DIY energy generation is easy to achieve with some careful planning and a relatively minor investment of time and money. It is also a very useful way to contribute towards the development of renewable energies and cut back on the world’s reliance on dwindling and polluting hydrocarbon resources. Solar and wind power are great choices for the average homeowner because the technologies are well-established and materials and information are readily available.
It has been estimated that in one day the planet receives more energy from the sun than could be used in about 25 years, based on current energy consumption rates. Unless you live in high latitudes, the chances are your home receives a significant amount of sunlight that you could collect right now to power your home and heat water for washing. And even when the sun isn’t shining you can draw power from storage batteries that you have ‘filled up’ during sunny periods.
The same holds true for wind power as a DIY energy source. Although the wind obviously doesn’t blow all the time, if you live in a place where there are regular periods of wind blowing at around 10-15mph, and you have sufficient space around you, then a small wind turbine on your roof or on a tower is a great DIY energy option.
DIY Energy – The Solar Option
Many people are drawn towards using solar DIY energy. Although it is often more expensive than other options, it is definitely more versatile. For example, you can simply use the power of the sun’s rays to heat up water in a low-profile reservoir on your roof. The hot water can then be circulated around your house for heating, or you can use it for washing. Many of these systems remain linked up to standard grid power as a backup.
An even more basic, yet highly effective way of creating solar DIY energy if you are building a house is to incorporate it into the house construction phase using so-called ‘passive solar’ principles. In essence this means aligning your house to collect sun during the cooler seasons, and using internal building materials such as masonry or concrete walls and floors to collect and store the sun’s heat, and then release it slowly during cooler periods or at night.
A third solar DIY energy option is to use photovoltaic cells on your roof to convert the sun’s energy into electrical energy. This is not particularly cheap DIY energy option if you want to power your entire house but it doesn’t have to be done on a big scale. It is often used in conjunction with other DIY energy options.
In many areas you can sell any excess power back to the grid supplier and offset your installation costs. If you are interested in this option, it is a good idea to check whether there are any tax breaks or subsidies available that will cut down your costs. Many people have installed systems that have virtually eliminated their monthly power bills. At the very least you will be able to make a significant reduction in running costs with a DIY energy generation system.
Other Benefits of DIY Energy
Homes with DIY energy installations typically increase in value, for obvious reasons. People are definitely willing to pay more for homes that produce their own energy. Check with your local real estate agent to see if they can give you an estimate of the benefits in your area.
Another slightly less obvious benefit of DIY energy is that it makes users more aware of their power consumption, thereby helping to reduce costs.
If you are thinking about building a DIY energy system, it is a good idea to estimate your household demand and how much your current costs are. This will give you a comparison point for any system you consider. It is also worthwhile to do a basic audit to see if you can fix up any energy leaks in your home or cut down on your energy usage in some way. This can often make a big difference to your costs and/or the viability of a DIY energy project.
If planned and executed with care, DIY energy projects can be very rewarding and can make a positive difference to your household budget.