ask yourself if someone else could make use of it in some way. Consider donating it to a thrift shop, offering it for free in the classified ads, or conduct some more research to find out if it could be repaired.

Recycling is also a very important part of living green. You can buy products with packagings that can be recycled, such as cardboard instead of styrofoam or hybrid materials. After using these items, bring the materials to local recycling centers.

Get Your Priorities Green

Green priorities will incentivise you to learn new skills or techniques. You can reduce packaging waste, get better nutrition, or even make a difference with something as simple as learning how to make a printer use both sides of the paper.

Eco-friendly living certainly takes extra time or work in some situations. Nonetheless, it’s worth the effort to gain the priceless benefits of this lifestyle. Green choices can help make it possible for a person to live a long, healthy life while working to preserve what’s most beautiful in our world.

How a Professional Home Energy Audit Will Save You Money

home-energy-auditor

Do you feel like your home’s utility bills are higher than expected? If it costs more to heat your home in winter, chances are that it might cost more to cool your home in summer. But did you know that you can save anywhere between 5%-30% on your energy costs just by ordering an energy audit for your property?

Do I Need an Energy Audit?

If you are not sure if an energy audit is for you, answer the following questions:

  1. Are you remodeling?Thermographic-heat-inspection
  2. Do you want to “go green”?
  3. Do you have high utility bills?
  4. Are you interested in energy efficiency?
  5. Do you want to increase the value of your home?
  6. Are some areas of your home too hot or too cold?

What Exactly is an Energy Audits

An energy audit is an inspection and analysis of your property. The main purpose of this type of inspection is to determine the energy efficiency of your home. This may involve a room-by-room examination of your home. It also involves the analysis of several characteristics of your home, including the windows, ceiling, floors, doors and more.

Many professional energy assessments will include the following methods:

  • blower door test
  • thermographic scan

A “blower door” is a machine used to physically locate air leaks. The blower door fan is temporarily sealed into an exterior doorway using the door panel system. All the interior doors are opened, exterior doors are closed, and some other preparations are made. Once ready, the blower door fan blows air into or out of the home, creating either a positive or negative pressure differential that can be measured. It can also be used to test ductwork airtightness and measure airflow between zones.

A thermographic inspection makes use of an infrared scanning device to detect temperature variations on the interior or exterior of your property. The images collected by this device will help to determine whether or not insulation is required in certain areas.

Once testing has been completed, a written report estimating the energy efficiency of your home will be completed by the professional who did the audit. The report will take into consideration factors such the local climate criteria, roof overhang, as well as the solar orientation.

The auditor will also take other factors into consideration such as:

  • How many people live in the home?
  • Is anyone home during working hours?
  • Are there any areas not being used?
  • What is the average thermostat settings for summer and winter?

How To Find The Best Auditor

It’s extremely important that you find a licensed professional to do the energy audit for you. Luckily, there are several options available if you would like to have an energy audit performed on your property.

Your state or local government should be able to assist you with a list of certified professionals who should be able to assist you. You can also consult The Residential Energy Services Network. This directory will be able to put you in touch with a local professional.

However, be sure to compare at least 3 estimates to ensure you get a feel for the current pricing trends in your region. Always keep in mind when you do this, however, that not every person who is willing to quote you may be a licensed professional. You should always check references before you go ahead and do business with anyone.

 

Remember, the only way to ensure that an energy audit is going to save you money is by having done right, the first time. By taking some time to select the right professional for your audit you will be saving yourself more money down the line.

How To Prepare Your Home for an Energy Audits

When you are expecting an energy auditor, you should take some time to prepare your home. This will help the auditor get the most accurate results. This could include some of the following:

  • move some furniture
  • removing the drapes
  • clear space for ladder access into the attic
  • clear space for access to crawl space, knee wall, or other access hatches

Make a list of all the issues you may be experiencing. This may include things like drafty rooms or areas where condensation is a problem. Also be sure to have copies of your monthly utility bills on hand for the auditor to scrutinize.

How Much Do Energy Audits Cost?

Home energy audits are sometimes subsidized by local governments or utilities. However, you should expect to budget anywhere between $300-$500.  Some contractors will also offer reduced rates should you hire them to make the recommended improvements to your house.

However, this cost will pale in comparison to how much you will be able to save on your utility bills over time.

The benefits of having an energy audit done

Apart from the savings over time, the other benefits of doing an energy audit includes:

  • Improved comfort of your home
  • Increased resale value of your home
  • Accounts for any unnecessary usage of energy
  • Helps you to adopt a greener lifestyle
  • Better health as you eliminate the cause of mold, mildew and improved air quality

When you have completed your energy audit and taken the necessary steps to prevent unnecessary energy consumption, you may be elated once the utility bills start coming in with lower numbers.

