Numerous brands of wind turbines as well as kits and plans for home-built turbines are available for residential use. A large residential wind turbine can cost thousands of dollars, so carefully planning its location to take advantage of the best wind on your property is vital, as is considering the amount of electricity you need or want to generate.
Conducting a home energy audit sounds more complicated than it is -- you don't need to hire a professional to identify money-saving areas. Keep records of your energy use, conduct do-it-yourself audits and develop plans for increasing energy-efficiency. Put your findings to use and enjoy the financial and environmental returns. (See References 1 and 2)
Electricity powers most of the tools we use every day, such as computers, cell phones, televisions, hair dryers, refrigerators and cooking appliances. Electrical energy also provides heat and air conditioning to keep homes at a comfortable temperature. However, consuming energy uses fossil fuels --- nonrenewable resources --- and generates carbon dioxide and pollution, which damage the environment. Simple strategies ...
If you want to cut back on your household's energy consumption, your refrigerator is one of the best places to start. In 2001, a survey by the U.S. Energy Information Administration found that refrigerators vied with central air conditioning for using the greatest share of household energy. Refrigerators alone accounted for 14 percent of the average home's energy usage, more than any other appliance (see References ...
More Articles on Energy Audits
The hotter the roof, the more energy it takes to cool the building beneath it. So, in 1999, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star program began rating roofing materials for energy efficiency. Traditionally, asphalt shingles have been among the hottest roofing materials available, but manufacturers have been finding ways to make them more reflective and reduce the amount of heat they absorb. Many of them have earned an Energy Star rating.
A whole-house energy audit is not unlike a pre-rental walk-through, although you are looking for areas that do damage to your energy bill rather than areas damaged by the previous tenants. Whether you occupy a storied Victorian from a bygone era or a contemporary townhouse in a new subdivision, chances are good that you will find room for improving your home's energy efficiency during your energy assessment walk-through. By identifying and then addressing energy issues in your home, you can save 5 to 30 percent on future utility bills (see References 1).
For business and home owners, energy use can be a concern from both a fiscal and moral standpoint. High energy use means high electricity bills, which can reduce the spending ability for other activities; by reducing power use, you can save money and reduce your impact on the environment.
The Energy Star program began as a voluntary labeling program in a joint effort by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy back in 1992 as a way for consumers to zero in on products that would help them save energy and simultaneously be good for the environment. Originally confined to computers and related products, it rapidly spread to include many other household and office items as well as building materials and even entire homes and commercial buildings. (See References 1)
An energy audit is a way to assess your building's energy use and find ways to make improvements. With the results of the audit, you can reduce energy use and cut utility bills. As you prepare to conduct an audit, it can be helpful to have a floor plan to make notes for specific places and keep track of your notes.
As of 2011, the federal government has continued tax credits for making energy efficiency improvements to your main home, although they are somewhat reduced from earlier years. Still, homeowners can recoup some of the expenses associated with improving their home's energy efficiency on insulation, doors, roofs, windows, air conditioners and water heaters. The credit does have a $500 lifetime cap and only a portion of the expenses are allowed as a tax credit. Additionally, some taxpayers may not qualify to use the tax credit in a specific year due to tax rules, but any unused portion of the credit may be forwarded to a future year. Significant energy expenditures on solar energy systems, wind turbines and geothermal heat pumps receive a tax credit of 30 percent of cost with no upper limit.
Rising energy bills and concerns about the environment are leading more homeowners to consider energy audits. A professional provides a detailed assessment of your home's energy use and energy efficiency, as well as suggestions for conservation or retrofits. The U.S. Department of Energy reports that simply sealing and insulating your home can save up to 20 percent on heating and cooling costs (see References 1).
