Renewable Energy Applications for Your Home
By Sarahbeth Kluzinski
Renewable energy is a wonderful asset in today’s society, who can unfortunately be guilty of over-consumption and wastefulness. It is an innovative method of producing energy without burning fossil fuels whose emissions pollute the environment. It is energy provided by a resource that replenishes itself naturally within a human time-scale. There are several types of renewable energy, including plants, wind, rain, sun, tides, and more. But when it comes to today’s advanced uses of renewable energy for the home or office, solar, geothermal, wind power, and hydroelectric are the four most common sources. Continue reading to learn about these categories of renewable energy and how they can be applied at home.
Our atmosphere is powerfully swirling and churning above us without fail, so it is no surprise that we have taken an interest in learning how to harness that energy for ourselves! Wind power is extraordinary because it carries an abundant amount of force, force that can be used to power our homes and offices. The instrument used to harness the wind is called a wind turbine. Wind turbines and are usually white, and stand tall with large defined blades. They generate power as their swift blades turn in the wind. The spinning blades send force to a generator, which then produces electricity for a home.
Hydroelectric power works in a very similar way to wind power, minus the wind. Instead, it uses the force of moving water to produce and harness energy. In order to utilize hydroelectric power, you must have access to a flowing water source. Ideally this would be a dam or river, but can also come in other forms. You must also have permission from local authorities to install hydro-electric renewable energy operations, like a micro-hydropower system.
Although an uncommon source of renewable energy, geothermal power can still be harness and used to produce energy for the home. It uses the internal heat of the ground below, which interestingly remains at a steady 50 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit all year long. A geothermal heat pump is the apparatus used to harness internal ground heat as a means to heat and cool a property. It circulates fluid in a loop-like fashion, through a system of underground pipes, then to the home’s heat exchanger where the heat is removed from the fluid and used to heat (or cool) the inside. This process is simply reversed for cooling purposes.
There are several ways to use renewable solar power in the home. For instance, water heaters now come with solar-powered models. These units use the sun’s energy to heat water in a storage tank, allowing the unit to deliver heated water on demand. Additionally, solar roof panels are a common renewable energy asset for homeowners. When exposed to sunlight, solar paneling uses the photovoltaic effect (solar cells converting sunlight into energy) to produce electricity for a home. A few years ago, it was a larger initial investment that paid off over time, but nowadays, the price for solar paneling has dropped substantially, so anyone can afford it!
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