Fortunately, there are clean, renewable alternative sources of energy that can be used to heat and cool your home.
Burning coal for energy is a major contributor to the carbon dioxide emissions in the United States. The burning of coal leads to smog, damages freshwater ecosystems, and leads to a number of health problems, especially for the young, elderly, and people with asthma.
A significant portion of that coal energy is used for heating and cooling homes. It is important to us that the spaces we live in are comfortable, but at what cost?
Passive Solar Design is One of many Alternative Sources of Energy
Passive solar involves designing a home in a way that considers its location, climate, and materials to minimize the amount of energy that is used in heating and cooling.
The goal of passive solar design is to reduce a home's energy needs as much as possible through energy-efficiency strategies such as the direction of windows and the use of insulating building materials. Then, the reduced energy load is met primarily with solar energy.
The basis for passive solar design rests on the understanding that energy efficiency is the most cost-effective strategy for reducing the energy needs of a home. When building new construction, this is achieved by choosing the appropriate site, materials, and design for your home to maximize energy efficiency.
When remodeling existing construction, this process should begin with an energy audit that determines the most cost-effective changes to make to reduce heating and cooling bills.
Solar Heating and Cooling as Alternative Sources of Energy
Different from passive solar design, solar heating and cooling relies on the sun to provide thermal energy that can heat both the space inside a home and its water. In the summer, the thermal energy is used to chill water, which is then used for cooling.
Rarely used as a stand-alone option, solar heating and cooling is used to significantly offset energy consumption with the clean, renewable solar resource.
Image via Flickr by Jeremy Levine
Geothermal energy (yet another one of the Alternative Sources of Energy) uses the stable heat of the earth to heat and cool your home to a comfortable temperature throughout the year. While air temperatures may change dramatically from one season to the next, the temperature of the earth, between four and eight feet underground, remains fairly stable.
Geothermal energy capitalizes on these stable ground temperatures with a buried system of pipes that work to transfer energy to a heat pump inside the home.
In the winter, fluid traveling through the buried pipes absorbs the earth's heat and carries it indoors, where the home's heat pump compresses it to higher temperatures. In the summer, this process is reversed. The cooler earth absorbs heat from the home and returns cooler fluid to the heat pump, helping to regulate the temperature inside the home. The process significantly decreases home energy usage and heating and cooling costs.
Choosing the Right Option
Choosing an Alternative Sources of Energy heating and cooling method for your home is an investment that will not only decrease your heating and cooling costs but improve the air quality of your home and the health of your family. To find out which option is right for you, contact Byrum Heating & AC, and start contributing to a cleaner world today.