Categories: Save Money

9 Ways To Save Money by Going Green

Go-green-and-save

When you decide to go green, the possibilities become endless. Modern homeowners are not only aware that green living starts at home and doing their bit to save the planet….going green allows you to save valuable dollars at the same time!

Green properties have also been on the radar for a long time now…so if you’re in the market to sell your home, it should interest you to know that green properties sell faster…and for significantly more!

Go Green and Save

If you want to do your bit for the environment and embrace green living at the same time, why not try some of the following tips to help you limit your energy usage so that you can keep your energy bills to a minimum.

1. Replace old light bulbs

For a small investment, you can save hundreds of dollars by replacing your old light bulbs with energy efficient fluorescent lights, also called CFLs. You can also opt for LED light. Both of these have their advantages, and it comes down to personal preference. You don’t have to change all of them at once, but once you do, they might last as long as 10 years!

2. Unplug everything

When you’re not using an appliance or other electronics, they may still be using up valuable electricity.

Turn-off-computerJust by being plugged in, DVD players, modems, computers, and a wide array of other comforts we have in our homes all use unnecessary electricity when they remain plugged in after being used.

As for your phone, once that light goes green, you’re wasting electricity.

If you take a few seconds every time just to unplug your electonics once they’re no longer being used, you could save yourself hunders, if not thousands of dollars over time.

3. Buy energy-efficient products

Many of the modern appliances, electronics, heating and cooling systems, lighting and more available on today’s market come with an energy efficient rating. These may come at a higher price tag compared to standard products, but the savings will be worth it over time. Always look for the Energy Star rating if you want to invest in a green lifestyle.

4. Recycle

If you’re able to recycle, why not save all your bottles and cans for a monthly trip to the bottle return center.  While it’s true that you might only save just over $100 per year by recycling used materials like aluminum cans or glass bottles, cultivating a culture of recycling is important for society at large. There are also several economic advantages of recycling in the long-term.

5. Save water to save money

Not only can you take shorter showers – why not install a low flow showerhead?

This could reduce your water usage 25-60%, which means big savings on your bills.

Cheap and easy to install water aerators will help to reduce the flow of water, which will also reduce the costs of your water heating.

6. Save on wash day

Wait until you have a big load before you do the washing. And when the time comes, be sure to use cold water. This will save water and energy on wash day. You should also hang your clothes on the line. Dryers don’t come that Energy Star rating that guarantees savings and you could save a ton of money.

7. Consider solar power

Solar energy is not only abundant – it also holds a number of benefits for the environment. After all, the sun is the one resource that most countries around the world have in abundance. With so many government and local incentives, and trusted solar installers going solar has never been easier. Solar panels on your roof will allow you to start saving on your bills as soon as they are switched on.

8. Turn off the water heater

If you’re simply looking for a quick, no-cost, energy efficient way of saving money, just turn your water heater down. Nobody needs the water coming from your taps to be as hot as it can be. Adjusting your water heater to around 120 degrees could save up to 10 % in water heating costs. Homeowners can also consider a tankless water heater that avoids round-the-clock storage of hot water, as well as constant heat loss.

9. Programmable thermostat

According to the Energy Department, homeowners can save an estimated 10% every year on heating and cooling costs by installing a programmable thermostat. You can adjust the times you turn on the heating or cooling according to a schedule that will help you save money.

Categories: Save Money

6 Reasons Why Solar Power Is Awesome!

Solar panel

Interest in solar energy today is growing more rapidly than ever before.

Green properties have been on the radar for some tome now and modern homeowners all over the world have started seeing the value of converting to solar power.

Not only is solar a clean and environmentally safe energy source but in addition to all the good that can be done for our planet, making the switch to solar power can also help you save money.

Here are 6 reasons why converting your home to solar power is the best way to go:

1. Solar Increase Your Property’s Value

If you’re looking to sell your home, being set up for solar energy is a smart investment for homeowners.

In fact, a study done by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory found that homes equipped for solar power, on average, sold for around 17% more than homes without solar panels on the roof. Homes running on solar energy also sold 20% faster than those running on electricity.

2. Lock In Your Energy Rates

No matter what happens with electricity costs, going green with solar means that you’re always locked into an energy supply at a fixed rate.

3. Get Credit For Excess Power

Whenever your home is generating more power than you need, your meter will begin running backward. When that happens, the utility company in your area will credit you for the power you’re producing. You can then use this excess electricity during evening hours without running up a bill. This is a grid-tied solar system and known as net-metering.

