Everything we do in and to our home will affect the environment one way or another, either for good or bad. Becoming aware of this is an important first step, which can lead to considerable savings for you, as well as benefiting the environment. This also includes improving energy efficiency in your home. And there are a number of ways in which you can make your current home “greener” that will put more “green” in your pocket too. Insulation is an important first step in reducing energy usage and reducing your outgoings. It’s even more important now with the rising cost of energy these days. And there have been many improvements to insulation in recent years that make it more effective and efficient as well as even safer in the home. Those walls, lofts and attic spaces can lose huge amounts of expensive heat from your house, so insulating them can save you a great deal of money as well as making a more comfortable home – warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. After all, insulation works both ways! A lot of insulation is very easy to install or lay down, or you can go for a professional job and get an approved contractor to install cavity wall insulation. Once you have the insulation in place, it’s worth looking at the types of heating and air conditioning systems that are available. Modern ones are all so much more energy efficient. While the initial costs may seem a bit steep, you should recover your money in the long run, through lower bills. Before agreeing to buy any new system, check whether there are any grants available to you locally, or any other help. It is possible that some grants for those on a low income or those over a certain age may be available. Sometimes financial help is only available for certain systems or by using certain installation contractors. Check up on the required conditions to be met before signing up for anything. Solar panels are one way of providing additional heat and power in your house. The costs of installing these have come down considerably and the latest designs are a lot more efficient and easy to maintain. The panels are also more attractive and with so many people opting for this form of additional heat and power generation, solar panels have become very much the “in-thing” in many neighbourhoods. You may have a local contractor who can install solar panels for you or you may need to check for a national company. Whichever you chose, make sure they are certified to fit and install solar panels correctly. Solar panel installation at an information center adjacent to Ögii Lake (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Solar panel installation at an information cen... Windows are another source of heat loss in winter and heat gain in summer and many homes still have the original windows, which may be outdated by today’s standards for energy conservation. They may also have shrunk from their frames, creating draughts. Where possible, think about replacing windows with double, or even triple-glazed windows. It’s not necessary to do every window at the same time, these can be done bit by bit if necessary. And in some houses, there may be certain windows that need replacing anyway or where you have already noticed cold draughts in the winter winds. Cutting out the heat loss from windows (and doors) can have a very beneficial effect on your bills! In hotter climates, you can even get tinted glass that will reflect the sun’s glare during the summer. Quite aside from insulation, if you are going to redecorate your home, you can now get healthier paints that are free from VOCs (volatile organic compounds). and this is another way to get your house greener and make it a safer and healthier place for you and your family. Let’s take a look now at water. Rainwater may be scarce in some areas, but when it does fall, you can collect it for free and make good use of it, saving your water bills. There are a number of ways to collect rainwater, from rain barrels (keep them covered to prevent accidents and to keep insects out) to underground tanks set into your garden.

You can collect rainwater through your downpipes using an adapter. The water can be used for washing your car, watering plants and is even said to be very good for washing hair, leaving it soft. There are also many ways now to save water inside the house, by using less. For instance, there are a number of new toilet models available. These use less water than older models. Some have two buttons, one for a short flush, one for a longer flush where necessary. You can also get more modern shower heads that will use less water. As water bills increase, replacing your toilet or your shower head with a more modern one incorporating water saving technology can save you money over time. It’s important to think through any changes you may want to make. Anything you do must always consider whether you can afford it and just how much of a saving it will make for you. But in general, you will find that being kind to the environment will also be kind on your pocket! Check out a few of these ideas and see if you can make your house greener and more eco friendly!

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How To Build Your Own Solar Cell.

You may already be aware of solar energy as a wonderful way for you to preserve the environment and save some money. But did you know you can build your own solar panels? It’s true! With just some time and some materials from your local home goods store, you can make some. This article shows you how to make a solar cell so that you can understand the principle of how these panels work. This can be a great way to show kids how these things work. Keep reading to find out.

First, assemble the materials you need. You need to have sheet metal, copper sheeting, alligator clips, a hot plate and a clear bottle made of plastic. You also need salt and water, as well as a micro-ammeter that can read less than 50 amperes. Of course, be sure you have the appropriate safety gear, including gloves, goggles and tongs. Have a first aid kid nearby, as well as a tub of water or fire extinguisher.

