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Many homes have already embraced harnessing natural sources of energy to power their everyday lives, but understanding how it truly works isn’t that widespread. Among the many questions surrounding green technology and renewable energy one always stands out – what are the economic benefits?
First of all, you should know that it’s not some magic transformation. If you take a closer look at the first law of thermodynamics you’ll see that it does say that energy is transformable, but it also says it is not something we are able to create or destroy. So the only way to save energy is not to use it. Natural sources of energy are renewable, but that doesn’t mean they offer a method of energy conservation– it’s all about reducing our dependence on fossil fuels.
The starting point in reducing your recurring energy costs can come in the form of simple and common sense techniques. Many people are not ready for upfront expenses at the beginning, and these solutions don’t require installation, construction, or any other major changes.
- Unplug completely
Most people think they’re saving energy by simply turning off their home appliances. But that can’t be further from the truth since there are many modern electronics which use so-called phantom power – the power which actually accounts for 75 percent of the electricity your home appliances consume.
- Seal properly
More than 50 percent of your home’s energy consumption goes to heating and cooling, meaning you can save a lot of money by sealing it properly. Otherwise, you’ll have your thermostat literally regulating the temperature of the whole world while you’ll be paying for it. So make sure all the leaks – around vents, doors, windows, etc. – are plugged. Going a step further and insulating your home you’ll make sure that your furnace and AC units aren’t working overtime.
- Be aware of the capacity
There are many occasions when we don’t need our HVAC system working at maximum power, so install a smart thermostatand regulate temperatures only when necessary. The same story goes for your water temperature – most home activities don’t require hot water to be higher than 140 degrees. If you cross this threshold your plumbing system adds cold water to make this overheated one usable. When it comes to larger appliances such as the fridge, freezer, washer, and dryer – you need to use their full capacity in order to make optimal use of them.
These small changes may not be enough for some for the simple reason they may not produce long-term cost savings. If you want to reduce your energy costs to the lowest possible level there are other major green technologies, but they do require a bigger upfront cost. But before we mention them there’s one solution that deserves its place in the middle – solar panels. Although they come with a bigger upfront cost, the savings they bring almost place them in the unbelievable realm of the Twilight Zone. If you think we’re exaggerating you should know that solar panels are able to eliminate your electric bill completely. If not that, they’ll reduce it so dramatically that your electricity costs won’t be a significant factor in your budget anymore. According to Lendi, this is why Australians are more likely to install solar panels to save money. Of course, savings depend on a few different factors – how much energy you consume and how much your system produces – but rates you would otherwise pay to your utility remain the biggest one. Furthermore, if electricity rates are high in your area you’ll be able to save even more since your savings are equal to the cost you avoid. And with electricity prices on a continuous rise, your savings will continue to grow every year over the lifespan of a solar system, which is more than 25 years.
Rainwater Harvesting System And Wind Generator
Rainwater harvesting systems are actually extremely inexpensive and you can design them yourself. If you hire a contractor for the installation it shouldn’t be more than several hundred dollars. But although these simple mechanical systems are a long-term solution, their part in the overall energy saving process is not a big one – irrigation, flushing toilets, watering plants. But regarding their low cost, they’re still a worthy investment.
Wind generators are a completely different story– their costs vary greatly. You can use off-the-shelf parts from your local hardware stores to build it yourself, but people usually purchase kits or pay for a professional installation. What also varies is their power production capability – many of them will produce only enough to offset up to 15% of your home energy costs. But if you’re ready to give up to $45.000 for purchase and installationthey’ll cover almost 90 percent of your home energy needs.
You can always start saving up with simple changes around the house and in your thinking. Later you can work your way up to more long-term solutions but, as you can see, the best ones are always somewhere in the middle.