Home Power Generation
Find Out Where YOUR Home is Losing Energy:
Home power generation, or micro-generation, is the generation of heat and/or electricity by the building that uses the energy - by homes, multiple units or businesses. The most common types of home power generation are solar, wind and geothermal. Home power generation offers a clean, renewable source or energy which ensures a cost-effective, reliable and sustainable supply of energy. But is micro-generation feasible for the average American home?
Solar home power generation uses photovoltaic (PV) cells to turn the sun's rays into electricity. The PV cells are generally placed on the roof (but can also be placed elsewhere on the property) to collect the sun's rays. While more energy is produced when the sun is shining brightly, the cells work on mere daylight.
Solar energy generation is clean - it produces no greenhouse gas emissions or other pollution. Solar energy generation will continue to produce energy for as long as there continues to be daylight. Energy is collected during the daytime and stored in cells for use at night.
Modern photovoltaic cells are lightweight, so the roof doesn't need to be reinforced as in the past. Solar roof tiles can be used in place of regular roof tiles, and other building materials such as siding are now available with PV technology to capture sunlight.
One drawback to solar home power generation is the high setup cost, which can cost up to $25,000. However, prices are dropping quickly as the technology becomes more popular, and there are government rebates and incentives which significantly reduce the cost.
You may have seen large wind turbines in "wind farms" which are used to produce large amounts of energy. Similar systems are available on a smaller scale for residential use. Like solar home power generation, wind energy is clean and renewable - it produces no air or water pollution, and it's available as long as the wind continues to blow.
Wind turbines for residential use aren't available in urban areas, because they need height and no obstructions from buildings and trees. Perhaps newer wind turbine technology will emerge to better harness the wind's energy in crowded spaces.
While cheaper than solar energy systems, wind energy systems are still quite costly, between $6,000 and $22,000 depending on the size. Government incentives are also available for wind energy systems which can defray the cost. It typically takes 6 to 15 years to recoup your investment in a wind energy system from utility savings. With rising energy costs from the utility companies, it will take less time.
Geothermal energy, or ground source heat, uses the heat from the earth to heat buildings and water - and can run in reverse for cooling. A coil loop is buried underground where heat from the ground heats a liquid in the coil, which is then used by a furnace or water heater inside the home. The system uses a pump to pump the liquid through the coils, so it does require energy to operate. But for every unit of energy used to operate the pump, 3 to 4 units of energy are produced.
Like wind and solar, the energy produced with a geothermal home energy system is clean and renewable. Space is needed to run the coils underground, and installing the coils is disruptive to your property (it is less disruptive for new construction). While government rebates and incentives are available, geothermal home energy generation systems are still quite costly, as much as $25,000. With savings of 30-70% on your utility bill, and even more savings on your water heating costs, you can recoup your investment and enjoy the savings for years to come.
With all three options, you get the benefit of producing energy without the harmful pollutants that are associated with traditional forms of energy production. Simply put, it's good for the planet. You also have energy independence, so as the price of the utility company's energy rises due to increased demand and shortage of supply, you will continue to enjoy free energy. And you will be guaranteed to have energy when you need it, where energy shortages or malfunctioning of an aging energy grid can mean blackouts for others. And finally, you may be able to make money by selling your excess energy back to the utility companies. If you can afford the high initial cost of these systems, you can enjoy the many benefits.
Home Energy Efficiency Tips:
- General Energy Saving Solutions The Energy Star Program
- Simple Energy Saving Strategies Home Insulation
- Home Assessment Overview Energy Features, Green Your Home
- Energy Efficiency Mortgages & Grants Energy Efficient Mortgage
We were unaware of what was involved in an energy audit and your audior took the time to explain everything. We were impressed with the report which told us the areas in which we need to take action on. He never pressured us to use any particular contractors, he just suggested that we go to the Building Energy Pros web site to select contractors of our own choice. He did an excellent job and we HIGHLY recommend the Building Energy Pros. We already have recommended them to several of our neighbors. Again, EXCELLENT JOB!
The Building Energy Pros auditor was very knowledgeable. I was VERY HAPPY with him. He promptly E-mailed my energy audit report to me and I will consider all of his recommendations.
We found out that our house really has no energy problems. We are happy to know that we
I was very satisfied with your energy auditor. He was very qualified and spent a great deal of time with me. The energy audit was very informative.
The energy auditor was very good and helpful. He keeps in touch with me to answer any of my questions.
I was very satisfied with my energy audit. The auditor gave me some tips on attic insulation that were very helpful.
I was very satisfied with my energy audit. Thank you!
Very good service! I am going to replace the windows as the auditor had suggested.
I was very happy with the energy audit. THANKS!
My energy audit was very helpful. Joe Dempsey, your auditor, identified some structural problems that I was not aware of and explained to me why I need more insulation.
The auditor was EXCELLENT! He spent ALOT of time with me. I am going to take 3 to 4 of his suggestions and correct these small items to save on my energy bills.
The auditor did a GREAT JOB! He knew a lot about older homes, which we have. The report was very comprehensive. Thank you!
Your energy auditor was very nice and helpful. He answered all of our questions. We will recommend Building Energy Pros to our friends and neighbors.
The auditor did a TERRIFIC JOB! The report was FANTASTIC! I will make all the repairs he suggested. I will definitely recommend him to everyone I know that could benefit from a home energy audit.
Steve Sleigh, Chevy Chase
The energy auditor was very professional and I am very satisfied with both the energy audit and the report I received. I will be referring the Building Energy Pros.
I was very satisfied with the auditor. He was great and gave me some very valuable information. I will refer him to people I know who may need a home energy audit.
Your home energy audit proved to be very informative and helpful. I was not aware of the updraft created inside our walls because of the balloon framing construction. You said that that can cause heat to be pulled out of the house with the draft going up inside the walls and should be re-mediated. You also said that the attic insulation was insufficient and that fiberglass batts can leave spaces for around the edges causing heat loss and that it should have blown in insulation on top of what was there to seal the whole attic and increase the r factor. After going over your findings and telling me how you would fix the problems you told me how I could do it myself with stuff from the Home Center and for a quarter of the cost. Well, I did. I went into the basement and filled the bottom of the wall joist with unfaced insulation where they set on the sill plate. I then cut one inch foam board the size for each space and set it in and the sealed the edges of that with expanding foam as well as the sill plate to the foundation. I also sealed the sill plate to the foundation where the joist ran along it, as well as the top of those joist where it made contact with the subflooring. Next I went to the home center and rented their blown insulation machine and got ten bales of the insulation. I filled the attic on top of the batt insulation with about six inches giving another r-19 factor on top of the r-19 that was there. You said that the blown in would also help seal the heat loss around the edges of the batt. The work in the basement cost $144.00 and the work in the attic cost $328.00. After the 30% federal energy tax credit it will end up costing me about $330.00, which you said I should recover in savings in the first year. Thank You for all your advice and expertise. You made me aware of things I should consider and did.