Every month Mike and Chloe’s utility bill arrives in the mail and each time their gripe is the same, “this electric bill just gets higher and higher every month…it’s time we make some changes around here.” Then another month rolls by in which they’ve done nothing to alter their power usage and another outrageous power bill shows up. They repeat the same frustrated complaint, yet again they do nothing to make a difference and so the grunting and bill paying just repeats month after month and year after year. Sound familiar to you?
Like Mike and Chloe, millions of home owners exist in this scenario. The sad truth of the matter is that every consumer in this vicious energy cycle pays more for monthly power consumption than their parents paid for monthly mortgage payments! So what can our fictitious homeowners, Mike and Chloe, do to make any real difference in their power use and bills? Or, on a more personal level, what can you do to make a difference in yours? Well folks, there are some options:
- Option 1 – Sell everything electrical you own including your house and move into a cave. Hmmm, we’re going to need a lot more caves for this one.
- Option 2 – Wait for your city, town or block to someday form a green and clean energy co-op so they can stick it to you. This option is also known as the APBJSP (Advocates, Planners and Bureaucrats Job Security Plan).
- Option 3 – Turn your thermostat down until frost appears on your nose, disable your AC unit (sledge hammers work well for this), don’t cook, don’t wash anything including yourself, and limit your use of everything electrical to 3 minutes a day (except for your new iPad of course).
- Option 4 – Dig in and do-it-yourself. That’s right. Get off the grid by becoming a self-supplier of your own sustainable electricity.
Personally speaking, I prefer Option 4 and undoubtedly you will too. Ok, so how does one go about supplying their own sustainable electricity? Again, there are some options:
- Option A – Hire an electrical contractor who specializes in solar panel installations to convert your home to solar energy. One word comes to mind, expensive!
- Option B – Hire an electrical contractor who specializes in wind turbine installations to convert your home to wind energy. Ditto Option A.
- Option C – Design, build and install your own solar panel array or wind turbine energy system. Three words come to mind, inexpensive, challenging and rewarding!
If you have the money then by all means options A or B are excellent ways to turn your home into a clean, green snub the power company machine. However, most folks in these troubled times don’t have an extra $20-100K laying around the house to buy retail solar panels and wind turbines as well as pay high priced commercial contractors. Yes, I concede there are now a number of so-called “green” contractors who are offering green energy installment plans to homeowners who are cash strapped. Now isn’t that just a novel idea? Let’s all mortgage our rooftops or yards, pay more high interest on big loans, run up more personal dept, and when its all said and done pay more for self-supplied electricity than even the power company dares to charge. But hey, it will reduce our carbon footprints and that makes us feel good. We won’t get any sleep for figuring out how to pay next month’s installment, but we’ll be green.
Needless to say, I favor Option C. Yes it’s true. Anyone who can read and use everyday tools can become a do-it-yourself designer, builder and installer of their own solar energy and/or wind power systems. Challenging? Absolutely. In fact some may even find it more daunting than they care to consider. If that is you, please see options 1,2,3, A, or B. Rewarding? Sure is. There’s nothing in the rewards department that compares to forming a working plan, creating and installing a new system that benefits you and your family, and saving a boat load of money in the process. Inexpensive? Yes. Doing your own sustainable energy project costs pennies on a dollar compared to paying a contractor to do it for you. You can actually design, build and set up your own secondary solar or wind system for a couple hundred dollars. This system will provide partial power allowing you to reduce your on-grid power bill. For a couple thousand, or less if you’re a savvy parts shopper, you can power your entire house, garage and outdoor lighting. You’ll be green and you’ll sleep well at night.
How and where can you find the right information to start and finish your own DIY home solar energy or wind turbine project? Folks, look no further than the screen you are now staring at. That’s right, the entire internet is at your disposal and there’s a wealth of information out there waiting for you to use. Do your research, learn about solar energy and wind power, and seek well written guidance from DIY solar and wind energy experts. There are currently several good downloadable DIY green energy guides available on line which have been produced by experienced DIYers. I happen to favor two particular guides because they are written in understandable terms, have masterfully produced step-by-step videos, and offer 24/7 support to get you through any snags that may occur. If you’re truly serious about saving a lot of money by becoming a self-supplier of your own solar or wind electricity then your first step needs to be getting a great DIY energy guide. You’ll find convenient links below for my favorite guides but no matter how you approach this and any other DIY projects, always work smart and practice safety first.
Faine Morrison is a DIY home improvement enthusiast strongly bent towards saving money and going green when and wherever possible. If you enjoyed reading this article please take a moment to post a comment and share this. And, if you share the author’s penchant for DIY home improvement and sustainable energy you’ll benefit from checking out DIY Solar & Wind Systems and DIY Solar & Wind Energy, two of the do-it-yourself energy guides he recommends. Contact Author