4. Very Little Maintenance

Since there are no moving parts on solar power panels, they’re very durable and there’s really very little to maintain.

Rain will wash off any dust that collects on the panel’s surface, and even if you’re in the desert where it never rains, spraying the panels down once a year should be all that’s required to keep them producing like new.

To keep solar panels functioning optimally they should be 100% clean, but even when they are really dirty they only lose about 5-7% of their efficiency.

5. Helpful For the Environment

Solar panels are a clean and reliable source of energy, and this eco-friendly solution doesn’t place unnecessary strain on the planet’s resources. There are no air pollutants, toxic run-off, or other issues associated with running converting your home to solar power.

6. An Example To Those Around You

It feels good to be a leader, especially in an environmentally-friendly way where you can be sure you’re doing something good for the future of our planet.

Green living starts at home, find trusted tradesmen costs and adopting clean energy sources early on is a crucial part of the process for anyone who wants to adopt a greener lifestyle.

What Is Energy Efficiency?

Energy-efficiency
The term “energy efficiency” often emerges when alternative power sources are discussed. This applies to electronics, appliances, cooling and heating equipment and so much more. Unfortunately, this phrase is misused in ways which only confuse its actual meaning.
 
Energy efficiency isn’t the same as conserving energy. Efficiency relates to the specific ways by which power is produced and consumed.

Efficiency Simplified

 
An energy-efficient device gets the most out of a certain amount of fuel or electricity. The formula to determine efficiency is output divided by input.
 
For example, a car that travels 210 miles on six gallons of gas receives a fuel economy rating of 35 miles per gallon (mpg).
 
Avoiding the trip is “conservation”. Taking a shorter route to get to the same place is “efficiency”. Basically, energy efficiency enables you to get the same results with less sunlight, fuel or electricity.

Energy Efficiency Rating

Many appliances, electronics, some building products, and many other modern amenities all have a rating which reveals how efficient they are.
Renewable-energyA solar panel, for example, is more efficient if it produces extra power from the same amount of sunlight when compared to another type of solar panel
It could, therefore, receive a higher efficiency rating.
 
This rating will differ from one manufacturer to another.
It’s always a good idea to look for the Energy Star Rating if you want to ensure you’re getting the most efficient product.

Global Energy Crisis

Energy efficiency is on top of our global conservation list. Currently, we are striving to find the quickest and least costly way of addressing our planet’s energy security.
 
The world continues to face environmental and economic challenges, and limited energy sources such coal and gas continue to be exploited as demand increases, regardless of the effect it has on the environment.
 
However, there still remains an abundance of untapt natural and renewable resources. Tapping into the Earth’s renewable energy is the only answer to the mass destruction caused by the endless over-consumption and exploitation of natural resources. 

Renewable Energy Sources

The sun is only one renewable energy resource that every country possesses in abundance. Yet the possibilities that solar power can provide is only in its relative infancy – with massive strides taken in the last few decades alone.
 
The same can be said for hydroelectricity, wind power, and other forms of renewable energy as well.
 
It’s important that we apply energy efficiency at home first, in our daily lives. Green living always starts at home. This will ensure that we serve the needs of the present without compromising future generations and their energy needs.

Power of the Future

The energy crisis is a broad and complex topic. Most people don’t feel connected to its reality unless there is a power failure for a few hours or even a line at the gas station.
 
However, as energy efficient policies and other government incentives have makes an impact on the global energy market, renewable energy has finally started playing a key part to address the ongoing energy crisis.
 
Energy efficiency is key to ensuring a safe, reliable, affordable and sustainable energy system for the future.
 

How Long Do Solar Panels Really Last?

Solar-panel-installation

If you’re ready to convert your home or business to be more sustainable and make use of green energy, solar panels are an excellent option.

That being said, the overall lifespan of solar panels is an issue that is continuously being called into question.

With a slew of conflicting information on the market, where do you turn to find the definitive answers in terms of the longevity of your solar panels?

Let’s have a look and answer this questions once and for all….

The average lifespan of solar panels

It’s imperative to note that the quality, and thus the lifespan, of solar panels, depend on several factors.

These include the specific materials used, the manufacturer itself, and the basic upkeep of the materials.

However, it’s equally important to keep in mind that the first solar panel ever is still in working order after 60 years of use. In addition, Kyocera has reported that they have several solar panels which continue to offer outstanding performance after being installed for almost 30 years.

In the majority of cases, solar panels offer no less than 10 years at 90%, and 80% over 25 years of the manufacturer’s stated power generation rating. Most panels are expected to operate at no less than 60% even after 40 years.

