Generating your own energy from naturally replenished sources is a huge step towards being more self sufficient and lowering your carbon footprint. It can also drastically reduce your household bills and improve your relationship with the environment.
Energy generated from the sun, wind, tiders, waves, and geothermal heat releases much less carbon than energy from fossil fuels. Over 30% of the UK’s energy is still generated from coal, and other 40% comes from gas. While wind power usage has increased significantly over the last few years, changing your home to create your own renewable energy is a positive step for your family and can even help you to generate a passive income.
A number of energy companies in the UK have started renewable energy initiatives to help homeowners on this journey. It’s best to get in touch with your current provider to find out if they have a policy in place.
What are the Options?
Adding your own turbine to your home is relatively cheap compared to other options. It’s best for homes that are in windy settings, so if you are near the coast or in a mountainous region it could be a better option than solar panels.
However, turbines can be noisy and if you don’t mind, your neighbours might. Experts also say that turbines should not be mounted on houses, particularly when weather conditions are as volatile as they currently are in the UK. When considering wind turbines as an option, be sure to read the fine print to see what their quoted performance is based on.
Solar power is most the most popular choice with clients who are undertaking a loft conversion, but the uses can be limited. Solar panels generally heat hot water only and work alongside your current system to save money. There are a number of grants available to people who are in the right areas for solar panels, and your hot water will be free as long as it’s sunny.
The more expensive, but more useful, solar panels are photovoltaics, which generate electricity that can be used throughout the house. These are more expensive, but the option would allow you to sell your excess electricity.
Micro hydro power
If you have a stream or river on your land, this could be the perfect way to generate consistent renewable energy. Unlike wind or solar power, it would provide a steady supply of electricity throughout the year.
Geothermal energy is fairly cheap to generate as you only need to pay for the pump and the initial groundwork. For every unit of energy you spend on the pump, you generate 3-4 units of heat. While it doesn’t heat to the same temperatures as solar panels, it’s great for under-floor heating which doesn’t require much heat to be effective.
The burning involved in producing energy from biofuels can be controversial, but the CO2 released is balanced out by the amount absorbed during fuel production. Wood pellets, wood chips, and wood logs are generally used in domestic biomass plants, but you will need quite a lot of space for the equipment.