Wind is a form of solar energy created by interactions between atmospheric heating, irregularities in the earth's surface and the earth's rotation. Wind is a clean energy source that is endlessly renewable and remarkably reliable. It does not pollute the air or cause acid rain like fossil fuels. (See References 1) Advances in wind turbine technology and an abundance of regions with winds suitable for producing power have made wind power the fastest-growing source of energy in the world. (See References 1, 2)
The world is experiencing an energy crisis. While there is disagreement among experts on the exact time frame, it is understood that our nonrenewable energy sources will be gone within a few decades minimum or a few hundred years maximum. Unfortunately, the term "nonrenewable energy source" has become jargon and many people do not understand it refers to the energy sources they use every day. Many of these energy sources are fossil fuels --- byproducts of fossilized organic matter --- and all of them require intensive extraction practices like drilling or mining. (See References 1 and 2)
Coal forms from organic material that decays and experiences pressure and heat for millions of years. Since they take so long to form, fossil fuels like coal and oil are nonrenewable. The process to generate energy from coal involves mining the coal, then transporting, cleaning and burning it. Water heated by burning coal converts into steam and generates electricity. Each stage of this process generates pollution. However, plans to reduce its pollution output may improve coal's standing as an energy source. (See References 1)
Renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind, generate power without depleting natural resources in the process. Because these resource renew themselves, they have unlimited potential. The U.S. Department of Energy emphasizes the use of domestic renewable energy sources as an important part of developing energy security and curtailing climate change. (See References 1)
Forty-nine percent of energy consumed in the U.S. in 2009 was for commercial and industrial use, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (see References 1). For an office or industrial facility, energy costs can be a significant part of the budget, particularly if you run a great deal of electricity-consuming equipment. For businesses serving an eco-conscious customer base, saving energy costs by going green can create an environmentally friendly reputation that makes consumers feel better about purchasing your goods or services.
No matter how much you support alternative energy, you are still responsible for some carbon emissions from electricity use at home or work, or through transportation or even the emissions inherent in the food and merchandise you buy. If you are looking to compensate for this, purchase renewable energy credits that equal the amount of carbon your lifestyle releases into the atmosphere. Each credit represents a megawatt-hour of energy that has been produced without the release of carbon dioxide. Renewable energy producers earn these credits as they create clean electricity, and then they sell the credits to help fund their alternative energy projects and increase the amount of clean energy available. (See References 1)
The proliferation of suburban development around city centers creates urban sprawl. Low population density defines areas affected by urban sprawl, as does the separation of residential, commercial and industrial zones (see References 1, page 3). Energy consumption tends to be higher in these suburban areas, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (see References 3, page 1).
A home energy audit identifies how much energy you use and areas of your home that lack energy efficiency. The procedure requires some knowledge on where to find energy loss and how to utilize maximum savings. The audit combined with implementing changes can significantly reduce your energy consumption and provide you with numerous benefits.
Wind is an enormously potent source of clean energy -- for example, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the wind resources in the Rocky Mountain and Great Plains regions could potentially meet up to 25 percent of the power needs of those states. (See Reference 1) Better yet, wind turbines aren't just for farmers -- a home wind energy system can be relatively unobtrusive. If you garden or farm, you can plant right up to the turbine's base. Selecting the right turbine for you will ensure that you have a long-lasting supply of sustainable and low-cost power.
Living a completely off-grid lifestyle, with the bare minimum of environmental impact, isn't really an option for most people. Commuting to work, showering regularly and using modern appliances are all things that few are willing to voluntarily give up. However, even incremental changes can have a large environmental impact if enough people choose to make them. For example, there are several ways to make your home greener.
The most efficient and least costly method of supplying electricity for most single family homes is to have the home connected to the electrical grid supplying the area or neighborhood. Some homes, however, are located in remote areas not accessible to the national electrical grid -- and these areas could be prone to frequent power outages. Some homeowners choose to supply their homes with electricity fully or partially produced by renewable sources. Alternative sources of electricity are available. Which to choose depends on your situation, budget and needs.
Hybrid electric vehicles or HEVs merge internal combustion engines with electric motors, offering improved fuel efficiency over cars that operate on gasoline only. Many hybrid models do not have to be plugged in like electric vehicles because the batteries can be recharged from regenerative braking technology, electric motors or gasoline engines (See Reference 1). Hybrid models can be classified by their drivetrains as series or parallel (See Reference 2). The drivetrain consists of all the components needed to transfer power to the wheels. Series hybrids offer various advantages and disadvantages when compared to parallel hybrid designs.