7 Unique Ways to Reduce Your Energy Costs With Renewable Systems

As energy costs continue to rise, more and more homeowners are looking for ways to reduce their energy bills. Renewable energy systems provide a unique opportunity to generate your own power and significantly cut your costs. Here are 7 unique ways to reduce your energy costs with renewable systems:

1. Install Solar Panels

Installing solar panels on your roof is one of the most popular ways to harness renewable energy. Solar panels convert sunlight into electricity that you can use to power your home. With net metering, any excess electricity you generate is exported back to the grid and you get credited for it.

The upfront cost of solar panels can seem high, but tax credits, incentives, and rapidly declining costs make solar a smart long-term investment. Once your system is installed, sunlight is free so you'll drastically cut your electric bill.

2. Try Solar Thermal Systems

Solar thermal systems, also known as solar hot water, use roof-mounted collectors to harvest heat from the sun. This thermal energy can then heat the water in your home, reducing your reliance on gas or electric water heaters.

On sunny days, you can get 50-80% of your hot water from the sun. Solar thermal systems are simple, reliable, and work even in cold climates. The payback period is shorter than most other renewable systems.

3. Install a Geoexchange System

Geoexchange systems use underground loops filled with water and antifreeze to tap into the stable temperatures found just below the Earth's surface. This enables extremely energy efficient heating and cooling.

In winter, warmth is absorbed from the ground and concentrated to heat your home through a standard ductwork system. In summer, your home's heat is rejected back into the cooler earth. Geoexchange runs on electricity but uses far less than conventional systems.

4. Harness the Power of Wind

If you live in a windy area, small wind turbines can be installed on your property to generate emissions-free electricity. Turbines over 65 feet tall generally produce the most power.

Before purchasing a turbine, have a wind resource assessment done to determine your site's wind speeds and energy potential. Many local and state incentives are available to reduce the upfront cost of wind systems. The electricity generated will slash your utility bills.

5. Try a Micro-Hydro System

A micro-hydro system uses a free-flowing stream or river's kinetic energy to produce electricity. A small turbine is installed in the waterway and connected to your home's electrical system.

Micro-hydro only works on sites with the right water flow and head height. Make sure you obtain all required permits before installing a system. While upfront costs are high, once installed hydro provides constant renewable electricity for decades.

6. Install a Geothermal Heat Pump System

Geothermal heat pumps tap into subsurface temperatures to provide extremely efficient heating and cooling. Unlike geoexchange systems, geothermal pumps use a refrigerant-based closed loop that requires special compressors and heat exchangers.

While geothermal systems are more expensive to install, the long-term energy savings generally outweigh the costs. They also provide constant, renewable temperature control without the Sun or wind requirements of other technologies.

7. Invest in a Small Biomass or Biogas System

Converting waste organic matter into energy can be achieved on a small scale through biomass (solid fuel) or biogas (methane) systems. These systems provide an eco-friendly way to dispose of household, crop, or animal waste.

Small-scale biomass involves burning pellets made from compressed organic waste in high-efficiency wood stoves. Biogas captures naturally occurring methane from decomposing waste which can be used for cooking, electricity generation, and heating needs.

Whether you want to fully power your home with renewables or simply reduce your energy costs, these 7 options provide a great starting point. The optimal system depends on your specific needs, budget, and location. With various incentives and advancing technology, now is the time to explore your renewable energy possibilities.