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January 11, 2022

A Homeowner's Guide to Renewable Energy Transition

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5 MIN. READ

Sustainability is not just about governments and corporations. Regular homeowners are increasingly making decisions that help reduce carbon emissions and make the world a greener place. Luckily, the average person can do a lot to make their home more sustainable with electrification and renewable energy.

Home renewable energy options

Renewable energy is the creation of energy from natural sources that can be replenished without major harm or complications to the surrounding environment. When we speak of renewable energy, solar power comes to mind. But it also includes wind power, hydropower and biomass fuels.

Reducing energy costs is a common concern among homeowners. Upgrading to energy-efficient appliances, LED lighting and smart home systems are a few ways to bring down costs.

The increasing paradigm shift also focuses on renewable energy options for homeowners. This movement is in part driven by concerns about climate change and environmental issues that seem to be getting worse. It’s also driven by data that shows renewable energy sources can save money over the long haul. We will examine a few renewable energy options that are becoming more popular.

Solar

Rooflines across America are increasingly getting topped with solar panels. They are not as rare as they were 10 years ago. Historically, the initial investment in solar panel installation was cost-prohibitive, but as pricing has come down and government tax incentives have lived on, it is becoming more achievable for average homeowners.

The benefits of solar include a very small or nonexistent electrical the ability to sell surplus energy back to the utility company (in some cases) as well as battery storage. Solar panels are also a great selling feature of homes that are available or coming on the market.

Solar arrays do not require significant maintenance and are becoming more aesthetically pleasing, and with easy financing options, incentives and payback times, they are becoming more attainable.

Battery banks (storage)

Usually paired with solar arrays, battery banks are an in-home feature that helps support an overall sustainable energy initiative. The power generated by the solar panels is transferred to battery banks and stored for future use. So when the sun is not shining or during dark hours, the battery banks take over to supply energy to the home.

Homeowners can leverage these types of systems to go completely off-grid or to give themselves greater peace of mind when there are power outages or natural disasters.

Wind and hydroelectric options for homes

Less common but still viable options include wind turbines and hydroelectric power for residential homes. Depending on where you live, wind power may be a good choice. Hydropower is also an option, as flowing water is a very efficient way to generate power. Coal-producing plants are gradually being phased out, and new renewable power plants are becoming more prominent.

As large portions of the world are welcoming the idea of renewable energy, both the public and private sectors are pushing to meet the demand for this eco-friendly energy. The idea that homeowners can save money and potentially save the environment is a big draw.

Electrifying your home

What does it mean to electrify your home? Here are a few ideas to make your house more sustainable:

Upgrade your appliances

Some appliances in your home run on natural gas. For example, your kitchen stove may have blue burner flames fueled by natural gas. While some homeowners prefer gas stoves, they are becoming less popular because of the hazard that natural gas poses in residential homes.

For example, reports of explosions related to natural gas appear in the news almost daily. Stoves are not the only culprit, as many furnaces and water heaters use natural gas and open flames to heat water and air in homes.

Because of this, homeowners are starting to explore replacing their natural gas appliances with electric appliances.

Transition to EVs from regular cars

Another positive trend is the transition from internal combustion engines to electric vehicles. This movement is gaining speed, and many of the big automakers have made commitments to go completely electric within the next several years.

EVs are becoming less rare and the tipping point is near. They require less maintenance, are quiet, are more cost-effective to own and do not burn carbon, which has an adverse effect on the environment.

Homeowners who purchase EVs are now in the market to get charging stations installed in their homes. This offers a convenient and safe way to keep their electric vehicles fully charged. Homeowners with charging stations installed at home will have less range anxiety when they are on the road since they know they have a secure place to conveniently charge.

Home electrification is a great way to commit to renewable energy sources, and it can help households run efficiently and safely, all while helping the environment. However, some are concerned about the cost of going all-electric and how quickly out-of-pocket costs and future costs will add up.

Costs and savings to expect

There will of course be up-front costs when homeowners upgrade appliances, install solar panels and move toward renewable energy. But these costs are typically offset by the much lower cost of running a household with renewable energy.

Climate matters

Those living in colder climates can expect heating costs to rise in the winter, and homes in warmer climates cost more to cool in the summer. A recent study compared energy costs in homes with gas appliances and all-electric homes.

The study found that, in general, homes in colder climates consumed more energy than those in moderate or warmer climates. Electric homes in colder climates may cost slightly more to run in winter, but offer the benefits of being eco-friendly, safer and eligible for potential incentives or tax credits.

Depending on where homeowners are, going electric could be a great way to stay eco-friendly and save money on recurring energy costs. Homeowners will need to evaluate their circumstances to see what makes sense for them.

Qmerit can help

Qmerit can help you make the transition to renewable energy by connecting you with qualified electrical contractors in your area. Qmerit has a nationwide network of professionals who can install an @Home EV charging station in your home and introduce you to the latest green technology for your renewable energy future.

Reach out today for more info.

Lowry Stoops President, Qmerit Network