Different Ways to Use Renewable Energy at Home

Now more than ever, the increasing costs of electricity and natural gas are motivating people to look for cheaper alternatives. Being energy efficient shouldn’t be a challenge and, in fact, can be economically rewarding and make living in your homes more comfortable.

Natural Home Heating

There are several ways to heat your homes without blowing up your budget and destroying our planet. Here are some examples:

  • Fireplaces and wood stoves – Burning wood to warm up a room can be an excellent source of renewable heat. However, it must come from decayed or dying trees or trees that need to be chopped down for various reasons. A well-designed fireplace or stove can minimize the amount of smoke the fire generates, thus, minimizing presence of pollution in the air.
  • Solar Energy – There are times when it feels hot when you get inside a car on a sunny, winter day. The sun’s rays can be utilized to heat up your homes. Windows facing south allow the sunshine to pass through when solar energy is low in the winter sky.  A suitable roof overhang installed above these windows can prevent the hot sun’s rays in the summer.
  • Thermal Mass – Even during hot summer days, a well-shaded concrete-made sidewalk feels cooler. So floors made from stone, concrete, tiles, or earth can make a house feel much cooler during summer days and minimize dependency on air conditioning.
  • Thermal Chimney – this is based on the principle that hot air goes up on top of lofty spaces and is substituted below by cooler air. For two-storey houses, you can open up the first floor windows and the window on top of the stairs.

Natural Home Cooling

green homeAir conditioners can consume a lot of electricity, especially on hot summer days. Cooling and heating systems discharge more than half a billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere annually, which further aggravates global warming. They produce about 24% of the country’s sulfur dioxide, a primary component in acid rain. Much of the costs incurred from cooling systems in homes can actually be significantly reduced through a passive cooling system that doesn’t require costly professional installations or retrofits. Here are some free or low-cost ways to cool your homes with very minimal impact on the environment and your electricity bill.

  •  Light colors – Dark-colored home exteriors absorb about 80-90% of sun’s radiant energy and this absorbed energy is transferred to the home through conduction which results in aggravated heat. However, light-colored surfaces obstruct the heat away from the home.
  • Radiant Barriers – this foil-faced material is attached on the underside of the roof to help reflect away the incoming heat.
  • Shading – it is one of the most effective and simplest method to naturally cool your home and lower energy consumption. You can cut back about 40% of cooling costs through shading techniques like installing drapes or blinds, and landscaping.
  • Roof Vents – to lessen the amount of accumulated heat in your house, you can ventilate your attic using roof vents. Roof vents only costs $5-$10 and is so easy to install. They must be placed on each end of the roof, 12’ between the ends.

Image by Flickr