Who doesn’t want to contribute to a clean planet? Since the “Save the Planet” phase decades ago, the idea has morphed into a solid part of our global way of life. Solar panels on someone’s roof aren’t a novelty anymore; they have become everyday sightings.
Why Green Living?
So, are we really pulling off this “green living” thing? With the help of the solar panel industry, which is constantly innovating and improving, pulling energy from the sun to power our homes is not only possible but is becoming more commonplace and affordable.
The average household in the United States uses around 901 kilowatt hours of electricity per month, according to the US Energy Information Administration
. We also use an average of about 400 gallons of water a day, some of it heated. If your home functions from a green point of view, installing at least some of the current technologies can make life so much easier.
Green Technology for the Home
Technology is a beautiful thing. Whether you’re into green living 1000 percent or you just want to dabble a bit here and there, there’s an array of technological devices available
to help you make your home more eco-friendly.
- Solar Panel Array. Today’s solar panels aren’t the monstrosities that haunted our rooftops in the 1970s. Modern solar panels are efficient and compact and can fit seamlessly into your home’s aesthetic.
- Solar Hot Water Heater. A conventional water heater uses natural gas or electricity to heat the water for your morning shower. If you’re pulling power off the grid, that’s money down the drain. A solar hot water heater can use energy collected from your solar panels to heat the water you need.
- Rain Barrels. Whether you’re growing flowers for decoration or food for the family table, you’re not growing much without watering. For outdoor water use, a rain barrel or two makes for a fantastic irrigation system that doesn’t cost you to refill.
- Backyard Wind Turbine. If you live in an area where wind turbines are feasible, having one in your backyard can supplement your solar panels as your home’s energy source.
- Programmable Thermostat. Not only are programmable thermostats economically a good idea, they can make controlling your home’s internal temperature a stress-free affair. You can set it to control your home’s HVAC to the settings your family prefers. This can stretch your solar energy even further.
Technology is a beautiful thing, and a useful tool around the house. The sun’s going to shine on your home anyway; make the most of it with an array of solar panels
to power your home.
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One of the biggest ways to help reduce consumption of fossil fuels and the emission of carbon is for businesses to find a way to scale back their use of electricity. Companies are among the largest consumers of electricity, and electricity accounts for a huge portion of the total oil and natural gas used in the United States, second only to automobiles. Needless to say, most businesses would find it difficult to operate without any sort of electrical power, but there are alternatives to the power grid. Solar power is among the best and most practical, especially for those trying to utilize it on a commercial, rather than city-wide scale.
Converting your business to solar power is not as challenging or expensive as you might assume. In fact, the most costly aspect is simply installing and maintaining the storage system for making use of your collected solar energy. Solar panels
themselves are relatively inexpensive and they can last for years. Still, because they can lose some of their efficacy over time, they are typically warranted for about twenty years. Because each panel can only absorb so much energy, it is a good idea to install as many as possible on whatever surface areas you have available. You can even install reflectors around your panels to ensure that as much sunlight as possible is funneled into them.
The panels themselves are only one component of a solar power system that you will need to have installed. The inverters are equally important and often more expensive and troublesome. Inverters are the means by which solar energy is converted into useable electricity, so without them, solar power is of no use. Inverters do not last as long as solar panels and are not typically warranted for more than ten years. Maintaining your inverters is crucial to your business’s ability to make good use of the solar energy you collect.
Once collected, your solar energy will need to be stored in a battery. Batteries range in price from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, depending on the variety. It is wise to invest in good batteries for your solar power system
, especially if you intend to use solar energy as your primary source of electricity. While it is clear that investing in a solar power system is a costly endeavor, you can end up saving large sums of money in the long run. Not only will you reduce your consumption of electricity from the power grid, you may even receive substantial tax write-offs, depending on the laws in your state. Solar energy is the energy source of the future, and it can be as beneficial to your business as it is to the environment.