As a homeowner, have you ever considered going off of the electricity grid? This may seem like a daunting prospect for any person. Trying to find a more economically friendly, yet cheap, way of powering a house is no easy task. On the flip side, the prospect of never being bombarded with utility bills again is very temping! But, as gloriously tempting as that prospect is, going off the grid isn’t as simple as whacking a few solar panels on the top of your house. Your property won’t be powered solely by these golden rays; especially if you live in England! So, what are the most cost efficient ways of generating electricity in the home?
credit: London Permaculture
A pellet stove can power your whole house by using biological materials; such as wood waste from chopped down trees, rotting garbage from landfill sites, or even agricultural waste. Pellet stoves are known for being the ‘cleanest burners’ of any of the fuel burning systems. From fuelling your pellet stove once a day, your house will be warmed pretty much throughout that day – and best of all it doesn’t need a chimney to function [unlike wood burner stoves]. Costing upwards from £1,700, the time to recoup the investment from a pellet stove would be around two to four years.
If your one of the lucky few who have running water on their property, have you ever thought about making the most of it? By utilising microhydro electricity, you could potentially power your whole house all year round; providing it doesn’t freeze over! The smallest of microhydro units generate around ten KW of energy every single hour of the day, which should be the suitable amount to power a home. Depending on the size of your property, generators can range from £2,500 to £15,000.
Micro Combined Heart &Power (CHP)
Micro Combined heat and Power systems are used to generate both power and heat from one fuel source; squeezing the source for as much juice as they can. They are coined ‘micro’, simply because regular CHP systems are so big that they wouldn’t be able to fit in the everyday home; the micro CHP are just a scaled down version perfect for residential use. Natural gas is used to power the CHP systems and are known as being thoroughly effective [can reap results high as ninety percent]. At the moment, CHP are better equipped to powering larger homes; smaller systems are currently being developed.
Wind is known as being one of the most economically friendly forms of energy; zero fossil fuels and greenhouse gases. People who utilise wind power in their homes are also connected to the grid. This is because that when the turbines generate too much power it is sold to the grid, and when there is no wind, the grid’s power is used. If you’re planning to build a new home, perhaps wind as a viable energy source is for you. The ‘Windspire’ turbine is designed in a vertical shape, so that it always faces the wind; two or three Windspire turbines could power an entire home.
As you can see, perhaps going off the grid isn’t such a daunting prospect after all. As the world becomes more environmentally conscious, people are starting to invest in greener ways of generating electricity in the household. Now the question remains, have you got the ‘power’ to make that leap in your home?