Tip: Using green energies is not an excuse to use more energy than you really need. Do not forget to turn the lights off when you leave a room and putting on a sweater instead of turning the heat up.

Next, check that your copper is not corroded and sandpaper them to make sure. Then, cut two pieces of copper that are roughly the size of the hot plate. Put one of the pieces on top of the hot plate and turn it up to the maximum. As the copper heats, it is going to oxidize and ultimately turn black. That should take about 30 to 40 minutes. Monitor the copper during this time to avoid an accident. Then allow the copper to cool for about half an hour. Finally, rinse the cooled copper off in cool water, wiping off the top layer of the oxidized coating. Use your hands for this step, since you only want to address the top layer of oxidation that comes off easily, not all the way through. Be gentle as you do this.

Make a narrow bucket by cutting the top of the plastic bottle. Now, take the unheated copper piece and insert it into the bottle. Then put the oxidized copper on the opposite side. Make sure they do not touch. Attach an alligator clip to each piece. Clamp the alligator clip from the unheated copper and attach it to the micro-ammeter’s postive terminal. Attach the other piece of copper in the same way to the negative terminal.

Tip: When shopping for appliances, computers or other electronic items, look for products that wear an Energy Star badge. To earn the right to display the Energy Star logo, products must meet certain energy-efficiency criteria.

Use two tablespoons of salt and mix it with a cup or two of water. Then pour the mixture into the bottom of the plastic bottle, but don’t wet the alligator clips. In fact, make sure there are a few inches of copper at the top that stays dry. Check the micro-ammeter needle for movement. When you put this solar panel outside, you will see the needle rise as the panel absorbs the sun.

Now, the solar cell in this article will not work as well as the solar panels you buy. However, now you can more clearly understand how this technology works and you can attempt to build your own solar panels or buy and install them.

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How To Maximize The Potential Of Solar Energy Equipment

One of the best ways to get rid of your carbon footprint and go green is to take advantage of solar energy. Use the advice from this article so you can maximize your solar energy equipment’s potential.

One of the most important and easiest things you can do is ensure that the solar energy equipment is facing towards the sun. If you think about it, this really is just common sense. If your solar energy panels are facing the sun, more of the sun’s rays are likely to hit the panels and therefore give you more energy.

Tip: Look up different websites and see what green technology is available that you can purchase. You can find things like batteries that run off of solar energy or items for your household that run off of solar energy.

Determine how much wattage you will need for your home, business, or wherever else you plan on using solar equipment. A small family home may not require many strong solar panels. On the other hand, a big business may require a very big investment to ensure that you get enough energy. You want to make sure that whatever you use solar energy for will have enough energy to operate.

Call up a professional to install your solar energy equipment. You might be tempted to put the equipment up yourself to save yourself some money, but in the long run this could turn out to be inefficient for you. A professional will know exactly where to install your equipment so that it can take in the most energy and they will also make sure the equipment is in a secure spot where it will be able to stay for years. The small price for a professional may save you a lot of money down the road.

Tip: When finishing up your work for the day, turn off your home office equipment including your computer. These modern work machines eat up a lot of energy, even when not in use.

Clean your solar panels regularly. If the panels are cloudy or dirty, then it just will not be able to absorb as many rays and you will not receive as much energy from it. By keeping the panels clean and clear you will make sure they are receiving the maximum amount of rays.

In addition to cleaning your solar panels every so often, you will also want to perform other types of maintenance during these times. Make sure everything is plugged in properly and that the panels are in the correct spot, otherwise you may be robbing yourself of some free energy.

Tip: Going green means many things, including saving energy in your home. One of the easiest and best money-saving ideas is to insulate your attic.

Make sure you will have enough energy during the winter. The winter does not give you as much sun. In addition, the sunlight you actually receive during the day is not as strong as it is during the summer since you are further from the sun in the winter.

Don’t be pushy about it, but talk to your neighbors about converting to solar energy. Perhaps telling them how much money you saved will convince them to switch to solar energy as well. Soon you may have your whole neighborhood reducing its carbon footprint.

Using these easy tips will make sure your solar energy equipment will work to its fullest potential. In the future you should be able to save a lot of money by planning things out before you decide to spend a lot on equipment.

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Why Would You Want To Use Solar Energy?

As gas and electric prices soar, solar energy becomes more and more interesting as a source of power. One way for you to finally cut costs is to put solar panels in your home, or, if you can’t afford to do that, get smaller solar panels for around the house. Here are some compelling reasons for you to use solar energy.

