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.
||Solar Power and Solar Heating
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
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
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 the ground.
||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 Floor Heat
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 a minimum.
||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
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 geothermal systems.
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 important ways:
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 cheapest.
||Pellet and Corn Stoves
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