Alternative Wind Energy for the Home
Another form of alternative energy available to home owners today is wind energy! Yes it is possible for you to have your very own windmill and generate your own renewable energy at home.
There are significant advantages and disadvantages of using wind energy, it is not the best solution for all green home owners but for many it is an option.
What is wind energy?
Wind turbines work by collecting kinetic energy from the wind and converting that kinetic energy into electricity. The electricity current is captured by cables and then sent through transmission lines to power plants and houses!
In general, the advantages of wind energy systems for the home is that they work in conjunction with your utility company, it does not replace conventional electricity it supplements it. Sometimes the wind does not blow hard enough to produce enough electricity for your home. When this occurs your power will be supplied by your current utility company.
In most cases wind energy is not collected by batteries as is with solar power energy. Therefore if you produce more energy than your home requires the energy is automatically sold to your electricity utility company. There are individual cases where certain homes can in fact be completely energy independent with wind and in these cases their green energy is stored in batteries until energy is required for use!
Here are some wind energy facts. A typical home wind energy system runs efficiently when the wind is blowing at least 10 mph. According to the American Wind Energy Association, "Homes use approximately 9,400 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per year (about 780 kWh per month). Depending upon the average wind speed in the area, a wind turbine rated in the range of 5 to 15 kilowatts would be required to make a significant contribution to meet this demand ".
Wind turbines are installed on very tall towers that can reach 80 - 120 ft! The success of your wind energy system depends on the area around it. The more obstacles such as trees and structures that prevent wind from reaching these turbine will have a direct effect on the amount of energy produced. These towers help to maximize your clean energy production.
If you live in an area where you can expect the wind to continually reach this speed, then wind energy might be a great alternative energy source for you!
The advantages of Wind Energy
There are quite a few advantages associated with the inclusion of a wind energy system in the home.
The Cost Effectiveness of Wind Power
The initial cost to install these wind turbines depends on the size of the machine but generally ranges from 6,000$ to 22,000$. This initial cost in wind energy can be recouped relatively quickly depending on the amount of energy your household uses, and the average wind speed at your site. If you do live on a windy site you can expect to see your utility bill drop to as low as 5$ to 15$ a month!
The Environmental and Health Benefits of Wind Power
Wind energy plays an important role in environmental protection and clean air. It is a renewable and incredibly reliable alternative energy resource. No pollutants are associated with the installation of wind energy turbines nor the production of wind energy. They rather help to off set the pollution created by your local utility company!
According to the American Wind Energy Association, "Over its life, a small residential wind turbine can offset approximately 1.2 tons of air pollutants and 200 tons of greenhouse gases ".
What energy is not used by your personal wind turbine will be sold to your utility company which helps to reduce the energy consumption of your local community!
The Durability and Life span of Wind Energy Power
Wind powered turbines are generally very durable and safe however there are some precautions to consider. According to the Canadian Wind Energy Association, "in northern climates is ice accumulation on the blades. Hydrogen venting from batteries is another potential issue. Climbing of towers by the owner or maintenance persons is a potential liability. Special safety precautions are required if children have access to the system."
It is also recommended by the Canadian Wind Energy Association to maintain your wind turbine more frequently when living in areas that are exposed to extreme weather conditions to prevent any significant damage to your system.
Wind energy turbines have a long life span lasting up to 20 years. Implementing a self-sufficient energy system such as wind energy is a great way to improve your property value and reduce your electricity footprint.
Concerns Related To Wind Generated Energy
Although wind energy provides a terrific solution to help reduce our environmental impact on natural resources for energy, there are a few disadvantages for the home owner.
- Size - One downside to wind energy is the size of the towers. They are enormous and thus need to be installed on a property that is typically larger than 1 acre.
- Aesthetics - Due to their size, they can be an eye sore! Make sure your location is far enough away from neighbors and your own lovely vistas!
- Noise - Wind turbines unfortunately do make noise, however many state that the noise created by these turbines is softer than many washing machines!
- Wildlife - It is recommended to consider where you install your wind energy system so that it does its best not to interfere with nature. Unfortunately some wildlife will be affected by its existence so be sure to make note of migration routes to avoid such trouble.
- Zoning - Before you do anything, be sure you can! It is absolutely necessary that you contact your local municipality to ensure your permission to install such a system. There is no point in investing in wind energy to be forbidden to use it!
The ability to implement any type of alternative energy into your home is always beneficial for the environment and for your own personal pocket book and conscious. Unfortunately wind energy isn't that aesthetically pleasing! If you live in a windy region and live on a large property wind energy is an excellent choice for you. Just get approval first from the government and your neighbors!!!!