You pay less money. That is the biggest bottom line with solar energy. You may have heard that it costs a lot for you to install solar panels, and it does, but the truth is that after that, you don’t have to pay anything anymore. To see how much of a difference this would make in your life, calculate how much money you paid the electric company last year. Then multiply that by 5 years, then multiply it by 10 years. That is how much money you will save when you no longer have to pay the electric company for your power.

Tip: Contact your local utility company to see if purchasing energy from renewable sources is an option for you. Buying green energy directly from a power company is one of the easiest ways to go green with your energy use, without having to invest in any major alterations to your home.

Not only can you save money, you can also make money. You can sell the electric company your excess power. Solar panels store excess energy in the case of storms and other inclement weather. You can sell this energy back to your old electric company. Perhaps you can make back all the money you paid them over the years!

You can live anywhere and get solar energy, even during storms and power outages. As mentioned, solar panels store energy, so even when your neighbors’ electricity has gone out, yours will still be on and working. That can be a big relief since electricity can fail at the drop of a hat. You can also get power if you live in a desolate area. Even where power cables don’t go, the sun does. You can always have sunlight and power.

Tip: Use the power of the sun to help you heat your home. By installing large windows or glass patio doors on the south side of your home, you can catch the morning sun.

Sunlight is natural and doesn’t harm you or the environment. There are no chemical byproducts, no harmful toxins and no injuries at the plant. Sunlight is peaceful, clean, and renewable. The sun will not go out of business, be bought out, or raise its prices. The sun will not threaten you with disconnection notices if you cannot pay your bill. And of course, there is no bill!

You even have the option of building your own solar panels. It is not necessarily suggested for the novice builder, but if you know what you are doing, you can drive down your costs even more and simply pay for materials so that you can use the power of the sun to power whatever you wish.

Lastly solar power is something you can be proud of. This is something you can share with your family and friends. And when they see how well it’s working for you, they can think about getting it for their own homes.

Now that you’ve read this article, you have some really great reasons to use solar energy. Energy is costing more and more money as time goes on, and it’s important for you to get serious about whether you want to keep paying more and more, or whether you want to finally stop paying at all. Think of how you can help the planet and save yourself some money by using solar energy.

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Steps To Take Prior To Going Solar

If you care about the environment, or just how many dollars you are spending on your electric utility bill, you might be considering going solar at home. Installing technology to harness the power of the sun seems ideal, since you can theoretically draw free power every day the sun is out, but you need to take some preemptive steps to make the best of the situation before tearing out your whole roof. Keep reading into the following paragraphs for more.

Find out whether or not your local utility company is willing to buy power back from you. It can take some work and mindful lifestyle to get your home to a place where you are actually generating enough juice to have surplus you can sell off, but if that is an economic possibility where you live, it is worth shooting for. Why just save money when you can make money?

Tip: Especially in extremely warm climates, it is important to do as much as you can to save on cooling costs. One thing you can do is to use trees and bushes to shade your home, and this in conjunction with other strategies will save you much on energy consumption and costs.

Consider your latitude and local horizon. You cannot just point solar panels at the sky and expect to be set. In the northern half of the world, you have to point your panels in a southerly general direction, but the horizontal angle has to be 15 degrees plus your geographic latitude. There are calculators online that can help you with this determination. Find that angle in your yard and look for obstructions. Are there trees, buildings or mountains in the way during parts of the day?

Compose a list of all your electric appliances, and also write down their hourly power usage. Any specialist you consult with about solar installation who knows what he is doing is going to need this information. In many cases, going full solar is not always possible, but you can go partially for particular appliances. Also, you might be able to squeeze in full solar power by only using combinations of appliances at one time, but never all of them at once.

Tip: Opt for rechargeable over disposable batteries. The debate on using disposable batteries or rechargeable batteries has long been a heavy conversation.

Keep in mind that your panels are going to have to stay clean. Any debris or dirt on them is going to reduce their effectiveness. Can you afford a roof cleaning once a month? Are you willing to do it yourself?

Do your power calculations based on winter numbers rather than summer. Your winter season likely has half the total hours of light than the warmer months do. If you do not account for your minimums here, you will have to draw off the local grid or a backup source for power. The positive side of this is that if you are prepared for solar self-sufficiency in the winter, you will have lots of power in the summer for air conditioning, and perhaps to feed into the grid.

