Monday, October 27, 2008

Solar Energy Doesn't Have to Result in Electricity!

Although it seems that the big push nowadays is solar photovoltaic panels and their installation (to be off-grid most of the time!), you can also get a nice savings and benefit from using solar energy in other ways!

Solar water heaters--You can make your own and install it yourself (after getting the plans, it takes a bit of work, but it's gratifying when you have completed the project!) or you can get it from the manufacturer and have professional installers put it in for you. (See the picture at the right side of this blog!)

Solar air heaters--Same as above... you can get the plans and build it yourself, or you can get professionals to get it and install it for you.

Solar architecture--Just by making some modifications to where you live, you can take advantage of solar energy. In the northern hemisphere, winter is approaching. If you can arrange to have your east and south facing windows unblocked so that the incoming sun can heat the floor and perhaps a brick/masonry wall or two, you can take advantage of the "thermal mass" of the floor to help with your heating. As soon as the direct sunlight is no longer coming through those windows, close insulating drapes over them to prevent the captured heat from escaping.

Conservation efforts--If your home is not insulated well, you still should take the time now before the weather gets even nastier to weather-strip your doors and windows. Make sure your window-sills and cracks are sealed well. Make sure your doors close well and firmly against the jam. Warm air leaking from your home can cost you with more expensive heating bills.

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