Free Electricity for a Greener Planet
There are various forms of free electricity. Solar panels, using smart photovoltaic cells, can generate electricity from sunlight and feed energy directly into your local energy grid on a summer’s day. Alternatively better insulation won’t actually give you electricity, but it will cost little to install and rapidly pay you back in reduced heating or cooling costs. The level of immediate pay-off varies, as does the level of investment required, but the overall effect is reduce energy expenditure. Fewer dollars invested in electricity mean more money in your bank account, less carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and few pollutants released around the globe.
Here are some of the ways that you can get yourself some free electricity.
1) Use more modern electronic and electrical equipment. As electronics become smaller and more integrated, so their power consumption falls. The effect can be dramatic. Consider your computer monitor. If you are using a glass, cathode ray tube (CRT) based, monitor, you are probably consuming some 100 watts whereas a typical LCD monitor uses only 30 watts. That means that, assuming that you leave your monitor on all the time, and that a kilowatt hour costs 8 cents, you will save roughly 50 dollars per year by using an LCD monitor. There is a similar electrical inefficiency in old appliances, an old refrigerator is costing you many dollars per year in electricity. Unless you really need it, get rid of it, and you will at least not be wasting money on electricity.
2) Get insulation into your roof and house and get double glazing installed. An insulated loft will keep your house warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer and reduce your desire to burn electricity to move air around your home in the form of heater fans or electrical heaters or coolers. If you home was not built in the last year or two, you will probably be surprised to find that building standards have moved on. You can put in modern double glazing, for example, which is not only better looking than your current windows, but also considerably more energy efficient. You will find yourself having to switch on the heating and cooling less frequently and you will be saving electricity. Using typical figures supplied by the manufacturer you can calculate the pay back period for an energy enhancement to your house – and you may be pleasantly surprised to find that such an enhancement increases the value of your home, and may even be eligible for an improvement grant or tax break. Ask at your building supply company and you will rapidly uncover the details and possibilities.
3) Get a windmill. Not by any means an off-beat suggestion. If you are living in a region which has steady winds, you may well find that a modern windmill, which is specifically designed to generate electricity, is a viable possibility for you. Again grants and incentives may be available (depending on where you live) and if you install a windmill you will find free electricity delivered directly to your house.
4) Consider installing solar panels. There are two types of panel. Those that augment your hot water system, or heat a pool and those that generate electricity. The first type give you free electricity in that you do not need to invest in the generation of electricity for heating (or for pumping) with many systems. The direct generation of electricity using solar panels is of increasing importance. The technology is improving every year and it is quite viable for those living in sunny areas to feed electricity back into their local power systems on sunny days and have their electricity meters spin in reverse while they are helping their neighbors.
5) For those with a deep interest in efficiency consider bio-methane generation. This will need some financial investment, but is perfectly feasible for small installations. (You will also be taking steps to make yourself less dependent on the sewer system).
6) Geothermal and tidal power are also possibilities to consider, particularly if you live in a volcanically active part of the world such as Hawaii or Iceland. Depending on your economic feasibility calculations, you may need to organize your neighbors or community, in order to make such power supplies viable. However, where there is a will there is a way and with energy and electricity prices continuing to increase you will likely find that there is community interest in such an approach. The first apartment complex in New York to install a tidal generator cannot be far away.
Making use of free electricity is not simply smart and frugal it is also better for the planet. A little contemplation of the key areas above will lead you to a richer future both financially and environmentally.