Tip: Think small. If you are unable to use alternative energy for your entire house, start with just one room.

Do whatever you can to make your home consume a minimal amount of power before you go solar. This can range from small steps like using energy-efficient light bulbs to removing your clothes dryer in favor of a clothesline in the backyard. The more energy efficient your home is prior to going solar, the more you can save on your solar installation.

Going solar in the home is a wonderful way to support the environment and save money, but there are steps you should take before you start pulling up roof shingles. Apply all the ideas within this article to make the most of this potential investment.

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Try To Lower Your Energy Use To Get The Most From Your Solar Generation

Switching over to solar energy can be one of the best ways to cut down your dependence on the more traditional nonrenewable sources of energy. However, if you do not conserve your solar power usage in your home, then you are not truly maximizing your new source of energy. If you are looking to maximize your solar energy usage, then you should try to cut down your energy usage in your home to begin to see a major difference in your energy bills each month.

First off, you need to research your energy company to get a thorough understanding of how they bill your each month for energy. Only after you have a complete understanding of how your company charges for energy will you be able to maximize your solar power adventure. Knowledge is power in the world of solar energy consumption.

Tip: If you are replacing light bulbs in your house, make sure that you replace them with compact fluorescent lights (CFLs). These bulbs use a fraction of the electricity that traditional incandescent bulbs use, and they emit just as much light.

Try to get an understanding of your past energy consumption. If you begin to study how you use your power, you will begin to see different ways that you can lower your total energy consumption, allowing you to maximize your solar energy usage.

To begin to limit your energy usage, you should understand how the seasons are going to affect your energy consumption totals throughout the year. You want to have a thorough understanding of all the different factors that can affect your energy consumption so that you can understand exactly how you can minimize your energy usage throughout the year.

Tip: Electric vehicles are a great investment when it comes to green technology and helping the environment. Even though they can cost thousands of dollars more than regular vehicles of the same type the benefits in the end are much more rewarding.

If you are going to get the most from solar energy, then you are going to need to research the different machines in your home so that you can understand where you can cut down. Certain machines in your home can suck up a lot of energy, which will cause your bills to sky rocket. If you directly target these devices, then you will be able to truly get the most from your solar endeavors.

If you are going to maximize the usage of your solar energy, then you should research into different home improvements that you can undertake to lower your total energy consumption drastically. You can try putting new insulation in your roof or install new energy efficient windows to lower your energy consumption.

Tip: You can save a lot of energy simply by investing in a tube of caulk and walking around the interior and exterior of your home, sealing any visible cracks or holes. Windy days are the best time to seek out less visible leaks, as you are more likely to hear or feel them.

Try to cut your daily energy usage through simple daily activities. Keep lights off when you are not in the room. Shut off the television when you are not watching. Make sure you shut down your computer and set a sleep timer on your television so it does not run all night. These are just some of the simple tactics that you can begin to implement on a daily basis to begin to cut down your daily power consumption in no time at all.

Cutting down the amount of energy that you use each day can really make your solar power go a long way. You will see your bills go down and truly experience the advantage of your renewable energy source.

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Supporting Businesses That Use Solar Energy

If you’re a consumer who is committed to the environment consider researching your favorite businesses and making purchases at places that support solar energy. Use the suggestions below to help you choose businesses that reflect your support of solar energy.

When you’re researching companies you should look for company-generated information about how the company incorporates solar energy into its business model which is readily available since it makes companies look good to consumers.

Tip: If you are planning to go greener, you should consider fixing any taps that are leaking. Doing this will decrease the amount of water you use, and as a result, you will have more hot water in your home.

In order to distinguish between corporate green energy adaptations companies make because they’re required to and those they choose to make because of a commitment to green energy, look for a company’s required disclosure about whether their solar energy is part of mandatory compliance or part of a voluntary commitment to solar.

Use your own understanding including features of solar energy that have prevented you from purchasing solar energy to determine why the companies are able to do so in order to calculate whether the cost of solar energy is likely being passed on to customers.

Tip: To help lessen the amount of energy used in your home, consider purchasing a new energy-efficient water heater. Although it will probably cost you more at first than a regular water heater, the savings you will get from energy will continue over the lifetime of the appliance.

Incorporating solar energy remains an expensive proposition so that you’ll want to understand whether companies have access to initiatives that aren’t available to ordinary consumers or whether they’ve made changes based on corporate policies supporting solar energy in spite of costs.

