Electricity produced by wind turbines is green power in that it causes no environmental pollution. No greenhouse gases which contribute to climate change are produced either. Wind power generation can be on a large scale,which is the case with most commercial projects,or on a small scale as with home owner turbines.
Wind is the cheapest form of renewable energy without a doubt. Solar energy is also clean,green,power but is more expensive and limited in output. Solar panels are presently expensive in relation to the power they can produce. Nuclear energy supplies a lot of the power requirements in some countries,notably in Europe.
There is however much public opposition to building new nuclear power plants.
Many consumers now realise that green energy must be our highest priority in future,if we are to minimise climate change and it effects. The trend to building fossil fuel powered generating stations must be reversed.
Home owners and farmers can help with the transition to clean power by installing small wind turbines to supply all or part of their electricity needs. These turbines can be purchased from a number of manufacturers and can be installed as a rooftop wind turbine or on a small free standing tower.
Commercial wind turbines are quite expensive in relation to power output. A better solution for many is to build their own low cost wind turbine. A good turbine can be built from auto parts and a few odds and ends at very low cost. Plans and instructions are available for this project.
Any excess power production can be sold to the power utility in many areas thus reducing the cost even further. Power can also be stored in batteries for use when the wind is too light. Even a light breeze will however produce power.
The average home owner can easily build a small wind turbine or several of them to supply part or all of the power required. All that is needed is simple tools and some auto parts and wood. Several can be built for the cost of one commercial wind turbine.
Not a bad business also for anyone who wants to make them for resale. The demand for a low cost turbine is there and can only grow in years ahead.
Why not build your own wind power turbine now and produce your own free green electricity. You will be doing mother earth a favor by reducing atmospheric pollution. This is an idea whose time has come.
Even solar households can benefit from improved energy efficiency. The better you utilise the solar electricity you generate, the more you’ll save on power costs.
Whether you have solar panels on your rooftop or not, these tips may help you further slash your electricity bills.
Heating and air conditioning
- If you’re using electric heating and air-conditioning and your home isn’t properly insulated; this is something you should attend to as soon as possible as heating and cooling are incredibly energy intensive applications. You’ll be amazed how much you can save by ensuring gaps around windows and doors are sealed up and your home is properly insulated. Also consider the use of blackout curtains as windows are major point of heat loss during winter and heat gain over summer.
- Ceiling fans aren’t just good for summer, but for winter too – if you install a ceiling fan with a reversible direction function. During winter, set it to spin the opposite way it does over summer, which will push heat down.
- Roof turbines (whirlygigs) can dramatically decrease the temperature of your roof space during summer, which in turn will decrease the temperature of the rooms below, particularly if your roof isn’t insulated. Even over winter they are of benefit as they reduce moisture in the roof area which can affect the performance of insulation.
- Keep the doors shut to rooms that don’t require heating or cooling
- Experiment with your air conditioning and heating thermostat. By dropping the temperature a little over winter and raising it similarly over the summer, your family may not even notice – and you’ll save a stack of electricity.
- A well maintained heating and cooling system will help ensure maximum efficiency, so ensure yours is serviced regularly.
As with heating and cooling your home, the heating of water is also a very energy intensive process.
- Consider a heater blanket if you have an electric hot water system – these are very cheap to buy.
- All exposed pipes should be covered in insulation lagging to help minimise heat loss.
- Enforce a showering time limit in the home – the use of timers can help encourage shorter showers.
- If you are considering replacing your hot water system, consider a solar hot water system orheat pump. Generous rebates are available when switching from an electric hot water system!
- Line drying is preferable to electric clothes dryers, but when you have occasion to use them, make sure the lint filter is free of build-up and there is plenty of air circulation generally around the dryer. Open a window if possible while using the dryer to allow humidity to escape as this will help your clothes to dry faster.
- If you use currently use hot water in your washing machine, consider switching to cold. Today’s detergents are very effective and a cold water wash will likely be all you need for most loads. Some washing machines also offer eco-options that use less water and shorter cycle times, so experiment with those settings also.
- When using a clothes dryer, the energy used by a faster or longer washing machine spin cycle should more than offset the energy used by the dryer for what would be otherwise damper clothing.
- When using an electric stovetop, use correctly sized cookware. A pot or pan that doesn’t entirely cover the element will result in major heat waste, which means your food will take longer to cook and more electricity will be used.
