Four ways to power your home with renewable energy

  • 21 May 2018

A piece by independent writer Annie Button

Are you interested in powering your home with renewable energy? There are actually multiple ways that you can benefit from green power and eco-friendly systems, and many of them pay for themselves within a few years of installation.

This means it can be both beneficial to the environment and a great investment for you and your property. In many cases a well-installed source of renewable energy will even add value to your home. Here are four great ways that you can power your home using renewable energy sources.

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Solar panels

Undoubtedly one of the most well-known and popular ways for homeowners to embrace renewable energy comes from the sun. Solar panels are now more affordable than they ever have been, and they can be found on the rooftops of houses across the UK. As a relatively tried-and-tested form of home renewable energy, this can make a great introduction to green power for your property.

Solar

Advantages of solar panels:
• Solar panels typically need little in the way of maintenance and may last more than 30 years without needing repairs or replacement
• It may be possible to get help to pay for the panels through government schemes and incentives
• You can look forward to return on investment – over time the panels will pay for themselves

Disadvantages of solar panels:
• The initial cost of having panels installed is high and in can take a long time to get a meaningful return on investment
• Clearly panels are only effective in areas with plenty of sunlight, this means they aren’t suitable for all properties depending on the type of home you have and its location
• They have a distinctive look that may not suit a number of different styles of property

Ground source heat pump

Ground source heat pumps (GSHPs) is typically thought of as being a form of renewable energy that can only be used by large commercial buildings or property developments, but they are actually increasingly being used by private homeowners as a form of renewable energy. They extract heat from the ground using a system of pipes. See this helpful guide to how GSHPs work.

Advantages of GSHPs:
• Unlike many sources of renewable energy, GSHPs are invisible as they are buried beneath the ground
• The system requires very little maintenance once it has been installed
• GSHPs utilise renewable energy efficiently

Disadvantages GSHPs:
• You need to have a suitable space in your garden for a loop of pipe to be buried – this means the ground also needs to be suitable for digging a trench
• GSHPs produce heat at a lower temperature, so it is important to have a well-insulated home to get the most out of this form of renewable energy
• GSHPs provide much less warmth during colder months.

Wind turbines

Wind power is most often associated with large scale wind farms, but you might not realise it is fairly common now to have residential wind turbines connected to roofs. In a country like the UK, strong winds are often just as likely as sunshine, so utilising wind power can provide you with a lot of renewable energy.

Wind

Advantages of wind turbines:
• No running costs
• Wind turbines pay for themselves relatively quickly
• A true renewable source – wind turbines have no carbon footprint

Disadvantages of wind turbines:
• Certain models and designs can make a lot of noise
• Some homeowners don’t like the visual appearance
• Ideally need to be installed in an exposed positon, such as an on top of a roof where they are most visible

Solar water heaters

Solar power can be used for more than just electricity generation – there are multiple ways the sun can be used as a renewable source of power. A great option is a solar water heater in which the sun’s rays heat a water tank to provide you with hot water.

Advantages of solar water heaters:
• Ideal if you have an area of your property that gets a lot of sun
• Less visually obvious than solar panels
• The system requires relatively little maintenance

Disadvantages of solar water heaters:
• An expensive investments – can take a long time to repay
• A large system that is only used for one purpose – heating water
• Not suitable for all types of property

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