What is Home Renewable Energy?

Geri Terzo

Home renewable energy is an environmentally friendly resource that taps into inexhaustible sources for power. Renewable energies may derive from wind, solar, or water. The alternative to renewable energy is generating power from fossil fuels, such as oil, natural gas, and coal, all of which are limited resources and emit pollutants into the air. Home renewable energy can generate enough power to light an entire residence or produce doses of electricity to power appliances, from a refrigerator to a toaster.

Solar panels capture sunlight and convert it into energy.
Solar panels capture sunlight and convert it into energy.

Depending on the region, the availability of renewable energy will vary. Wind power generation is dominant in European countries, while other nations lag in part due to political constraints. Without the support of local communities, the proliferation of wind power as a home renewable energy is often stifled. Before wind farms generate power to individual homes, they must first be adopted by entire cities or communities to create a cost effective proposition.

Wind turbines can be used to produce renewable energy.
Wind turbines can be used to produce renewable energy.

Of the different forms of renewable energy, solar is among the most common. Solar power is derived by converting sunlight into electricity in a process called the photovoltaic effect. It is a clean energy process that has no dependence on fossil fuels. Panels can be installed on the roof of a home and can power most home appliances, including refrigerators and lights.

Unlike solar electricity, in which sunlight is directly converted to power, the solar thermal process converts sun heat into energy. This process can be used to heat water in a home. Installing a solar hot water system in a home requires an initial investment, but ultimately will usually trigger significant cost savings on home heating expenses.

Geothermal heating has grown to be among the most widely used sources of home renewable energy. Instead of generating new heat, these systems use heat stored in the earth and circulate it efficiently throughout a home. Such a system may be considered a type of solar energy because it accesses energy from the ground that was warmed by the sun.

Sustainable practices can be applied to just about any room in a home, including the bathroom. Replacing bathroom appliances with energy efficient products, for example, can lower a family's energy needs. Changes such as the installation of a low-flow shower head and a water efficient toilet are not especially cost-prohibitive, and can help conserve water. Even the floors can become more environmentally friendly when wooden floors are replaced with bamboo grass materials or carpeting.

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