Alternative Sources of Energy for Your Home

Energy efficiency in the home is becoming an increasingly important issue to many homeowners who are concerned about rising fuel costs and the potential damage that traditional energy sources cause to the environment. With government grants available to support the installation of an array of alternative energy sources which will be kinder to both the environment and your pocket, now is a great time to invest in sustainable energy for your home or workplace.

Solar Photovoltaics

Cropping up all over homes across the UK solar panels are among the most popular sources of alternative energy. Usually sited on the rooftop the panels absorb light even on a cloudy day (perfect for the UK’s unpredictable climate) and convert sunlight to electricity to power the appliances in your home. While the initial cost of installation can be high, there are no running costs associated with the panels and any surplus electricity that is produced can be sold back to the national grid while the government’s Feed-In tariff will also pay you for the electricity that is produced. Solar photovoltaics are also available as tiles which will suit homeowners who are planning to replace their roof.

Solar Thermal

Often seen in Mediterranean countries, solar thermal converts direct sunlight into energy to heat the water supply in your home. Most effective in homes which face south, the system works alongside your existing hot water supply but in effect provides you with free hot water in sunny weather.

Wind Turbines

While some would argue that the British climate is perfect for generating energy from the wind (40% of Europe’s wind crosses the UK), critics of wind turbines question how much energy can be produced although the installation costs are relatively low in comparison with other forms of sustainable energy. Homeowners interested in wind turbines will need to take advice about the appropriate siting of a turbine on their property although should bear in mind that a domestic turbine is a much smaller-scale version of the gigantic blades that are commonly seen in the countryside.

Micro Combined Heat and Power (CHP)

A relatively new form of sustainable energy, CHP relies on a generator located within a boiler so that electricity is used more efficiently than if produced at a distant power station and transported to your doorstep. Although the main output of a CHP unit is heat, the electricity produced is eligible for the Feed-In tariff and any surplus electricity that is produced can be sold back to the grid. Installation and maintenance costs are comparable with a traditional combi boiler.

With a wide range of energy efficient, sustainable products available for the home or workplace there are plentiful solutions to the problem of rising fuel costs and environmental damage.

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