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Back in my uni days, I was studying for my Masters in Environmental Architecture & Energy, because of this I often get asked my opinion on the best renewable energy systems to use.
Renewable energy has come a long way over the years. Previously reserved for the wealthy or the ‘off griders’. Now getting your energy from renewable resources is becoming far more common. This is emphasised even more by the various green home incentive schemes available today. These include green grants provided by local councils.
Not sure why you’d want to switch to renewable energy? Below are some of the benefits of switching. There are many more!
Take back control of your energy – Independence from the grid
Reducing your energy bills
Reducing your carbon footprint
In some cases, make money back from your electric
Before you Begin with Renewable Energy
To get the most out of your new energy system it makes sense to ensure your home is as eco as possible. There are several ways that you can make your home more energy efficient including…
Cavity wall insulation
Blocking out drafts
Switch to low energy bulbs
Lower your thermostat
Don’t leave items on standby
It’s a good idea to perform an energy audit on your home before you decided which system to use. That isn’t as hard as it sounds. Locate drafts, check your insulation levels, inspect your current heating system.
Related Post: How Can New Builds become Greener than Ever?
Once you have your information you can create a whole house plan. Answer questions like how much money do I currently spend? Where are we currently losing energy? Which renewable energy systems could we use? If we invest in renewables how long will it take to get our money back?
If you want to determine whether your home is losing energy, then a professional energy audit is the way forward. There are various companies online that provide this service
With so many renewable energy options available today it can seem overwhelming. Today I have highlighted the 5 most popular renewable energy systems…
5 Ways to Power Your Home with Renewable Energy
Solar panels are the most common renewable energy systems. This is due to them being one of the most effective forms of generating renewable energy.
One of the previous problems with solar was that you could only get power from the panels when the sun was out. But, now due to new technology you have the ability to store surplus solar power for the evening. This is done by storing the power in a battery.
Solar schemes like SunPlug offer this service. The SunPlug enables you to keep the energy you generate rather than selling it back to the grid. Meaning you can power your home using solar in the evening as well as the day.
For more information on using solar check out this handy article by EnergyWise ‘Top Reasons to use Solar Energy’. It’s full of handy tips for anyone considering solar.
As the name suggests wind turbines harness the energy in wind to create electricity. There are two options for home wind turbines; roof mounted or freestanding. The turbine can be connected to the grid or to a remote battery.
There are companies that will install turbines for you. Or, if you are handy with your tools you can buy a kit. Wind energy is particularly good for anyone living in the UK, as it’s the windiest European country.
‘81% of people in the western isles are favourable towards wind as a method of energy production’ EDF Energy
If you have a water supply on your property then you may want to consider Hydro. It works by capturing the energy from the water, also known as hydroelectric power.
A small stream with a good water flow would be ideal. This is known as a ‘run-of-river’ installation. It’s a microsystem that is perfect for private dwellings. The flow of the water is used to turn the turbines.
Hydro is considered a fairly reliable energy source.
Solar Water Heating
Solar water heating works by using heat from the sun to warm water. You can use solar heating alongside a conventional boiler. The system will work all year but you may need to top up the heat with your boiler in the winter months.
You can buy a ready-made system or attempt to create your own. I once saw one made from an old cast iron radiator that had been painted black. It was very effective and used up materials that would have otherwise been discarded.
Ground Source Heat Pumps
Ground source heat pumps work by extracting heat from the ground. First, you need an area of land to install the heat pump, then Pipes are buried in the land. Some of the systems are installed horizontally on your land. Other companies drill down and install vertically.
One of the advantages of ground source heat pumps is that the temperature underground stays constant. This means they can be used all year round. But, you would have to dig up your garden to have them installed.
Related Post: 5 Simple Ways You Can Be Eco-Friendly Every Day
Research is the Key
There is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to renewable energy systems. To get the best out of your system you need to have a good understanding of what would work best for you in your location
Researching whether there are any green home incentives in your area is also a good idea. They can help towards the cost of your installation and may sway your final decision.
It’s also worth considering the payback time for the systems. If you only plan to live in your property for 5 years then it’s unlikely that you will recover your costs in that time.
So what about you, would you consider powering your home with renewable energy?
This is a collaborative post with EDF Energy. All thoughts & opinions, as always, are my own