Utilizing renewable energy is a great way to both lower your bills and reduce stress on the environment. Through some high and no-so-high-tech methods, there are more and more ways to efficiently save and even create energy.
1. Residential Solar Panels
As the efficiency of solar power technology increases and costs of installation decrease, more homeowners are adding electricity-producing panels on their roofs. Doing so often allows users to sell their surplus power back to their utility company and recoup their panel investment even faster.
With government entities sweetening the deal with tax credits and subsidized rebates, many homeowners are saying ‘yes’ to producing their own power.
2. Smart Energy
Thanks to technologies like super-efficient LED lighting and smart thermostats, owning a home is cheaper than it has ever been from an energy standpoint. According to government figures, LED lights use up to 80% less electricity and can last up to 25 times longer than traditional incandescent lights.
To really stack up the savings, pair LED lights with a “learning” thermostat that knows to automatically turn down the A/C whenever it senses that you’re not home.
3. Residential Wind Turbines
No, not the giant turbines you’ve seen on wind farms, but smaller rooftop devices that can help reduce your energy bill.
When properly installed and located in an area that is sufficiently windy, residential wind turbines can help provide your home with supplementary power. And as with solar panels, your energy company may pay you for any excess power produced.
4. Solar Water Heaters
If a solar panel system is out of your price range, you can still take advantage of the free power provided by the sun with a solar water heater. Solar water heaters are typically installed on roofs and combine solar panels with a storage tank.
These systems usually require little maintenance and are another great way to reduce your home’s electricity consumption.
5. Smaller Homes
With more of the population moving to urban areas and baby boomers looking to downsize, the U.S. Census Bureau is reporting a 4.9% decrease in the median size of family homes from three years ago.
Since smaller homes generally use less energy to heat and cool, that makes them more affordable to maintain, while reducing their impact on the environment.