In the summer of 2017, I moved into a brand new house with my family. It’s beautiful, had amazing potential, and, most importantly, it was totally free! The best part was that we used passive solar energy (sunlight) to heat it in the winter and cool it in the summer. So, although we weren’t able to produce our own solar power just yet, we were already starting to benefit from green energy.
When the real estate agent told me the solar coefficient (amount of energy generated relative to the sun’s energy consumed) of the roof, I felt relieved. Not only did it feel like a good omen, but it also meant the house would be energy-efficient and cost-effective to run.
I remember thinking to myself, “How cool would it be to live in a house where the heating and cooling are taken care of by the sun?”
Little did I know that the answer was a whole lot cooler than I could have imagined. In this article, I’ll tell you exactly how we were able to make our new home so eco-friendly and energy-efficient.
Passive Solar Energy
The key to making our new house more eco-friendly and cost-effective was the use of passive solar energy. In the summer, the sun is our most powerful ally, heating up the air and providing us with plenty of solar energy. In the winter, it is our enemy, chilling the air and draining our resources. So, in order to make the most of it, we had to fight back by using as much sun heat as possible during the day and store it in our attic, where it would provide us with free heat for all our space heating needs during the winter months. This was made possible by the use of solar-energy-harvesting technology (rooftop collectors) that were integrated into the design of our house.
This system collects the sun’s energy and transfers it to fluid (typically water), which is then used to heat our home. The system is very efficient and allows for a smooth flow of energy from the sun into our home, unlike conventional systems (i.e., solar-energy-conversion devices) that have an intermittency problem (i.e., the sun isn’t always shining and the solar panels aren’t always effective in converting sunlight into power).
Active Solar Energy
Although we made use of a lot of passive solar energy in our new house, we still needed a way to generate our own power. Luckily, we found an old-school way that still works like a charm: active solar energy. Specifically, we used solar hot-tubs (also called solar pools or solar spas) to generate electricity, which in turn, charged up our house batteries. This method is more traditional (and less efficient than rooftop solar technology) and works like this:
During the day, the sun’s rays are beamed onto the solar hot-tub, heating up the water inside. Once the water reaches a certain temperature (usually around 83 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit), it becomes able to hold more heat and provide more energy. This is when you should start feeling the warmth inside your hot-tub, thanking the Sun for its generous rays! Once the water gets too hot, it starts losing its capacity to heat your home, which is why it’s important to check in on it frequently and add more ice or cold water as needed. Keeping the proper temperature of your water is essential for maintaining the efficiency of your tub. Luckily for us, our old hot-tub still worked perfectly, so we were able to continue using it even after we fitted it with an inverter to produce electricity (which was quite the endeavor).
This is why it’s important to invest in quality products that last for years and don’t require constant maintenance. The last thing you want to do is waste your precious energy fixing things that just need to be replaced.
The Benefits Of Going Green
Going green is always a good idea, but it can have some truly amazing benefits. Not only will you cut down on your home’s energy consumption (and thus save money), but you will also create a healthier home environment for you and your family. Some of the benefits of going green include:
- Improved indoor air quality
- Reduced home heating costs
- Reduced cooling costs
- Reduced water consumption
- Protected against extreme temperatures
- Increased safety and security
- Saving money
Now, it might not seem like these benefits are worth the extra work it takes to go green, but you should remember that every little bit helps. Especially when you’re trying to save money and the environment at the same time.
An Easy Guide To Going Green
If you want to go green and you’re not quite sure where to start, here are some simple tips that should get you there faster than you know it!