Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Become Your Own Electric God

Power Awareness Quiz - Kevin Kelly @ The Technium

This is actually a timely piece for me as I was looking up different residential energy generators last night. While a lot of solar power is still prohibitively expensive (particularly solar shingles resistant to hail damage) there are other products out there that could make an impact on your monthly power bill if managed properly. Vertical wind turbines are of keen interest for me since their design gives them a low profile while maintaining the energy generating power of much larger propeller designs. The key thing is not necessarily to convert your entire house into an electrically self-sustaining abode but merely knocking away a lot of the regular power usage so when you reach a peak usage it is barely reflected in your monthly utilities statement. A mix of solar cells and wind turbines, which produce little power but do so in a nearly continuous way, could easily handle the lighting in your house. It's just a matter of finding out what you can afford and what permits and instillations costs are. After that, you can just keep adding on new panels or turbines as you like. While the initial investment is large, the return on that investment is actually relatively short--anywhere from six to fifteen years so I've read. My parents have lived in the same house for over twenty years and my grandparents for more than fifty. So it is feasible, but figuring it out is a touch difficult.