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With simple instructions available on how to convert to homemade wind power or DIY solar panels for as little as $200, many people are taking the alternative energy more seriously. When choosing to take on a DIY conversion project the first question most people ask is will one windmill or one large solar panel be enough?
There are too many factors involved here to answer that question for you. But one way to start is to ensure your home is efficient in the first place. In this article we will walk you through some steps that will help you reduce your energy consumption before you start converting your home.
Reducing Your Energy Needs
One often overlooked step in converting a home to green power is reducing your energy needs in the first place. The average home uses inefficient lighting, power hungry appliances, and poor heating/cooling solutions. An important step to reducing your energy needs is to look at the inefficiencies in your current system.
1. Replacing old incandescent bulbs with fluorescents or led bulbs will cut your power consumption from light in half.
2. Replacing old, inefficient, appliances may reduce your energy bills by as much as 30% by itself.
You should also look at your current heating/cooling solutions. For example an electric hot water heater could potentially be replaced by a solar water heater. Maybe that inefficient air conditioner can be replaced with a more efficient heat exchanger.
If you need help choosing more efficient appliances, an excellent resource for this is put out by the Canadian government: http://oee.nrcan.gc.ca/EnerGuide/home.cfm. It’s called Energuide, and it covers everything power consumption of home appliance to energy requirements of large commercial air conditioners.
Spend some time looking through that guide and calculating how much you can reduce your power consumption in different areas of your home. By simply taking a look at everything in your home that consumes energy, you will find ways to reduce your energy needs before you start.
You don’t necessarily have to go all out and spend $10,000 replacing everything – but things as simple as changing your lighting will reduce your energy needs before you start your conversion project.