It is a well-known fact that our homes take energy to order to sustain modern living. We need electricity to complete all sorts of tasks around the house. We use it for powering our televisions, wash machines, kitchen appliances including stoves and dishwashers, vacuums, and computers. Just about everything we do around the house in order to live involves the use of some power source, and the main source of power for most homes in the United States and industrialized countries is electricity.
The disadvantage with using electricity, however, is that it is not the most environmentally friendly. Generating electricity takes the combustion of fossil fuels, including coal, oil, and natural gas. When these fuels are burned, carbon dioxide and other pollutants are released into the atmosphere where they can have harmful effects on the Earth and all life. On the other hand, alternative sources of energy are becoming more available to the average homeowner, sources that are easier on the environment and save money on utility bills.
If you live in a location where sunshine is plentiful, solar power might be a viable alternative source of energy for your home. A solar power system can generate electricity and heat for your house, and solar panels can be installed on your roof or the ground. Solar power systems come in two forms, active and passive, and active systems store the energy for later use. There are some considerations to keep in mind, however, like community restrictions and the number of sunny days in your particular area.
Wind power might be a good alternative source of energy. A small wind turbine could generate a good supply of electricity for your home and reduce home energy costs by as much as 90%! Most of these turbines are still connected to the energy grid so that your home draws energy from the power company when there is no power coming from the wind. Again, it is critical that you live in an area where wind power is considerable or it might not be cost effective. There are also some concerns about the impact of wind turbines on creating hazards for birds as well as the aesthetic impact on landscapes.
A good alternative for those who have a stream, creak, or other water source flowing through or near your property is hydropower. Even just a 10-kilowat hydropower system could generate enough power to run a large house or small farm. In order to implement one, however, you need to find out about water rights and getting a permit first.
Another viable option for providing energy for your home is that of geothermal heating. Residential geothermal heating operates through a pump that circulates water through underground pipes. This water is cooled in the summer and heated in winter through the natural temperature of the Earth. This process cuts down on relying on electricity for heating and cooling water for your home.
Overall, there are several good alternatives to electricity when it comes to powering the everyday activities that take place in and around your home. The key is to do your homework in order to determine which one works best for you and your family.