Monday, 27 April 2009

Money Saving Ideas - Energy

We are always looking to reduce our expenses and one way that this can be achieved is to lower our energy bills. This is something which most people can relate to and in a lot of areas there is something you can do about it! There are two popular alternatives - Solar power and Wind. Both can be added to existing properties and in many areas there is a grant available to help with the initial costing.

Solar Power
Solar power is not limited to only the sun drenched shores of the Mediterranean, wherever you are there is scope for gaining benefit from the sun. Solar panels on your roof can be used to create electricity or to heat the water in your home. Whatever you choose to do there are things that you should consider before embarking.
Cost - there are, as I have said, grants available to help with the expense but there will be costs to you. These costs will be offset by the amount you save on your energy bills over the life of your panels but should still be considered at the time of placement.
Repair & Maintenance - The panels are hard wearing but as with anything they will deteriorate over time and as aresult will need replacing and, in the worst case, replacing. It will also be good practice to inform your house insurance company of them and ensure that they will also be covered.
Installation - there are many companies, and a quick search of the internet will show them, who are capable of installing the panels for you. But remember there will some time of disruption while the panels are fitted.
Asthetics - soalr panels are not overly offensive but be sure you are going to be happy with them in situ.

Wind Power

Wind power is obviously more suited towards those of us with more wind than the others! Often more rural places or those of us on higher ground will benefit more from the wind turbine. Before deciding on a wind turbine make sure you are going to get enough wind, unlike the solar panels (you are pretty much garenteed that the sun will rise tomorrow) you cannot be sure that it will be windy so these turbines will be useless on many days.

Again however, there are grants out there to help dover the cost of having the turbine installed and many companies that are able to do the work.
Cost - Turbines tend to be more expensive outright than solar panels and as their use is limited to windy days, depending on your wind, may take long to 'pay for themselves'.
Asthetics - Wind turbines need to be above the house height to ensure a good flow of air so you must be prepared for this extra height and feature to your property.
Legal - In some areas it will be sensible to refer to zoning laws as you may not be legally permitted to install a turbine.
Repair & Maintenance - Again they will wear out, although designed well for their purpose and hard wearing, so be prepared to have to fix or replace.

There are always ways to save yourself some cash and generating your own energy is just one of them. But if what you are looking for is simple heating then never forget the simple log fire! If you are lucky enough to have the chimneys in your house intact then make use of them. A chimney can easily be converting back to a functioning fireplace. There is obvioulsy a safety aspect but a good fire guard and some fire safety lessons for children and the fire becomes a wonderful focal point for a room as well as providing a lot of heat. Fuel need not be expensive if you can buy in bulk and if you go for solid fuels like peat (which will smoulder rather than roar) the cost can be kept low.
Downfalls with an open fire is that, unless the rooms are small then a fire tends to heat only one room. However, leaving only specific doors open and allowing the heat to permeate can help spread the warmth through to the most well used rooms. There is talk that 'most of the heat goes up the chimney' and this is true, a lot of heat does escape but a lot of heat is produced so you don't nesecarily want to keep it all. Open fires also have the psychological effect of making the room feel warm, simply because they are there and don't even have to give of that much heat.
Whatever you are looking for in energy saving ideas there is something for everyone. And if all else fails, why not just 'switch it off'!!

1 comment:

  1. Personally I'd love to install solar panels in our home, but there are other US grants that can provide for heating and cooling services. It can lower their and the money people can save from these programs can be used for other bills or put into savings.



I'd love to hear what you think! Please leave a message!