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Reduce Your Carbon Footprint with Green Power for Your Home

Updated on December 26, 2017
image credit:   alila |
image credit: alila |

Green power vs. carbon power

Do you know the difference between “green power”and “carbon power”? Why should you care? You receive your electric bill, you pay the amount due, and that’s it. You’re done until you get your next bill.

Except for two things:

  1. You may be indirectly responsible for some of the greenhouse gas emissions by your power plant.
  2. Your electric bill keeps getting higher.

What is carbon power?

Your electric utility produces the electricity it delivers to your home – or it purchases the power from other producers, and then delivers it to your home. Consider your electricity as a mix of power generated by several power plants – some coal-fired, some nuclear, some gas-fired, some may even be wind-generated.

Power plants that burn fossil fuel (coal, oil or gas) emit carbon dioxide – the major contributor to greenhouse gases. They deliver “carbon power” to your home. Your electricity has a “carbon footprint” depending on the mix of fuels used in generating your power, and how many kilowatt hours of electricity you use at home.

What is green power?

Green power does not depend on burning of fossil fuels, so there are no carbon emissions. For example wind power or solar power can be delivered to your home. Your utility may already be delivering green power. If so, that’s great!

If your electricity is carbon power, you may have other options. Many states and utilities offer supply choice – you can select an electric supplier other than your utility. Your utility still delivers that electricity to your home, but you contract with the alternative supplier for the electricity.

To find out if supply choice is available to customers in your area, contact your state public utility commission or your utility. They can supply you with a list of approved alternative electric power suppliers.

To find out if green power is available to check the Green Power Network website maintained by the U.S. Department of Energy. The Green Power Network offers a list of states in which competitive markets offer green power to customers. If your state is included, it will provide the name of the green power marketer, the price per kilowatt hour, and the source of the power, for example, wind power.

Go green power with your own home solar or wind generator

To find out whether solar power is right for you and your home, contact a solar installer. You may be surprised to find that a solar power system for your house can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Even after government financial incentives, you may find it out of your reach.

There is another alternative – do it yourself. If you are a motivated do-it-yourselfer, if you can carefully read and follow directions -- it is not hard to make your own solar panel. The parts and supplies are not expensive. Here are five good solar panel guidance sources for doing it yourself.

You can not power your whole house with a single solar panel, but . . .

  • You'll learn about solar science
  • You'll learn the craft of solar power generation
  • You'll discover how best to use solar energy in your home
  • You'll be able to power small appliances and tools
  • You'll have a small back-up source of electric power
  • You'll save money on your electric bills
  • You'll be stepping into the 21st century
  • You’ll help save the planet

And you'll say good-bye to carbon power and hello to green power.

Does your utility offer Green Power?

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