Home Improvement With Alternative Energy Heating
As with any other well designed major home improvement, an alternate heating or
energy system will add value to your home. For every $1 in annual energy savings
you'll add an average of $10 to the value of your home.
||The versatile solar panel can be configured to harness
solar energy for a variety of purposes.
Photovoltaic (PV) panels or solar roof shingles are used to
convert the sun's rays into electricity. A professionally
installed solar PV system is now estimated at $5 per watt,
or $9,500 for a typical 2kW system. Plus, home owners
||are still eligible for the 30% federal tax credit on the installed price until 2016.
Solar panels for hot water systems are 2 to 3 times more efficient than solar PV. A
solar hot water system can be sized for domestic hot water only, or a combination hot
water/radiant heating system to satisfy the majority of your home's heating needs.
||Despite the market downturn, the number of small wind
system installations increased by 10,000 units in 2012.
According to Ron Stimmel, the small wind advocate at the
American Wind Energy Association,"It all depends on your
wind resource to get a decent payback. You need a little bit
of land so you're not talking cities, but mostly suburban
and rural locations"
Many municipalities have height limitations on structures but turbines generally
perform well when they are 30 feet above any structures in a 500-foot radius.
In urban and suburban locations where physical limitations and zoning laws prevent
the installation of full fledged wind energy systems homeowners have turned their
attention to rooftop micro wind systems and home made wind power kits.
||Probably the most mysterious and least understood of the
alternative heating and cooling options is geothermal.
Simply put, a geothermal system extracts stored heat from
beneath the earth's surface and transfers it to your home
for winter heating - then reverses the process for cooling by
removing the heat from your home and "sinking" it back into
At the heart of every geothermal system is the ground source heat pump. This type of
heat pump has an average efficiency of 300% which is 3 to 4 times more fuel efficient
than a conventional home furnace.
The extraordinary efficiency of a geothermal system offers a payback period of only 5
to 6 years if you currently heat with oil.
||Radiant heat differs from forced hot air in that it heats
objects (flooring, furniture, etc.) instead of the air.
This method takes longer to bring a room up to
temperature but provides soothing, even, long lasting heat
that eliminates cold spots and keeps dust and allergens to
||(Click to enlarge)
Today's radiant heating systems employ 95% efficient condensing boilers to heat the
water distributed via plastic tubing throughout the flooring. Installation methods
include embedding the tubing in cement or pre-grooved modular panels; or
suspending the tubing under the sub-floor between the floor joists.
The term alternative fuel describes wood, wood pellets, corn, wheat, rye and other
biomass materials as well as solar energy, wind power, and water for micro-hydro or
No matter which method of alternate heating or power you choose, they all benefit to
some degree from the energy efficiency tax credits. Solar, wind, and geothermal
systems all qualify for a generous 30% tax credit - including the cost of installation.
In addition to the 30% Federal tax credit, many state and local agencies offer
incentives or rebates with the potential to increase your total savings by 20% or more.
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When you improve your home with alternative energy heating you will benefit in three
1. Save thousands of dollars in heating and energy costs for years to come.
2. Improve the value of your home.
3. Get peace of mind from more predictable fuel and energy costs.
The key to a successful transition from fossil fuels to renewable resources is
determining which alternative fuel is most abundant where you live, and therefore the
||Wood pellet and corn stoves caught fire as home heating
alternatives in 2004 when the price of oil crossed the $40 per
barrel threshold and have enjoyed rising popularity ever since.
During this time hundreds of thousands of pellet burning
stoves were sold displacing millions of gallons of fossil fuel.
Wood pellet stoves remain a reliable home heating alternative
due to the relatively stable price of wood pellets and the
||availability of pellet stoves for as little as $1,300.
Depending on the cost of fuel oil, a pellet stove could pay for itself in only 2 to 3 years