Solar Power: The Benefits of Powering Your Home with Green Energy

Now more than ever it’s important to take personal steps to decrease your carbon footprint on the earth. As world leaders make plans to decrease carbon emissions worldwide, the threat of climate change can seem distant and far away. However, we are already seeing the beginning of the devastating effects it will have on the earth and humanity alike.

One of the ways that homeowners can reduce their carbon footprint is to turn to alternate forms of energy production, like wind and solar power. In this article, we’ll discuss residential solar power, its benefits to you as a homeowner, and the different options you have available.

Why go solar?

Aside from the vitally important environmental aspect we mentioned above, rooftop solar is becoming increasingly beneficial to homeowners. Not only are many homeowners seeing their electricity bills cut in half, but leasing programs make installing panels a zero-liability issue for homeowners worried about damage to the panels or to their roof.

Solar technology is constantly improving. In the very near future, consumers will be able to move entirely off the grid when it comes to producing electricity for their home.

Tesla’s Elon Musk recently announced a fully integrated solar rooftop that he claims will be as affordable if not cheaper than a regular roof. The bonus? The power that Tesla’s roofs produce will be able to be stored in an integrated battery.

Aesthetics

Homeowners are often worried about the way their homes will look with solar panels on them, which is a valid concern. Fortunately, new technology has made solar more visually appealing than ever. Soon, homeowners will have the option of choosing between different styles of solar roofs that look like regular shingles.

Alternatively, if you don’t want the solar panels at your home at all, there are currently companies that allow homeowners to utilize off-site solar panels for their home. This is ideal if your home isn’t in a position to receive much sunlight, or if you just don’t want to have to deal with the panels being on your property at all.

Thinking ahead

When considering solar, you also have the future to consider. Not just of the planet, but of your wallet. Solar is an investment. If you plan on paying off your solar panels within 10 years, you could end up with years of free electricity, which adds up.

Similarly, many solar programs offer a guarantee that your rates won’t go up or they will rise slower than standard utility companies. So, even if you can’t afford to buy your solar system outright, you can still invest in the long term.

Helping the economy

Fossil fuel defenders often claim the loss of jobs associated with the increase of the renewable energy industries. At the same time, jobs to manufacture, sell, install, and repair solar and wind power are skyrocketing.

Regardless of which option you choose, reducing your carbon footprint is doing your small part to help the environment for your children and grandchildren. And, it can save you a lot of money in the long run too.

Tips for Saving on Electricity in the Summer

If you have electric heat you probably associate winter with being the time of year you spend the most on electricity. In the summer, however, you’re using air conditioners and fans to keep your house cool. Plus, your refrigerator and freezer have to work harder to keep the temperature down.

Home energy audits are a great way to determine how you could lower your electricity usage. And who wouldn’t want to use less electricity? It saves you money on your monthly utility bill and helps the environment in the process by requiring that power plants burn less coal and natural gas.

Energy audits

There are a few ways you can get a better grasp on your electricity usage. The best way is to hire a professional who can come and assess your home to tell you exactly what can be improved. They have the knowledge and training to inspect areas of your home that might be dangerous to try to inspect yourself. Ultimately, they’ll help you save in the long run so it’s worth the cost.

If you don’t want to pay to have your home audited, you could do a DIY inspection. A great place to start is on your utility provider’s website. Most providers allow you to log in and see things like your bill and usage history. You can even often view the average usage of neighboring households to give you an idea of where you stand. This is helpful because the people in your neighborhood likely have homes comparable to yours in terms of size, energy-efficiency, and climate/weather. So, if you’re spending a lot more than your neighbors, it could be a sign of an issue.

Ways to save

There are hundreds of ways you can cut back on electricity in your home, some more feasible than others. Below you’ll find both common and little-known methods of lowering your electricity usage in the summer months. We’ve separated them into two categories: temperature control and everything else.

Temperature control

  • Smart tech. Turn off the AC or adjust the thermostat when you don’t need it. Better yet, install a programmable thermostat so you don’t have to remember to turn the temperature up before you leave for work.
  • Whole house fans. These ingenious fans suck hot air into your attic. If all your windows are open, it will draw in the cool air from outside and it’s cheaper than having several fans or air conditioners running.
  • Use fans correctly. Window fans that bring in cool air are great, but having several ceiling or floor fans running when you’re not in front of them are just using electricity and aren’t affecting the air temperature very much.
  • Time your windows. As a rule, open windows overnight to let in air then close them in the morning. Use black-out curtains during the day as well to stop the sun from heating the inside of your home.

Everything else 

  • Power strips. Plug your electronics into power strips and turn them off when they’re not in use. Many electronics continue using electricity even when they’re not powered on.
  • Dishwasher. Don’t run it until it’s full.
  • Refrigerator/freezer. Buy a size that makes sense for your home. Having a large refrigerator or extra freezers running in the basement use a lot of extra electricity.
  • Lighting. Replace all of your lights with energy-efficient CFL or LED bulbs.
  • Clothes. Wash full loads and dry them outside on a clothesline.
  • Maintenance. Makes sure ACs, refrigerators, and washers/dryers are all cleaned, especially air vents. Replace old appliances with newer, energy-efficient models.