Solar powered homes
Posted by Solar energy guru | Filed under Solar powered products
Solar powered homes used to be thought of as part of alternative lifestyles only for hippies and hardcore environmentalists. That is no longer the case as solar power technologies have become more mainstream and affordable. With soaring energy costs and concerns over the environmental impact of using fossil fuels, solar powered homes are becoming more popular every year.
Completely solar powered homes will start off with using an architectural design that takes advantage of passive solar heating and daylighting techniques. By planning the design carefully, a home can be built that can get much of its heat and light from the sun. South facing windows allow the radiant energy from the sun into the house in the form of heat. The materials used in the floors and walls of the home will help to distribute this heat evenly throughout the home.
The same windows that allow for direct gain also save energy on lighting costs. That and other window options are referred to as daylighting. Other passive solar heating techniques such as adding special architectural features for indirect heat gains can increase the amount of heat captured, as well. These techniques alone can save a homeowner well over half of the energy costs each year while still maintaining a comfortable home.
Of course, heat and light are not the only things we use electricity for in our homes. One of the highest energy users after heating is the hot water heater. By replacing a traditionally powered hot water heater with a solar water heating system, you can reduce your reliance on external power sources even more. Even if you don’t want to have a strictly solar powered home, just by using solar energy to heat the water you need will save you huge amounts on your utility costs.
If you have fully integrated passive solar heating techniques into the design of your home, it is actually much simpler to create a completely solar powered home. The passive technologies have already reduced the energy needed to run the rest of your home. Therefore, you won’t need as large a system as you would without those passive techniques in place. That would have a significant impact on the costs of implementing a home solar system.
Solar powered homes have more options than ever before. No longer are you limited to placing giant PV panels on the roof, although they remain an option. New roofing options allow for utilizing solar energy while staying true to the overall design of your home. Roof solar shingles, tiles and even slate can be manufactured with solar cells incorporated into the materials. This allows your roof to still look good while harnessing the sun’s power and providing energy to run your home.
It is easier and less expensive to create solar powered homes in very sunny climates, of course. There are less storage needs required in areas that get large amounts of sun daily. However, even in regions that deal with frequent inclement weather, solar powered homes are a feasible option given modern technology. Many solar powered homes in those regions are still tied to the grid as a backup but they still help reduce our reliance on less environmentally friendly energy sources.
With the current energy crisis and ever growing environmental concerns, many groups are calling for legislation requiring a higher usage of alternative energy sources. Solar powered homes take advantage of an energy source that is clean and infinitely renewable so many people are supporting these types of legislation. In fact, there may come a time in the not too distant future where solar powered homes will become a standard in home design.