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Alternative Green Home Energy Sources

Updated on March 6, 2017
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Green energy discussions are sweeping the globe thousands of cities experience record high winter temperatures. Most people would say they want to make responsible choices and take care of the environment, but it can be overwhelming trying to make the right choice! There are many factors that are in play that affect an energy sources impact on the environment. By becoming a conscious consumer you are already leaps and bounds ahead of most people.

Here is a list of alternative green home energy sources. No energy source is perfect, but there are ways to significantly decrease your carbon footprint and heat your home in a more environmentally friendly way.

1. Pellet Stoves

Pellet stoves are increasing in popularity all over the globe. Pellet stoves are similar to wood stoves, but they are more efficient and they don’t emit the same dangerous amount of toxins into the air. They are easy to use, efficient and they won’t dirty the air in your house.

Here’s how it works. The pellets are typically made from condensed sawdust and wood chips. These pellets are placed in a hopper connected to your pellet stove, and they are then dispersed by an auger into the burning pot of the stove. How fast the auger moves the pellets will determine the temperature of the pellet stove. The pellets are incinerated at such a high heat that they don’t create the same smoke and ash that a slow burning log does. Pellet stoves have a heat exchanger that blows the heated air into your house, making it a great way to warm a space.

But pellet stoves aren’t perfect. The pellets aren’t produced everywhere so if you’re buying pellets they have most likely travelled a long way, which increases their carbon footprint. Pellet stoves also require electricity to run which makes them a dependent energy source. If the power goes out then you’re out of luck!

But generally, pellet stoves are a wonderful way to cut the cost of your heating bill and decrease the negative impact your home makes on the environment.

2. Passive Solar Heating

Passive solar heating is the cheapest way to heat and cool your home with solar energy. Simply put, passive solar heating refers to designing a home in an efficient way so that you can harness the heating and cooling abilities of the sun. It’s a smart and green way to create an environmentally friendly home. Designing a home with passive solar heating in mind and then using other green energy sources as well would make for a very smart and green home!

Here are the important elements that are considered when designing a home to harness passive solar energy. The house is designed to collect solar energy through south facing windows. This heat energy is stored through proper building materials such as tile floor, brick walls and concrete slabs. Windows are specifically designed to capture as much solar energy as possible, and the heat is disturbed throughout the living spaces through natural convection.

If you are able to build your own home, it’s important to consider all of the design choices you make in terms of their efficiency. Many old houses are described as ‘drafty’ not because they are old, but because 100 or 50 years ago people weren’t designing houses with efficient heating and cooling in mind. There is a real opportunity when building to make a house much more efficient so it doesn’t leave such a massive carbon footprint.

3. Active Solar Power

This is what people think of when you say ‘solar power.’ By outfitting your house with solar panels on the roof you are able to maximize an otherwise wasted space and convert it into energy for your home. Solar radiation or energy is absorbed through the panels on your roof and is then transferred to either water or air. They energy collected is stored so it can be used even if the sun isn't’ shining.

One of the major drawbacks of an active solar power system is that it’s expensive. Installing the panels on your roof costs thousands and thousands of dollars. It would take over a decade for the panels to pay themselves off through cuts in your bills. There are often tax credits and other benefits of these systems, but overall they are still very expensive.

4. Gas Fireplace Inserts

Some of the best Gas fireplace inserts can maximize the capabilities of a traditional fireplace and make it much more efficient. The do this by boxing the heat in a metal casing which is then gradually dispersed to your home with a heat blower. So much heat is lost through drafty traditional masonry fireplaces. Adding an insert can transform your mainly aesthetic fireplace into a legitimate source of heat for your family.

You can choose either vent free or direct vent gas fireplace inserts. A vent-free model doesn’t require a chimney so these are ideal for homes without a fireplace already built in. Some people think vent-free models are more dangerous than other options, so make sure you do your research first. Direct vent models generally have two vents, one for heat and one for exhaust. This is the safest model and it must be placed in an existing fireplace.

A gas fireplace insert is a beautiful way to maximize a heat source that many people use already. Many families gather around fires in the winter for their cozy ambiance. But not you can gather around your fire and allow it to actually provide your family with the warmth they need on a cold and snowy night.

Final Thoughts

There are many more alternative green home energy sources available. There are green options for your windows and insulation. You could use a wood burning stove or even a corn stove! If you’re serious about taking steps to reduce the negative impact your home is having on the environment then it’s time to do some serious research! Making the smart choice for your family and your personal circumstance can make a huge difference.

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