What happens at the end of their lifespan?

Fortunately, solar panels have such long lifespans that very few people have ever had to deal with the need to dispose of them.

Even if you’ve got some very old panels, they are probably still worth keeping.

However, the substantial silicon components in solar panels do pose an environmental hazard. They must be disposed of properly should you ever have to.

At present, there aren’t many services equipped to deal with spent solar cells. However, that is not something anyone will have to worry about anytime soon, and it is expected that by the time disposal does become an issue, solar disposal services will become a normal part of our everyday recycling culture.

If you do have unusable solar panels, place them inside an enclosed concrete structure and contact a disposal company that handles these kinds of waste products.

Extending the life of home solar panels

Luckily there are many things you can do to help preserve your solar paneling and maximize their lifespan:

Avoid damage

The first method is to avoid physical damages. This may be easier said than done, however, and the more scratches and physical damage a panel endures, the faster it will deteriorate.

Regular maintenance

Perhaps the most important method is to keep up with maintenance. This is done by having them serviced if there are noticeable issues or wear and tear, as well as keeping up with proper cleaning of the panels, but this may occur much less than you actually think.

Smart placement

The more severe weather they are exposed to, the faster your solar panels will become worn. In order to prevent this, give some thought to their placement of your panels in relation to the weather patterns that frequent your area.

Overall, solar paneling is a relatively new technology with major advances in the last few decades.  Installing them not only helps the environment as well as your wallet, but you will be a pioneer in terms of helping to develop this technology for future generations.

Live Off-Grid in Your Ecocapsule

Ecocapsule

If you have dreams of going completely off-the-grid and embrace the ultimate in sustainability, look no further than your very own Ecocapsule. This compact dwelling resembles an egg-shaped, energy efficient dome which solar panels and a wind turbine.

Tiny Homes

The Ecocapsule was originally designed by Nice Architects for living by professionals who work in remote locations, like forest rangers, and scientists. However, its developer eventually decided to create a house that would appeal to a wider range of customers.

This type of design now benefits from the increasingly popular tiny house movement. More and more people want to cut their costs and simplify their lives by turning to low-cost, low-maintenance, eco-friendly homes.

Efficient Living

The Ecocapsule’s interior measures only 86 square feet, yet it features a kitchenette, storage area and a bed that sleeps two. Although it isn’t particularly spacious, it does offer a number of valuable advantages.

It has virtually zero environmental impact after the manufacturing process comes to an end, and owners of this smart design become self-reliant without the need to spend much money on maintenance, energy or real estate.

And even if these amenities don’t satisfy people who desire big-screen TVs and specialized cooking appliances, this dwelling will meet all your basic needs for an extended period of time.

Locations

These eco-friendly pods can be placed in a huge variety of locations. They can be seen in remote rural campsites or on top of buildings with strong roofs. Other options include urban parking spaces and campgrounds with recreational vehicle sites.

Size & Weight

Its minimal weight and dimensions also make it comparatively easy to store, transport, or use in a wide range of locations. It weighs just over 3,300 pounds and measures 15 x 8 feet. The pod is small enough to fit in a shipping container.

There are several different ways to move this house from one place to another. It’s possible to carry the capsule on a truck, tow it on an open trailer behind a vehicle, or transport it inside of an enclosed cargo trailer.

Bathroom

Additionally, this environment-friendly home offers a bathroom with a hot shower and flush toilet. There’s no need to connect it to a costly municipal water supply either. This capsule collects water from rain showers or morning dew, and the water is filtered before it goes through the plumbing system.

Power Supply

In addition to providing its own water supply, the Ecocapsule generates its own electricity with solar panels and a retractable wind turbine. These renewable energy sources power the lights, appliances, and can even be used to charge an electric vehicle’s battery.

Battery

Naturally, there are sure to be times when the wind stops blowing and sunlight becomes scarce. This eco-friendly home’s rechargeable battery stores enough extra electricity. It can hold about 9.7 kilowatts of power, enough to run a medium-sized electric fan for approximately 200 hours.

Emergencies

Another possibility is that governments and charities could send these pods to disaster zones. When severe storms or earthquakes destroy infrastructure, they would still be able to provide comfortable temporary housing. The manufacturer uses materials that stand up to strong winds and other inclement weather.

Other Alternatives

Several other companies also offer tiny homes. These include the WaterNest 100 from Ecoflolife, and the G-Pods from Ornate Garden.  Tiny house enthusiasts can also consider the metal and wood DropXL from In-tenta or the see-through Alpine Capsule from Ross Lovegrove.

 

Categories: Green Technology