A zero energy house is a building structure that has a total energy consumption (power intake) of zero. The term “zero energy” is fairly ambiguous, and can be used in many different scenarios. Commonly, a zero energy home will have few or no greenhouse and carbon emissions, will generate all its own energy through green or renewable sources. It is a myth that a zero energy house has no power, devices, or electricity that utilizes energy.
Zero energy houses, in most cases, have all the appliances as well as the comforts of modern homes; for example, lights, refrigerator, washing machines, heated water, and more. A zero energy house is recognized not by the absence of energy-using components, but rather by the source from which energy is derived, and a system for generating or replacing energy without creating energy emissions. Our homeowners’ association president who owns a local company and he and his wife have created a zero energy home in our neighborhood by investing heavily in solar investments over the years. You can learn more about his story and his company here.
Solar power is becoming famous these days, especially its use in homes. Most people prefer solar power to run different home appliances. Why? Because it is earth friendly and economical, and there is nothing better than harnessing sun’s energy to light up one’s home. Solar power can cut 50 to 70 percent of external power consumption, so it is basically a cost effective option. There are many ways you can use this miraculous natural energy in your home, including through solar panels and solar heat systems that generate electricity (power).
Once integrated into the home, you can use solar water heating to heat the house as well as to generate hot water. The thermal energy can be absorbed from the sun through a collector mounted on a roof. This collector usually magnifies the heat and stores the hot water. This absorbed heat can be piped through radiators to deliver warmth and it can also be used to supply hot water. Solar water heating system not only allows you to save on electricity or utility bills, but also increase the value of your home.
Generating solar power is a complex task in a renewable system. It requires an ideal location where the sun shines throughout the year; much like the photosynthesis process by plants. Apart from this, the expenses associated with the hardware required to generate solar electricity might be excessively costly for many households, but the good news is that many companies offer payment plans! This can make even a complex system quite affordable.
If you want to generate solar electricity, the first thing you need to do is to purchase a solar panel. Actually, you might need more than one solar panel, and it depends on your electricity needs. Keep in mind that practically it is impossible to use solar electricity for all the power needs; however, they are very useful in a few applications. Nevertheless, a family can take their home completely off the grid, from the electrical point of view. Our neighbors, who own Lakeland Tree Arbors, have invested more than $20,000 in solar products over the past 5 years and have essentially no power bill today. Their roof is completely covered in solar panels, but it has been well worth it for them.
Currently, two sorts of solar panels are present on the market; solar panels based on photovoltaics and those that employ thermal energy from the sun. Making solar panels based on photovoltaics is a difficult task. Since making silicon based semiconductor material requires clean room technologies, which is not possible with home craftsmanship. The best bet is to consider making DIY solar panels of thermal heat design. They can be built from affordable material and can be designed for large scale, and there are a lot of free plans available on the internet.
Uses of DIY Solar Panels
Solar collectors or DIY solar panels do not generate electricity, so their uses in homes is limited. They are usually installed on roofs of buildings and houses to heat water, which is often connected straight to the home water system, removing the requirement to heat water using electricity or natural gas. They are likewise used to heat outdoor pools as independent water systems. The heated water can likewise be used in radiators to decrease heating costs.
DIY (Do It Yourself) solar kits are the best way to harness solar energy and they are cost effective too; however, there are a few tips to remember when handling such projects. The first and foremost thing to remember is to choose a kit that can give adequate electricity for the required purpose, and obtain sufficient batteries to deliver backup power when the sunlight is absent. Another tip is regarding the location; choose the location for installing DIY solar kits that receive plenty of sun, because the sun exposure is directly proportional to the amount of power generated. So, choose a sunny location to install solar kits. It is suggested to contact the local power company for detailed guidance regarding the installation.
This project is about power, so it is important to assess the power needs before purchasing any solar kits. If the residential solar energy panels are only going to support another electrical source, this step might not be a big concern. It is imperative to consider the power needs when the solar energy is the main source of power in the home. You also need to consider the weather conditions because the efficiency of solar panels is dependent on the location; the efficiency varies from location to location.
A solar water heater is a great solar investment for any home or business, regardless of where you live. Many people think that if you live in a cold environment that solar products are not of much use. However, this is simply not the case. Regardless of the climate that you live in solar water heaters will always be a great investment, as long as you have a few hours of sunshine during the day.
Solar water heaters are generally installed on the roof of a home or business and they capture the sunlight which is then used to warm the home or building’s water. It is one of the best investments you can make in your home in terms of return on your investment. A quality solar water heater properly installed can save you up to 90% on your water heating bill. This is very significant because the water heating portion of the average home’s utility bill is approximately 33%.
Energy sufficiency is an issue that will continue to be a hot topic in the years and decades to come. More people are starting to be aware of the fact that traditional sources of energy like oil are quickly being depleted not to mention the negative effects these have on the environment. This increasing awareness is causing more people to look for renewable and sustainable energy sources. This is why the number of households installing solar panel roofing on their homes is also growing fast. In the United States alone, there are already dozens of companies operating within the solar energy industry. Below are some of the reasons why you should install solar panels on your roof.
1) It’s environment-friendly. Harvesting solar power won’t produce wastes or by-products that can be damaging to the environment. If you are conscious about your carbon footprint, solar power is a great option because you only use what the sun gives you. Tapping the power of the sun won’t require a lot of infrastructures. All you need are the solar panels and the system that will convert the sun’s heat into electricity that can be stored in receptors or batteries. In essence, you have your own mini-power plant that doesn’t produce waste or cause pollution.
2) The solar panel roofing on your house makes you eligible for a 30% tax credit from the government. The U.S. government is offering this tax credit to encourage more people to install solar panels on their homes. It’s a win-win situation for you and the government. This tax credit will be computed based on the cost of the equipment, installation of the panels, and other materials that are relevant to the functioning of the system. In preparing your tax documents, you need to be thorough in listing the items you procured in setting up the solar panels.
3) You can directly save thousands of dollars a year. Just think of your monthly electricity bill which you can easily cut in half or more if you use solar panel roofing as an alternative source of electric power. Solar energy can power almost anything from lighting systems to electronic gadgets. Depending on the amount of sun you get on a daily basis, you can store energy that can power your house from hours to days. Always keep in mind that you spend almost nothing in harvesting solar energy. You only have to worry about the upkeep of the panels and the converter.
4) A solar panel roofing will greatly increase the value of your home. Aside from the investment you’ve put in the panels and the system, there’s also the fact that you made the house energy-efficient. This means that the next tenant or owner will have fewer expenses on energy consumption. For this reason, you can significantly increase the selling price of your house and still look reasonable in the eyes of buyers.
In conclusion, you have a lot to gain if you decide on installing solar panel roofing on your house. You’re helping in keeping the environment clean, you would be eligible for a 30% tax credit, you’ll save a lot of dollars, and you will be increasing the market value of your house.