While many modern homeowners are keen on the idea of energy conservation, insomuch as it helps them to reduce their carbon footprint and lower their electric bills, few are ready to take the leap to a net-zero energy consumption model. This could be mainly due to the initial price involved in switching over to an alternative form of energy. But when you consider how much you stand to save, not to mention the green tax incentives that you may still be able to take advantage of, you’ll see that over time such purchases could pay for themselves and then some. The only question then is which form of alternative, sustainable energy is right for your home and your region. Here are just a few of the most popular sources of alternative energy and why the average homeowner might be inclined to choose one over the others.
- Solar. The energy provided by the sun and harnessed by solar panels has become one of the most popular alternatives to standard energy consumption. And it’s not hard to understand why. For one thing, the sun provides a seemingly inexhaustible form of energy, at least when it’s in the sky. And for those who live in predominantly sunny climes, it is often overhead. So if you happen to live in a sunny, southern state, solar power is likely your best bet. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that there are still some tax credits you can take advantage of when you install solar panels. And many companies are now offering options for financing to help homeowners more easily contend with the high initial cost of installation. You will replace the cost of your monthly energy bill with the price of your “loan” payment for solar panels, but once they’re paid off you’ll enjoy free energy courtesy of the sun.
- Wind. Residential wind turbines are not inexpensive, but they are still eligible for the Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit, thanks to an extension that runs through 2016. And if you live in an area that suffers from strong winds year-round, you’re in luck, because the very wind that buffets your home can become a source of sustainable energy.
- Water. Water power can be a bit tricky to harness, but if you live near running water there are a variety of devices that may be used to this end. You’ll simply have to do some research to determine which products are best suited for the body of water available to you.
- Geothermal. The use of geothermal energy for commercial properties has increased over the last several years as businesses look to go green and save money on heating and cooling large buildings. And you, too, can take advantage of the benefits offered by the implementation of either a geo-exchange or geothermal heating options. The method you choose to bring your home to the base temperature of the ground (as opposed to the air temperature) will depend on how close the ground water is to the surface, since you will have to tap into it in order to use geothermal. A geo-exchange, on the other hand, uses air instead of water.
- Conservation. Technically this isn’t an alternative energy source, but it is an alternative to the rampant energy consumption that characterizes most modern households. If you simply don’t have the cash on hand to employ alternative energy in your home, you’ll be happy to hear that there are myriad ways to conserve in order to cut your carbon footprint and save a little dough. You could also buy renewable energy certificates (RECs) as a way to offset your carbon footprint and support the production of sustainable energy.