High fuel costs -Global warming -Environmental concerns- fuel poverty. These are all issues we come across on a daily basis and more and more we find ourselves looking at radical changes to our attitudes to the use of fuel.
We acquire more and more gadgets and appliances that are powered by some form electrical supply whether it is mains or batteries. Automation is coming into our homes in many ways and certainly makes life easier and more convenient whether it is through having remote control operation to your TV and music systems or even for operating your garage door. The fuel bills for all these modern conveniences rise on a regular basis but rarely seem to come down.
Surplus energy produced on your land can be sold to the power companies on long term contracts at attractive prices. So besides generating power for your own needs you are generating income at the same time. The most suitable source in each individual case is dictated by location, elevation of site, ground conditions, height above sea level and planning controls.
Solar Photovoltaic Cells
Convert sunlight into electricity are best angled facing south whether this on a roof or other elevated site. Although the sun’s rays are obviously stronger in southern climes actual daylight still can provide some benefits even in areas where there are cloudier days
Many solar panel companies and power supplier have schemes where they pay you rent for the use of your roof. They then install and maintain the panels and share any profits from surplus production which is fed into the Feed in Tariff scheme within EU legislation. Power suppliers are required by law to buy the power you generate which is surplus to your requirements although each country does have a different tariff.
Solar panels can also provide direct power for operating items such as outdoor lighting, gate opening systems, water features and garage door opening mechanisms. Water features and outdoor lighting can be passively operated or timed to create security and safety at the same time as being attractive and easy to install.
Another common use is for the powered operation of garage doors where there is no mains supply. Up and over garage doors, sectional garage doors and garage roller doors all lend themselves to this form of powered opening systems. Imagine the convenience and comfort of being able to provide your garage door with its own solar supply. No more concerns about having to have a mains supply to the garage so you can have the benefits without the cost. Even the lighting for key pad controls can be powered this way.
Large on and off shore wind farms are appearing month by month and the same technology is used but scaled down to suit the home .There are also systems using small turbines combined with solar panels which have less of an impact on the environment but produce remarkable results. They can be installed singly or in groups. Sites close to the coast, in open countryside or in hilly areas are favoured locations for uninterrupted wind supply.
Domestic Heating Systems
Open fires have been around since pre historic times as a source of heat and cooking. Most homes built before the mid 20th century only had open fireplaces for warmth and the predominant fuel was coal, coke, wood or peat. Of these wood from a sustainable supply can be used in the form of logs, chips or wood pellets. Some power stations currently use peat and wood pellets which are a by product from the timber industry using the waste bark and chippings. Gadgets even exist to turn newspapers into briquettes which give hours of heat and rolling used newspapers tightly into knots to use instead of kindling or firelighters is very simple and effective.
Solar Water Heating
Think about how warm a hosepipe just laid on the garden can get in the summer. Then expand this to create a simple system of plastic tubing laid out on sunny surfaces can provide hot water for free in many locations. A network of narrow black tubing laid with black plastic sheeting or panels can be connected into the domestic hot water supply to raise the temperature. In hot weather this may result in the water even being hot enough to shower without the use of any further fuel but even for other times water those few degrees warmer will all save on the bills.
There is no question about it we have to look to renewable sources for the future and diversity is key . Multiply the changes that we can make within our own household to thousands or millions of homes and just imagine the difference it could make.