- Keeping a lid on pots and pans will help build up heat faster – and keep it in.
- When boiling water for cooking, it’s more efficient to use your kettle or microwave instead of on an electric stovetop hot plate.
- If you have a microwave and a stove, use your microwave for cooking wherever possible as it will use anywhere from a third to a half of the electricity consumed by a stove.
- By ensuring your electric oven light is working and the glass panel is always clean, you won’t need to open the oven to check on your food. Each time you open an oven a great deal of heat is lost which extends cooking time and electricity usage.
- When cooking with an electric stove or oven; you can switch it off just before your food is done as there will be enough residual heat to complete the cooking.
- When boiling the kettle for a cuppa, only add as much water as you need in the kettle.
- When it comes time to replace your cooktop, consider an induction model. These are far more efficient than electric elements – even more so than gas!
- Ensure the seal of your refrigerator is in good condition as even small imperfections and gaps can affect electricity consumption.
- Your fridge should also be located out of direct sunlight in an area with good air circulation all round – particularly newer fridges with the coils inside the cabinet.
- The coils at the back of old fridges should be dusted regularly, which will also help with performance.
- Regularly defrosting your fridge and freezer will also help to conserve electricity. Adjust the settings of your appliances to match the season. You’ll find in winter you can set your fridge and freezer to a much higher (warmer) setting.
- Just because a kitchen appliance isn’t in use it doesn’t mean it’s not consuming power; so it’s a good idea to switch appliances off at the wall rather than just on the appliance when you’re finished using them.
- Only use lighting when you need it and remember to switch off lights when you leave a room.
- If you’re still using old incandescent globes; make the switch to CFL’s or LED lighting, which require much less electricity to operate. Most of the energy used by an incandescent globe is converted into heat rather than light, so in summer they can also add to your air conditioning costs. Instead of lighting a whole room, just light areas that need it – this is called task-based lighting
- For garden lighting, switch to solar lamps – these are now very cheap to purchase and are extremely easy to set up as they require no wiring. Each light has an internal battery.
- Instead of having security lights on all night, use sensor lights that will only switch on when someone is in the immediate vicinity.
- Switching from a desktop computer to a notebook can save over 50% of your computing related electricity consumption.
- As with other appliances, turn off your computer at the wall when not in use or recharging as this will eliminate standby power consumption.
- Experiment with your computer’s power saving options.
- Set your screen brightness as low as possible without it straining your eyes. The brighter the screen is, the more power it consumes.
- If you use a screen saver, set it to just a blank screen. Animated screen savers are processor intensive, which consumes more electricity.
- While only small, households tend to accumulate many gadgets such as cell phones. These are usually appliances that can be charged at night time when electricity is cheaper.
- Once a phone, handheld or other portable device is charged, it continues to draw power while plugged in at the socket. Make sure it’s switched off at the wall when charging is complete to minimise standby electricity consumption; also known as phantom power load.
Shop around electricity retailers
While there is mandated minimum that must be paid in states offering feed in tariffs, some retailers offer higher payments or different conditions that may be better suited to you, so be sure to shop around for the best deal for your situation.
Shopping around for a retailer also applies to non-solar households – total costs over a year can vary wildly between retailers!
Shift your electricity usage patterns
If your solar feed in tariff is significantly lower than the market rate for electricity, it makes more sense to consume more power during sunny days.
If you’re on one of the earlier, more generous feed in tariffs; then shifting energy usage to off-peak periods makes more sense; in order to maximize solar exports to the mains grid and your financial returns.
General appliance considerations
An important point – as you replace your appliances, pay special attention to energy ratings and consumption. Also consider each purchase carefully – do you really need the item? We often fill our lives with power sucking gadgets and gizmos we don’t really need.
When replacing power hungry appliances with more energy efficient equipment; if the old appliance is still working perfectly, don’t send it to landfill. Sell it, trade it in or give it to a charity that may be able to use it or who will sell it to someone else who may not be able to afford a new energy efficient appliance. You could even consider repurposing it – for example, old fridges make excellent storage units for a shed! Also check with your local council for recycling options.
Aside from making more money from net feed in tariffs by being more efficient in your electricity use, by minimising your mains grid consumption, you’ll also be helping to further reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions!