It’s definitely time to take advantage of challenges we face today in power consumption and production. There are both passive and active approaches available for producing energy, and solar offers both. Getting energy from the sun is nothing new, but designing systems that are affordable, efficient, and aesthetically complementary to our homes are finally becoming a reality. Active solar systems (systems that collect energy from the sun with equipment like photovoltaic cells) are now designed to supplement and even replace increasingly expensive grid electricity. Panels, screens, and even roof shingles are now available that turn a normal residential roof into a home power station.
We can now sell power back to our electric providers that is worth more at peak periods than what it costs to produce. There are systems available to solar heat the water in your pool or fountains. There are solar radiant floor heating systems that fit under any standard flooring material, from tile to cork to bamboo and hardwoods. There are solar hot water heaters that keep water temperatures as hot, if not hotter, than standard electric or gas water heaters. There are even State rebates for the purchase of these systems that cut the costs by over a third.
Energy from the sun can be converted into electricity and even stored in battery systems to power faxes, computers, microwaves, TV’s, power tools, any appliance or an entire home office. Site orientation, materials chosen to use in new and renovation construction phases, and overall design choices reduce energy needs while putting the best aesthetic face forward for a home. Today there are more choices for making homes energy efficient, and more people who know how to help homeowners make it happen. It’s a good time to take advantage of them.