All households are reliant on energy for electricity and heating, to at least some extent, most of which comes from fossil fuels, such as natural gas, oil and coal. While these may be viable options right now, they may not always be, since they are a finite resource and demand is growing. Because of the problems associated with fossil fuels, many people are beginning to turn toward renewable energy for their homes.
Right now: traditional energy sources
Most people are concerned about the costs associated with heating their home as well as the environmental impact their choices may have. Currently, most home energy is sourced from oil, natural gas, electricity or propane. The prices and availability of these options often vary from region to region.
Heating oil is, by far, the most common method of heating one’s home and it has become one of the most expensive solutions available, thanks to rising oil prices. The cost of heating oil is directly related to world events, which can have quite an impact on the average consumer’s wallet. Consumers can often find a deal when shopping around for energy providers, however, propane is less expensive than heating oil and is a cleaner fuel; many believe it to also be safer.
Natural gas is another traditional residential energy source and one that is growing in popularity, perhaps because it is now becoming the most affordable. Almost half of all homes in the United States use natural gas as their primary heating source.
The future: renewable energy
Everyone is free to choose where their energy comes from, which means that choosing green energy from renewable resources, which do less harm to the environment, is becoming a more popular choice. The two most popular and most accessible energy options for residential energy are solar panels and wind turbines.
Solar panels have been around for decades, but they have only recently begun to receive the recognition they deserve. Usually installed on the roof, they actually convert light energy from the sun into electricity, therefore reducing one’s carbon footprint and energy costs. The price for solar panels can vary significantly, but there are some states that offer rebates to help cover that expense. In regions where there is lots of sunlight; for example, Hawaii, Florida, Arizona and New Jersey, a solar panel system will pay for itself in just a few years.
Wind power is another great renewable resource that is very inexpensive yet effective, which is why it is gaining so much popularity across the globe. Wind turbines harness the wind and convert it into energy. Though typically erected in remote areas where there is lots of wind, smaller-scale turbines can be installed on individual properties to generate power for the home. Wind turbines cost a little more than solar panels to install, but like their solar counterparts there are tax rebates and credits available.
The focus of residential energy has been shifting, especially since an increasing number of consumers are concerned with both cost and energy efficiency. This move has directly affected the energy industry’s paradigm and suppliers are now focusing on what can save their customers money, benefit the environment and still provide sufficient energy for today’s energy hungry world.