Plan Your Home Renewable Technology Project Carefully
Many homeowners immediately like the idea of producing electricity or hot water from the sun. Or, the possibility of producing electricity from the wind or heating and cooling their house from energy in the ground, lake or pond. As a homeowner, the idea of producing energy from an abundant, free energy source remains hard to ignore.
However, although renewable energy offers a great source, they remain expensive. For example, some companies that install these systems for a small cost (or no cost) require a long-term lease. Conversely, without a long-term lease agreement, companies install renewable systems for an expensive fee.
Additionally, installation of smaller renewable systems becomes more affordable. However, smaller renewable systems require an efficient home. For example, a house that consumes 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per month potentially reduces consumption to 500 kilowatt-hours per month through efficient upgrades. These upgrades include:
- Installing LED lighting
- Leveraging energy efficient appliances.
- Installing high-efficiency cooling.
- Ensuring high levels of insulation.
- Adding comprehensive air sealing.
Upon creating an efficient home, a smaller photo-voltaic (PV) system provides much of the electric load. Or, another example would be a geothermal heating/cooling system installed in a very efficient home require a much smaller loop. As a result, the system becomes less expensive because of the reduction in the heating and cooling loads.
Tips to Add Renewable Technologies to Your Home
When adding renewable technologies to your home, GreenHomes recommends the following steps:
- Air seal and insulate your home prior to installing renewable technologies.
- Make sure efficient appliances and LED lighting are installed.
- Install high-efficiency heating/cooling and domestic hot water systems.
- Minimize electric loads as much as possible.
- Distribution ductwork is usually very leaky and uninsulated. GreenHomes recommends the ductwork be sealed where accessible and insulated in all unconditioned spaces or where condensation can occur on ductwork.
It is wise to talk to an experience contractor in your area who can help you step through the design and installation of a quality renewable system.