Solar energy is likely the source of less than half the energy usage of a particular company so that you should still put your own purchasing priorities first. As in the case of most of your purchases, your own commitment to supporting businesses that use solar power does not mean you shouldn’t pay attention to your own needs and financial constraints.

Tip: If you are seeking to save energy, try not to drive too fast. When a person drives fast, they use too much gasoline, which in turn, wastes energy.

You can find lists of companies using solar energy to meet their energy requirements on the Environmental Protection Agency website. If your commitment is to all kinds of green energy you will find some businesses that are using both solar and wind energy to meet 100 percent of their power needs.

Separate out marketing tactics from real benefits when you’re weighing the importance of patronizing businesses that use solar energy. You can use the EPA website to determine the advertised benefits of using solar energy that are describe for businesses which includes the positive impact it will have on you, the consumer.

Tip: Those looking to save energy and live a greener life may want to consider reducing the amount of lighting in their house. Ask yourself if you really need four lamps in a single room, or read with a book light rather than using your rooms lighting at night.

Consider whether your support of a business that uses solar energy is the best way you can accelerate the more widespread adoption of solar energy or whether more direct efforts such as purchasing stock from companies that are connected with solar energy, contributing to charities that work to install solar energy panels or volunteering with a solar energy non-profit that works to influence solar energy policy is a more meaningful way for you to support your commitment to solar energy.

Your commitment to a green lifestyle is likely to include support of solar energy and its use by business. Use the suggestions above to determine whether patronizing businesses that incorporate a solar energy policy is a way you might support the use of solar energy.

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How To Utilize Solar Energy Outside Your Home

Solar energy is a wonderful and innovative strategy for reducing your energy costs. Most people reduce solar energy to uses within their own home. However, solar energy can be used outside the home as well in your yard. Continue reading for some helpful tips on how to utilize solar energy outside your home.

Do you have land and cattle? Do you have a purpose for an electric fence? Maybe you already have an existing electric fence. As big as they are and as much as they’re needed, solar energy can greatly reduce your costs. Consider building a solar electric fence that will last a long time and will use the renewable energy resource costing you “nothing.”

Tip: Keep your fridge and freezer closed as often as possible. Refrigeration consumes about a third of your households total energy and constantly leaving your fridge and freezer open can increase the energy needed by up to 25%.

Solar outdoor lighting is another thing that is starting to catch on big time. Many people light up their sidewalks, porches, decks, and more. You can use solar lighting for all of the above, and it’s a great way to save even more money on energy costs with the use of solar energy. Get creative, and solar outdoor lighting is also very decorative. You can get all different types, and since it is solar powered, you can afford to get and operate more than you would have otherwise.

You can also get a solar water pump in order to save on your energy bill. This is something that if you have it, it runs pretty continuously. With solar energy, you’re eliminating the cost of having to do that. Consider getting a solar water pump to complement your goals for outdoor solar energy usage.

Tip: Are you still using oil heat? You could switch to a greener solution without replacing your furnace. Find a qualified technician to inspect your system and make sure you can switch to a biofuel.

Thinking about getting a fountain in your backyard? Maybe you already have a fountain or even more than one? Fountains sound and look beautiful, but again, they are something else that runs continuously. Installing a solar powered fountain can eliminate the cost of that continuous running. You will be overjoyed at the savings, and the view of your fountain and trickling water sound will mean much more.

Want to talk an even larger item than a fountain? How about installing that solar powered pool! Think about the energy savings cost this could provide to you and your family. This is a wonderful way to make a pool more affordable. Enjoy your pool more as you make it more affordable to own.

Tip: To help you improve the green energy efficiency of your home, consider installing solar panels in your home. Solar panels are a good source of renewable energy and can be installed at a relatively low cost.

It doesn’t stop there. How about getting that outdoor solar powered oven? Think about cooking at no additional cost. What a wonderful way to accessorize your outdoor solar powered devices, and think about showing it off to the neighbors.

Solar energy is something you can utilize to save you much money over time. While many people think of indoors, its uses extend to the outdoors as well. Remember you’re helping the environment, and you’re saving yourself tons of money over a period of time. So get into the craze of a solar powered outdoor setting, and enjoy yourself as you make the improvements. Remember the tips you’ve read here as you bring solar power to your outdoor setting.

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