Renewable Energy Sources in Your Design
Energy usage is the elephant in the room when a person asks an architect to design a house for him. In fact, most of the time, the focus is on the physical aspects of the building and less on how to save electricity. Energy usage in the home is a big issue. After all, a home without electricity would be a desolate place to be—no light, no entertainment, no nothing.
The problem is that energy cost is rising. Not only that, fossil fuel is still the dominant fuel used by power plants, and it is a resource that’s running low. Other sources of electricity, such as geothermal energy, hydrothermal energy are dependent on the stability of the planet, which climate change is putting in danger. Nuclear plants are also dangerous, case in point, Fukushima power plant in Japan.
When it comes to electric power, there is no doubt about it, renewable is the future. Luckily, there are ways now that people can generate their own electricity independent from power plants. There are also technologies that don’t create electricity, but can reduce dependence on electricity. Here are some of them.
The sun does not only produce light, it also produces a high amount photon which knocks electrons off the silicon atoms in the solar panel, which then flows with other electrons to the battery. Solar panel has different efficiency in converting sunlight to electricity. The highest efficiency possible is said to be 29 percent.
Solar panels are usually placed on roofs of houses, but some place them in specific areas in the yard that can always be reached by sunlight. This is often so that the solar panels can be cleaned from dust.
Installation of solar panels nowadays could cost a huge amount of money, but once the initial invest is paid off through savings from electricity bills, usually in 2 to 5 years, the solar panel owner will basically have free electricity.
Wind turbines are perfect for those living in country farms. Wind turbines produce electricity when their propellers are turned by wind. High altitude areas will be the perfect place for wind turbines. One big wind turbine could produce at least 40 percent of your household electricity needs.
There is some problem with wind turbines though. First, they can be noisy, so if you have neighbors, you may get a complaint from them. Second, wind turbines also take up space. Experts don’t suggest putting wind turbines on roofs because it may cause vibrations in the house.
Solar water heater
Hot water is important in many homes for bathing and for warming up the home interior through radiators. Heating up water requires a lot of fuel. Whether you are using gas, wood or electricity to warm your water, it will cost you. There is however a free way you can get hot water without spending for fuel, by using the sun’s heat. Solar water heaters are a great help to save on energy cost. It uses different technology, but with one result—hot water for your bath or radiator. Usually placed on the roof, solar water heater consists of water tanks filled with water that the sun can heat up. Then that water goes into your home.
Solar water heater is very efficient and can shave off almost all of your water heating cost. In winter, it will only have 20 percent efficiency, but on other seasons, you basically have free hot water.
Solar home cooler
If you have a solar water heater, you can also have a solar home cooler. How this works is that some of the solar heated water goes through a mechanism that uses heat exchange so that they cool the air coming into your home.
Air conditioning is one of the biggest users of electricity in the home. By replacing it with solar cooling technology, you will have big savings.
The future is renewable energy. If you design homes or want to have an architect design your home, it is a good idea to include renewable free energy technologies in your design. Designers can include this too in their 3D rendering services.