Wind-Powered Heat Pros and Cons

July 20, 2017 , In: Home Improvement, Indoors , With: No Comments
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We’re coming to the end of our energy series! So far, we’ve covered CoalOilGas, and Solar. Let me know what you think of this article & the series overall in the comments below!


Despite governmental changes and lower natural gas prices, renewable energy use continues to rise. Just this past March, for the first time in history, wind and solar energy generated 10 percent of the total monthly electricity in the United States. So that brings the question, how fast will wind-powered heat use rise?

Surprisingly, windmills produce 8 of that 10 percent. That’s right, for utilities and large-scale use, wind is actually outpacing solar.

This seems unexpected, since solar dominates residential installations. But it makes sense when you consider the use of wind turbines has been growing by 25 percent per year over the past decade.

And though this growth may slow at the municipal level due to changing government initiatives, U.S. citizens are still committed to using clean energy sources. In fact, “63 percent [of U.S. residential consumers] are very concerned about climate change and their personal carbon footprints,” according to a 2017 Deloitte Resources Study. And of those, 25 percent intend to use wind power.

If, like them, you’re in the market to reduce your heating bill, as well as lower your energy consumption, you may be asking yourself this:

wind-powered heat

How Can I Use Wind Energy to Heat My Home?

While there’s not yet an efficient way to turn wind power directly into heat for your home, it is possible to use small wind systems to produce a portion of your electricity — and therefore offset your electric bill —    not just during the winter months, but all year long.

The caveats?

Well, there are a couple, and to understand them, you first need to understand how wind energy works.

How Wind Energy Works for Individual Use

A small wind system consists of a wind turbine — the part that looks like an airplane’s propellers — which is attached to a tower that is 80 feet tall on average for home installations. The height of the tower allows the turbine to take advantage of the faster wind speeds at higher elevations.

The turbine’s blades spin at about 18 rotations per minute as the wind blows. This turns a rotor shaft attached to a gear box that increases the speed of the rotor to 1,800 rotations per minute. The attached generator then produces clean electricity. This electricity is then fed into the house through the breaker panel.

In this application, the home is served by both the electrical grid and the wind system. That way, you’ll still have electricity on low-wind days and purchase less power from the utility on high-wind days.

For this type of small wind system to work properly, however, you must be install it in a windy area with plenty of open space to ensure nothing impedes the wind flow into the turbine. And by windy area, I mean an area that averages winds of 13 miles an hour. Otherwise, the windmill will be ineffective.

So, basically, you need a lot of space and a lot of wind to successfully use a wind system.

For most urban homes, this means wind power is not a good option. But if you live in a windy, rural area, a small wind system can be very effective. In the right setting, a wind turbine could reduce your utility bills by as much as 90 percent. It can also lessen the pollution associated with normal electric use.

Pros and Cons of Wind Energy

Now that you know the caveats of installing a residential wind system, here are some pros and cons:

Pros:

  • No carbon dioxide: Wind turbines are totally green and do not emit CO2 during their use.
  • Renewable: Unlike fossil fuels, wind is not going to be used up.
  • Domestic energy source: There’s no need to import wind, it’s already here.
  • Decreasing cost as more are used: Since 1980, the price to install wind turbines has fallen by 80 percent, and continues to drop.
  • Leasing options: Some areas have the option to lease equipment, which eliminates huge upfront costs and delegates the responsibility of maintenance to someone else.
  • Low operating costs: After installation, there’s minimal maintenance and no fuel costs.
  • Energy savings: In ideal conditions, wind energy can save you up to 90 percent on your electric bill.

Cons:

  • Best suited for rural areas: Most urban areas don’t have enough open space or wind speeds for small wind systems to produce enough energy to pay for themselves.
  • Fluctuates: Wind is sporadic, even in the windiest places, and usually isn’t sufficient to power an entire home on its own.
  • High upfront costs: Though installation prices are falling, it can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000 for a small wind system installation.
  • Local wildlife risk: Birds and bats can fall victim to the turbine’s propeller blades.
  • Noisy: Just like a big fan, wind turbines can create quite a bit of noise.
  • Aesthetics: Some people consider wind turbines an eyesore, so installing one could lower property values.
  • Poorly regulated sales: In the past, it’s been very easy to get taken by smooth-talking turbine salesmen, and you still must be careful to do your due diligence in order to get a good-quality windmill. Before you buy, make sure to check that your turbine is certified.  

Wind-powered heat and energy isn’t ideal for everyone. But under the right circumstances, it can help lessen your utility bill and make your carbon footprint significantly smaller.

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Wind Heat Pros and Cons
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Wind Heat Pros and Cons
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Despite governmental changes and lower natural gas prices, renewable energy use continues to rise. Here's what you need to know about wind-powered heat.
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Your Wild Home
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Megan

Editor at Your Wild Home
Hey! I'm Megan. I am a dog-lover and enjoy exploring the outdoors. Your Wild Home covers a lot of topics, including (but not limited to) home improvement, home decor, construction, real estate, and sustainability. I enjoy writing in third-person and I am addicted to chocolate, coffee, and terrible puns. Learn more on my About Me page!
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