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How To Reduce Your Home’s Ecological Footprint Using Renewable Energy


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Global climate change has become an undeniable fact. Weather patterns, heatwaves, and rising sea levels attest to this reality. But did you know, in a 2019 study, over 30% of U.S. household greenhouse gas emissions were attributed to sources related to housing? That is approximately 7.5 tons of CO2 per family a year. 75% of that number is exclusively from household utilities (electric, gas, water, and the like). That is a huge ecological footprint. Fortunately, there are ways to chip away at this number, and using renewable energy is one of them.

Types of Renewable Energy for Homes

There are a few different choices when it comes to residential renewable energy solutions that a practical for the average homeowner.

Solar

Solar energy



Home solar panel technology has come a long way since its first structural applications in the early 1970s. It has become a practical, cost-effective way to reduce a home’s environmental impact. The panel collects the sun’s energy through photovoltaic (PV) cells, creating an electric charge that is then either sent to the grid or a battery for storage. Whether it is tied into the established power systems or completely off-grid, the average residential solar system saves approximately 3,500 pounds of GHG per year. Additional benefits include increased property values and lower electric bills each month. It is the most practical solution for urban and suburban areas wanting to incorporate renewable energy into their home.



Wind

wind energy

If a windy day is just a way of life in your area, a wind-generated electric system might be your path to renewable energy and a decreased carbon footprint. Giant fans, or turbines, harness the power of the wind as it blows; it then converts that kinetic energy into pure electricity. These systems can be stand-alone or attached to the grid and are ideal for rural areas where erecting a wind turbine won’t be an issue. Wind systems produce even lower amounts of GHGs than solar at 11g/KWh but aren’t nearly as practical in urban or suburban areas.

Hydro

hydro energy

When you hear hydroelectric power, the first thing that comes to your mind might be structured like the Hoover Dam in Nevada. Energy is generated when the natural flow of a body of water, like a river, is controlled through systems, like dams or water wheels. Just like wind power, the kinetic energy of the moving water is converted into clean electricity via a generator.

 



You are probably not going to be building a dam, but there are still ways of harnessing the power of water on a much smaller scale. You would, of course, need to have a source of flowing water on your property, and the speed at which that water moved would determine the method you use to channel that power. It might not be as practical as the other two but is a viable option if you have the resources at your disposal. Hydropower produces only 24g/KWh in GHGs. which is approximately 20 times less than electricity generated by gas.

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The more we can do to partake in eco-friendly practice, the better the world will be. Global climate change can be a daunting issue but by taking every little step we can get humanity closer to where it needs to be.