Have you ever considered harnessing the power of the sun to save on your energy consumption? Solar technology is constantly improving, and there are many ways solar can be a part of your home. Check out these three options.
1. Build a Simple Solar Heater
A solar hot-air collector built into new construction or added to an existing building can be an easy and inexpensive heating solution. The low-cost plan in Build a Simple Solar Heater lets you turn any south wall into a source of free heat. On sunny winter days, this collector raises interior temperatures to between 60 and 75 degrees.
2. Heat Your Water with Solar
Solar water heaters are the simplest entry into renewable energy. About 15 to 20 percent of a home’s energy goes to heating the hot water you use. For information about a low-maintenance solar system, see Go Solar for Free Hot Water.
3. Install Thin-Film Solar Panels
With superefficient peel-and-stick PV sheets, solar power is better than ever. These thin panels (see photo above) can go right on your roof and help significantly with your home’s energy consumption. See Easy Solar Power for information on how thin PV sheets work and how you can install them on your home.
Of course, each of these solar options has an up-front cost—but they will pay for themselves over time with the money you save on energy bills. Plus, they all help reduce your environmental impact. Finally, solar is just plain cool! If you use any solar systems at home, please tell us about them in the comments section below.
Photo by Cheryl Long