Alternative Home Energy
Zero energy homes, extremely energy-efficient homes, and off-the-grid lifestyles have faced difficulty with the mainstream audience because, until recently, so many grid-free homes have been prohibitively expensive or aesthetically-challenged and ugly. However, Lori Ryker's book, Off The Grid: Modern Homes + Alternative Energy, foils both arguments, profiling "ten beautiful homes in regions as diverse as New York City, urban Germany, suburban Southern California, rural Canada, and the remote 'bush' of Australia,…(and) shows you how to take responsibility for your future choices and conveniences by living in a beautifully designed home that uses much less energy. Off-the-grid living is a concept that can be easily understood and adopted by everyone, regardless of where you live or how much money you make."
Since Californian Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's plan to make California a world leader in solar energy, California already is the third-largest consumer of solar power equipment, behind Germany and Japan. The goal of his plan, to create a large, stable solar market that will lower the cost not only of components but also of installation, seems to be helping make solar energy more affordable for home owners here at home.
However, for many of us, building a zero energy or energy efficient home may be financially out of the question. But, homeowners can improve their situation in two ways: by using less energy and by wasting less of what is used and by making their existing homes more energy-efficient. Here are some specific ideas that can be put in place right away.
Using less energy:
Check the ducts for leaks and repair ducts with mastic or special metallic-backed tape. Leakage of conditioned air from broken or disconnected ducts accounts for 20 to 40 percent of energy loss. Turn up your air-conditioner to 78 degrees in the summer while you are home and at 85 degrees while you are away, in the winter set at 68 degrees, you can significantly trim your energy bill and contribute to a lighter load on the power grid. Fans can help make the higher summer temperatures comfortable at a lower energy consumption. Turn off lights, appliances, televisions, computers, stereos, radios, etc. when not in current use. If you are going to be gone for even twenty minutes, or the stereo is on upstairs and you're going to be downstairs for twenty minutes - flip the switch! Products and projects to make your home more energy efficient:
Purchase compact fluorescent lamps and energy-efficient appliances help reduce electrical consumption. Limit the impact of the sun with shade such as building a vine covered trellis that will cast shade on your windows or sunniest side of the house. You can also use awnings, shadecloth, or trees to block the sun on the exterior. Replace your windows with double paned or other energy efficient windows that block some of the heat from the window in the summer and block cold air in the winter. Upgrade your ceiling insulation to keep heat captured in the attic during the summer from entering living spaces and to keep heat in the house during the winter from escaping through the attic. Look for do-it-yourself solar thermal projects that can make your house more energy efficient. Just check the internet for energy efficient projects, and you'll find some. The books stores are usually well-stocked with do-it-yourself project books.
Related Tags: hydrogen fuel cells, zero energy homes, energy-efficient homes, biomass gases, solar collectors
Vickie Adair is the senior technical writer at Media A-Team (http://www.mediaateam.com) and also publishes as a freelance writer. She writes for several websites such as http://www.houstonmanufacturers.com, an online directory and news site for the Houston manufacturing community and http://www.natural-products-directory.com, a directory of online business that sell or manufacture organic and/or natural products.Your Article Search Directory : Find in Articles
Recent articles in this category:
- Consumers- Discovering Alternative Fuels In The Midst of High Gasoline Prices
In light of the much debated topic on rising gasoline and energy costs, some experts say new investm
- Carbon Tax Versus Cap-and-Trade Approaches to Global Warming - Part 2
As you may recall from Part 1 of this article, in the cap-and-trade system many companies might get
- Carbon Tax Versus Cap-and-Trade Approaches to Global Warming - Part 1
After making a strong case for Europe to adopt the cap-and-trade strategy back in 1997, the United S
- Why Managing Our Crude Oil Supply Matters
Our modern world requires a lot of petroleum products to function. From cars to planes to massive tr
- Steam and Water Properties Formulation History
Steam and water properties play pivotal roles in the design and performance of steam boilers, steam
- Solar Energy is Green Energy
Solar energy is the earliest source of energy known to mankind, and is also the origin of other form
- Harnessing Power from Water Energy
Water is one of the most common chemical compounds on earth, and the oceans provide 75% of the surfa
- What's Actually In Biodiesel?
Rising prices of energy fuels have prompted companies and individuals to search for low-cost sources
- EIA Summer Outlook - Good for Natural Gas Stocks?
The surprise Northeaster blowing across the eastern United States may have confirmed the final botto
- Chinese Coal Companies to De-Gas Mines
We discussed with Pacific Asia China Energy (PCEEF) executive vice president Steve Khan the latest d
Most viewed articles in this category:
- Alternative Fuel: Fast Food Takes on a Whole New Meaning
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) dropped a bomb in early 2007 that may have a prof
- Ocean Waves, Hydro Power Innate to Human Thought; Why?
Some things seem to come naturally to humans, things such as the power of water. Perhaps this is som
- The Power Within (Fission & Fusion)
My father drove up to our house back in 1968 in a brand new Volkswagen "Bug". I was only 11 years ol
- Nuclear Power for Australia?
Australia has one of the worlds largest supplies of Uranium. It is therefore ironic that Australia
- Archimedes Screw, Ocean Waves and Fieldstone Energy
Humankind appears to be up against either a political rock or a Climate Crisis hard place or both. Y
- A Glimpse into the World of Sealed Lead Batteries
Through the years there has been an increase in the use of portable electronic and an electric devic
- The Solar Energy Breakthrough Everyone Missed
When it comes to breaking our oil addiction, solar energy is often sited as a perfect renewable ener
- Fast Facts on Biodiesel
In a world where people rely heavily on diesel-powered engines to perform many functions for both ag
- Mideast Oil, Soon We Won't Need It, Then Who Will They Kick Around?
GM and all the auto makers are pushing hybrids to the front burner. Save fuel. They don't need to sa
- The Advantages of Wind Energy
Wind power is one the oldest and most basic types of energy. It's been used since the first windmill