Go Green

Environmentally Friendly – Sustainable.

An Eco Friendly Environment.

Solar Power, Wind Turbines, Environmental Technology, is it just a fad or here forever.  What are the “Pros and Cons” of Green Initiatives and all this Earth Friendly stuff. Some people are true believers, some are skeptics with Green Energy and Green Ideas for homes and businesses.

My name is Ken Wilson, I have put together a few ideas, and information on alternative energy and Green Technologies.  I have also bought in different people and their Web Sites, to share their opinions and show you the different options you have of building and installing Solar Panels (Electricity and Water Heating), and Wind Turbines for your home.

Green Energy is an energy source that is renewable and doesn’t pollute, not all are 100% reliable 24/7, but that may change in the future with better and improved technology. Energy companies in most of the developed countries, are forced by Legislation to provide a certain amount of Electricity from Green Sources, but the Eco Friendly consumer who may like this will pay more for their Electricity.

Millions of people in the world want to go green, and learn how to be environmentally friendly, and create renewable energy that will create as least pollution as possible.  Although you could say there is a minor negative impact in the manufacture of Solar Panels and Wind Turbines, once the systems are up and running, they are eco friendly, sustainable and do not have the negative impact of Fossil Fuel (Coal) for example.

Although there are many Green Energy Sources, Solar Panels, Wind Turbines, Wave Power, Hydro-power, Geothermal and Nuclear to a certain extent, I am going to concentrate mainly on Solar Energy and Wind Turbines that can be built and installed by the DIY’r or Handy Person.

Solar Energy.

Solar Power is probably the most used of all the Environmentally Friendly and Sustainable energy sources.  Its main drawbacks have been the high initial costs of the Solar Panels and Inverters plus the cost of installation.  Over recent years with production of Panels and Inverters going into overdrive, the cost of installing Solar Panels at your home has been drastically reduced.

Although not a Green Energy you can rely on 24/7, research and development teams around the world are working on Battery and Storage Cells that can store some of the electricity that has been generated through the day, to be used at night.  The only major hurdle at the moment is the size and weight of these units if they need to be moved around.

We have installed 8 x 250 Watt Solar Panels and a 2 KW Inverter at our home recently.  The system does not cover our full power usage, but does drop our Electricity Account probably by a quarter.  We are estimating about a 4  – 5 year payback with our system.

When you do install a Solar System, you have to remember to install your Inverter as close as possible.  Solar Panels generate DC Electricity, which lose a bit of power until it gets to the Inverter to change it into AC Electricity to supply your home and appliances.

Wind Energy

Slowly and hesitantly people are moving towards building / purchasing Wind Turbines as a sustainable way of producing electricity and heading towards a green home.  With the environmental technology available to us today, anyone can even build one of these with having to be a Mechanical Engineer so to speak.

Wind Turbine

Vertical Axis Helical Turbine, designed to pick up wind from all angles.

The Quiet Revolution Wind Turbine invented by Professor Gorlov is the Helical Design with blades curved around its axis to pick up wind from all angles.

By having the curved blades, the total of the lift and dragging forces do not change  abruptly as the blades are spinning.

With this Helical Design it creates an effortless and gentle torque curve which equals minimal vibration and noise.

A big plus for this design is that with minimum vibration, this also cuts down on the structural stress of the Wind Turbine, and allows for easy starting in lower wind speeds.

There are mainly two different designs of Wind Turbines, being the Horizontal and Vertical Axis, both have their pros and cons, but the Horizontal type seems to be more widely used because of its higher efficiency.  Wind Turbines convert wind (kinetic) energy, turning the blades / vanes with a generator on the shaft, there are of course the complexities of the actual Generator and the shape and angle of the blades.

Domestic Wind Turbine Information.

Small wind turbines  for domestic use are used for micro-generation, as opposed to large commercial wind turbines, such as those found in wind farms, whether on or off shore.

These turbines may be as small as a fifty-Watt generator for boat, caravan, or miniature refrigeration unit.

A general rule of thumb calculation is the cost of a Domestic Wind Turbine is approximately $1,000.00 per KW that can be generated.  The question then to ask, is it worth it for the savings in Electricity over time or do I just embrace the project and go green.

The Design of Small Wind Turbines.

Smaller scale turbines for residential scale use are available. They are usually approximately 7 to 25 feet (2.1–7.6 m) in diameter and produce electricity at a rate of 300 to 10,000 watts at their tested wind speed. Some units have been designed to be very lightweight in their construction, e.g. 16 kilograms (35 lb), allowing sensitivity to minor wind movements and a rapid response to wind gusts typically found in urban settings and easy mounting much like a television antenna. It is claimed, and a few are certified, as being inaudible even a few feet (about a metre) under the turbine.

The majority of small wind turbines are traditional horizontal axis wind turbines, but vertical axis wind turbines are a growing type of wind turbine in the small-wind market.

The generators for small wind turbines usually are three-phase alternating current generators and the trend is to use the induction type. They are options for direct current output for battery charging and power inverters to convert the power back to AC but at constant frequency for grid connectivity. Some models utilize single-phase generators.

Dynamic braking regulates the speed by dumping excess energy, so that the turbine continues to produce electricity even in high winds. The dynamic braking resistor may be installed inside the building to provide heat (during high winds when more heat is lost by the building, while more heat is also produced by the braking resistor). The location makes low voltage (around 12 volt) distribution practical.

Small units often have direct drive generators, direct current output, lifetime bearings and use a vane to point into the wind. Larger, more costly turbines generally have geared power trains, alternating current output and are actively pointed into the wind. Direct drive generators are also used on some large wind turbines.

Installation of Small Wind Turbines.

Renewable energy, with Wind Turbines.

Check out Green Power Easy for the designs of these Vertical Axis Wind Turbines.

Turbines are often mounted on a tower to raise them above any nearby obstacles. One rule of thumb is that turbines should be at least 30 ft (9.1 m) higher than anything within 500 ft (150 m) Better locations for wind turbines are far away from large upwind obstacles. Measurements made in a boundary layer wind tunnel have indicated that significant detrimental effects associated with nearby obstacles can extend up to 80 times the obstacle’s height downwind.

However, this is an extreme case. Another approach to siting a small turbine is to use a shelter model to predict how nearby obstacles will affect local wind conditions. Models of this type are general and can be applied to any site. They are often developed based on actual wind measurements, and can estimate flow properties such as mean wind speed and turbulence levels at a potential turbine location, taking into account the size, shape, and distance to any nearby obstacles.

A small wind turbine can be installed on a roof. Installation issues then include the strength of the roof, vibration, and the turbulence caused by the roof ledge. Small-scale rooftop turbines suffer from turbulence and rarely generate significant amounts of power, especially in towns and cities.

Check out all the Environmentally Friendly Companies in the Menu Column on the right hand side.  These dedicated people will show you how to go green and be sustainable.  They will teach you how to build and install your own Solar Panels and Wind Turbines and watch your electricity bills go down and down.





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