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Energy Efficient Construction
Environmental Design Consulting
Green Building and Development Techniques
Energy Efficient Construction
Environmental Design Consulting
Green Building and Development Techniques
Renewable Energies
Renewable energies come in many forms and are essentially the use of wind and solar power to heat, cool and light our structures. There are many structures already built today that do not depend on carbon based fuels at all to provide these functions, and when a home is built to be highly energy efficient it reduces the requirements and expensive equipment to have a net zero energy usage home. Homes can be heated and cooled naturally thus reducing the energy requirements by 40% to 50% and water can be heated naturally to reduce these requirements by another 15% to 20%, thus reducing total energy demand by up to 70%. Producing electricity from solar panels is more expensive than heating water from the sun, so if your considering photovoltaic make sure to install a solar water heater as well. It is a good idea to stay tied to the grid with an inverter when possible if solar panels are used. Going off grid creates a whole new set of expenses, maintenance and required building space for battery packs and equipment as well as considering direct current (DC) appliances to avoid the 10% energy loss when converting to alternating current (AC). In addition, conveniences of higher energy usage appliances like ranges, ovens and clothes dryers have to reconsider and or eliminated. Staying with an ac system lowers the initial front end installation cost substantially and you also have the convenience of all the power you want when you need it.

The current wind generators for home use are also expensive, require maintenance and are limited to power generation only on windy days. By the time you add up the turbine, tower and installation costs and do a power generation calculation based on average wind speeds in your area and do a cost savings analysis based on your current electric rates you will more than likely figure out the unit will never pay for itself. However, if you feel that this is an option you want to pursue there are good performing machines on the market now.

Using renewable energies is always a good option as they add anywhere from 10 to 20 times the value to a home for dollar saved per year in utility bills and usually have payback periods of less than half the life of the installed system as well as reducing our energy dependence and carbon footprint. With the new renewable energies tax bill tax credits are available at 30% of the cost, up to $1,500, in 2009 & 2010 (for existing homes only) for windows and door, insulation, roofs (metal and asphalt, HVAC, water heaters (non-solar) and biomass stoves. Tax credits are also available at 30% of the cost, with no upper limit through 2016 (for existing homes & new construction) for geothermal heat pumps, solar panels, solar water heaters, small wind energy systems and fuel cells. This allows energy efficient improvements and renewable energies to pay off very quickly and provide added returns on investment.

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