By Amanda Williams
Many people equate living a self-sufficient lifestyle with being a hermit, or the oddball hippies down the road.
Yet in changing times, people, organizations, and even national governments are starting to realize once again the value of living self-sufficiently. They are putting in more natural energy sources, “fueled” by renewable power, putting in greenhouses, and much more.
On a smaller scale, all of this might seem unattainable. The golden truth is that this isn’t true. The trick is to find out how it is done on a smaller scale since these scenarios don’t make the headline news as often.
What is considered “renewable power”?
First, what is renewable power? Renewable power is a source of energy that cannot run out since it constantly refreshes itself; there is no finite amount of the source of energy.
Examples of renewable power sources include the sun, transformed into solar energy, wind, water, transformed into hydroelectricity, and geothermal energy produced from the natural heat of the earth.
Depending on your situation, any one of these can work for your home. One of the most common setups for homes in recent years has been the addition of solar panels to the roof.
If you live in a windy area, consider investing in a small wind turbine. With their tall, slender, poles leading up to the turbine, they are inconspicuous and useful.
How useful? Using residential wind power can mean being able to power your home and other facilities all year round. At times, it can even result in making money back each year.
However, putting one in needs to be an investment made with care to ensure that it is the right choice for your particular situation. Wind turbines that are only 1-kw can cost upwards of $10,000. Once they are up, though, they are there to stay and save you money every year.
Another commonly used transformer of a renewable energy source are solar panels. These are easier to put up and come with a lower investment tag. This is partially due to the Solar Energy Technologies Office. They have invested in solar energy each year to bring the cost down for homeowners and the price has dropped every year since 2009.
One of the most important considerations for homeowners is what return they will get on their investment. It is important to consider them an investment instead of an expense, since as soon as they are up they begin saving you money.
Solar panels dramatically, if not entirely, cut down on energy bills. They have a 25+ year lifespan and each year, for every ray of sunshine you get, you pay less money out. In especially bright areas of the world, you might actually make money off of them if you are connected to your city’s power grid.
On average for an American homeowner, they completely pay off the entire solar panel system in seven to eight years. After that, they see an ROI of 20+ percent.
Even if a homeowner doesn’t know how long they want to stay in their current home, it is still considered an investment. Just like redoing a kitchen or installing new fixtures are considered in the value of a home, so is installing solar panel systems.
Homeowners asked by real estate agents and government boards said that, on average, they would be willing to pay an extra $15,000 for a home with an entirely set up system. Homes equipped with these systems tend to sell faster than non-solar homes as well.
In the last three hundred years, since the Industrial Revolution, man’s impact on the planet has changed drastically. Although being more environmentally-friendly is a personal choice, the impact of thousands of people adding renewable power to their lives needs to be considered.
From the United States alone, it has been found that 29 perfect of global warming emissions originate from our electricity sector. Much of this has to do with fuel emissions from non-renewable energy sources such as coal and natural gas.
Renewable energy sources emit little to no global warming gases and cut down dramatically on the CO2 in the atmosphere.
The pollution produced by burning fossil fuels is linked to many health problems as well. Although people don’t think of the air around them posing any dangers, around the world people are suffering from breathing problems, cancer, heart attacks, neurological damage and others that have all been linked to pollution from coal and natural gas plants.
This health difference is part of the reason why renewable energy sources are called “clean energy.” We are harnessing the power that is naturally occurring around us every day to make a cleaner, more sustainable environment.
When you think about it, it comes down to protecting our children, looking out for the health and future planet of the next generation. If you could do something to make a better world for those that come after us, would you?
Consider the impact in the future, but also remember the impact on your own carbon footprint, the impact on the value of your home, and the impact on monthly utility bills. If you haven’t made such a positive change already, why not move towards a healthier future?