How to reduce your electricity bill with solar or Renewable energy
The cost of electricity is high. But we need electrical energy to run our day to day task, so we can not afford not to pay for it. what if we have a cheap alternative to the grid or generator set that is very affordable and readily available? The answer is renewable energy or solar energy!
How to reduce your electricity bill with solar or Renewable energy
By Engr. Ajiboye Alasolewu.
The first step before purchasing a solar electric or wind power system to meet your electricity needs is to intelligently reduce those needs. Most homes can inexpensively reduce their electricity demands by 20 to 30% without ever having to make any adjustments in the lifestyles of the occupants. We provided you with many energy saving tips in this article, such as:
Replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent ones.Upgrading your older appliances with Energy efficient ones that have a very low annual energy consumption rating. Minimize the many hidden phantom (ghost) loads in your house. Insulate your home well for colder seasons. Creatively use vegetation to keep your home cool in the summer and maximize sunshine entering the house in the winter.
- Use solar heating technologies (not to be confused with solar electric technologies) to cost effectively reduce how much your traditional air or water heating systems have to work.
Using renewable energy to produce electricity and reduce your electric bill can be a sound long-term investment. Depending on the type of technology, you can expect a full return on your investment within 3 to 18 years. With financial or tax rebates from your utility company or state and national government, the payback period on your investment can be cut in half.
However, the very first step to considering any renewable energy system must be how to make your home or business more energy efficient.
MAKING YOUR HOME ENERGY EFFICIENT
One of the easiest things that you can do to reduce your electrical consumption is change out your regular incandescent light bulbs to LED. LLEDs use 95% less energy than a normal light bulb that produces the same amount of light. By replacing a normal 100 watt incandescent light bulb with a 10 watt LEDs, you will save $80 to $100 in electricity costs over the lifetime of that bulb (50,000 hours). Now imagine how much you would save if you changed out all of your light bulbs to LEDs.
The technology for these bulbs has quickly evolved and improved in the last few years, while the cost has come down dramatically. You'll find that there are LEDs that will now fit most light fixtures and lighting needs—there are motion sensor and occupancy sensor LEDs with smart Technology that power them only when necessary.
ENERGY GUIDE AND Efficiency
One of the biggest consumers of electricity in most households is the refrigerator. In most households, refrigeration is the number one electricity consumer after any electricity-based heating or cooling systems. If your refrigerator is over 10 years old, chances are it's electrically very inefficient. Consider replacing your current refrigerator with one that has a high Energy efficiency.
You can search online for the brand, type and size of refrigerator you want and sort by energy efficiency. When you shop in stores, consult the attached labels to all new refrigerators (and many other appliances) for Energy Efficiency rating before making choices.
Ghost loads are the sneaky devices that constantly consume small amounts of electricity 24 hours a day even when they're not actually doing anything useful. While each device by itself may not consume much electricity, the combination of all of them within your household may easily consume the equivalent of two or three 60-Watt incandescent light bulbs left on all day and all night. Over the course of a single year this adds up to over 1 Megawatt-hour in other words, enough electricity to power an entire energy-efficient house for 2 to 3 months!
What are these mysterious ghost loads?
The most common examples are the "power brick" adapters, or power supplies, that charge or operate cell phones, laptop computers, cordless drills, answering machines, radios, inkjet printers, and many other household devices.
They're actually small transformers, turning AC electricity from the wall outlet into DC electricity for use by the device. While any one of these devices may only consume a small amount of power ( 3-20 watts), a dozen or so of them, running simultaneously and continuously, consume a significant amount of electricity.
What's worse is that even when you're not charging your cell phone or the battery for your cordless drill, that AC adapter may continue to consume power just because it's plugged into the wall. Other well-disguised ghost loads are those devices which have the "instant on" feature, such as most modern television sets, VCRs, DVD players, many radios and even many computers. While all of these devices are supposedly turned off, they are actually consuming anywhere from 3 to 20 watts continuously just to stay ready for you to use them.
How can you decrease the consumption of energy by these parasitic loads?
One of the simplest solutions is to simply plug these devices into a power strip which has an off/on switch. When you are done using the devices and shut them off normally, then just hit the off switch on the power strip. Many people make it part of their nightly routine to shut off these power strips just before they go to bed. For AC power adapters that you use at night, like for charging a cell phone, put those on a separate power strip that you turn off during the day when you take your phone with you. Simple solutions like these could reduce your ghost electric loads by as much as 80%. In real-dollars terms, this means saving upwards of $500 per year in electricity costs, depending on your local electric utility rates and how dedicated you are to reducing your ghost loads.
A SPECIAL NOTE FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE PLANNING TO LEAVE OFF-GRID
If you're planning to use an off-grid solar, wind or hydro system and plan to have a 12- or 24-volt battery bank, you will often be able to find devices and appliances that work directly with these DC voltages. The benefit to using these devices is that they will not need an AC power adapter that needlessly consumes electricity whether or not the device is in use. After all, what an AC adapter plug does is convert normal AC household electricity to DC type of electricity to power the device, and it rarely does that conversion efficiently.
Another simple and green method for reducing your home's air conditioning costs is to plant deciduous trees whose leaves will shade your home in the summer time and shed its leaves for more sunlight in the winter time. By shading your home it heats up less, and therefore requires less cooling by an air conditioner. Planting a tree in this scenario has double the environmental impact, you're reducing greenhouse gases by both using less electricity and because the tree itself absorbs carbon dioxide.
Here is a short list of other appliances you should consider replacing with higher efficiency versions: water heating tanks, air conditioners, dehumidifiers, dishwashers, telephones, VCRs and DVDs, ceiling fans, fax machines, computers and copiers.
To find out how much your appliances are really consuming, invest in an inexpensive power meter like the Kill-A-Watt meter.
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