Wind Turbine Tips

If you don't have a Wind Turbine yet and are looking into possibilities of an installation outside your home your research will soon lead to more questions than answers, but if you are determined to save money, use less energy and reduce your carbon footprint as well as becoming a little more energy independent, keep pushing forward with this green home energy project.

Are you now asking: would a small Wind Turbine provide energy which you could really turn into power for your home... and if so, how much power could you make and how much could you save.

Not many people dive straight into the world of home energy saving tips with the idea of capturing the natural energy force of air currents that swirls around us, usually the first thought is to harness the solar power of the sun, that is unless your location actually means very little sun and plenty of constant clear streams of wind.

Everyone seems concerned about their local climate change and how it may be more cloudy than sunny than in years gone by, but... and perhaps it's just me... but... don't you think that the wind is stronger and more relentless than it used to be? - great news for the future of turbines but not so good for patio candles!

OK, back to harnessing energy - perhaps you have solar panels to provide electrical energy or you may have already invested in a solar water heater and are already appreciating the energy savings you are making and want to save more, if so you will be busy researching how a home wind turbine works and where you could possibily install it to the best advantage on or around your home.

picture of a small wind turbine and turbine tower


Wind Turbine Obstacles

Not all obstacles to installation success are buildings, hills and trees...

This type of project is in it's infancy and so Building Regulation Rules for installations are still being developed depending on local area conditions - the initial reaction was negative for urban and more positive for rural positioning, but...

Things are changing and government backing encouraging local states and counties to support installations with possible installation grants or rebates means a more welcomed reception for applications.

The other big negative for small individual installations came from the utility companies themselves, and we have to accept that mini green thinking is a total turn around which forces them to lift their eyes off their own profit lines - to now look at happily absorbing small scale renewables into their total power production in order to help them meet their growing obligation to take a rising percentage of their electricity from sources that are renewable instead of just fuels.

What this means is that while in many places it has been often difficult to get the big welcome and the red carpet treatment from utility companies when you want to become grid tied with your home made power be it solar energy or your wind harnessing installation and it should now be becoming a little easier...

at least while the pressure is kept up country to country to create and use energy from renewable sources.



Which Wind Turbine

Nothing is simple is it, you can't seem to be able to just go into a store and order the equipment and have it installed and start saving money.

No, first you have to decide on quite a number of things which should lead you to the right purchase for your home and your budget... depending on your home site options and your local building regulations.

You will have to take things into consideration like:-

  • Deciding on size and a style that would be acceptable at your home and still be able to produce the maximum energy possible.
  • Positioning is vital which will lead you to have to decide on a roof, wall or ground tower installation.
  • You have to decide on 'mini' or the larger... 'small'.
  • A vertical or horzontal axiz turbine.
  • Blade design or rotor design.
  • How noisy it will be, how noisy can you stand and who else will be able to hear it...


Wind Turbine Installation Overview

Further articles will go into more detail on these points but to help you research the possibility of an installation at your home here are a few points to get you started and help you plan.

  • Survey possible sites on or around your home - it's not just a case of standing outside your home to see which way your hair blows, it's really worth having a professional site survey done.
  • Success could be determined by how much you know about the seasonal changes and the direction of prevailing wind and wind speeds around possible locations - your project will begin months ahead of site installation decisions while you continually assess the best placement for your own domestic home wind turbine installation.
  • While you may be spending 4 + months assessing wind speed and direction, assessing your site in relation to surrounding buildings and natural obstrucions, any sharp dips or rises like mountains, and also trees - will not take as long.
  • Planning permission - checking if you need it is vital and this may also reduce the list of possibilities drastically, making choices easier when they tell you that no, you can't have that!, nope, not that one, nope.. too big, too high, too noisy!
  • A Contractor - it is very important to find the right contractor who is qualified to install your wind turbine for you, only accredited installers qualify your installation for certain grants or rebates and only qualified installers will be able to give you the right product guarentees and certificate of installation that will make this installation a longer term asset to the value of your home as well as an immediate money saving project.
  • Talking about guarantees, make sure that you have a long life manufacturers guarantee, like at least 5 years!
  • Check out grants that might be available to you like the UK's Low Carbon Buildings Program, the Clear Skies initiative - or any energy saving grant or home improvement rebate that will help reduce your initial costs and reduce your payback time.
  • Find out if you could connect your system to your power grid and if so... the big question... would you be credited for power that you export - to be deducted from the grid power you use - this is still too new an idea for some electricity suppliers to accept!
  • Does the small energy harnessing system that you may be looking at require mechanical start up?
  • If a 2 diameter total blade span is not projected to supply the amount of energy you were expecting but regulations mean you can't go bigger, or it just looks too big for your home - would the installation of two smaller machines producing more power, meet your energy expectations!
  • Having the space for a winch to get your small wind turbine tower installation up is one thing - but would you still have the space to get it down again for mainenance whenever required.
  • Remember, wind turbine equipment is usually sold on the basis of having a maximum output, this will be the maximum power harnessed in optimum conditions but it will not be the average - try to do your calculations based on a lower average more related to your local conditions and wind speed.
  • Vertical axis wind turbines are becoming more acceptable for domestic application, if you live in town you need to know why.
  • Make sure that the model you look at has a protective device to help put the brakes on if necessary and limit the turning speed. Speed and power generated beyond the the manufactured capabilities will burn out or simply reduce the effectiveness and life of your wind turbine system.
  • Remember I wrote earlier about noise... well, even the quietest whirl of a wind turbine becomes much noisier, just like any machine - when the brakes have been applied by a protection system that prevents overspeeding.

It's a breeze with so much to think about and so much to say, but this article is getting a bit long winded so let me try and wrap it up for now...


Wind Turbine Installation Overview Summary

This is really such an interesting project with the potential of an excellent outcome that will improve home value, save you money on utility bills and add to your list of earth friendly projects for your home.

But, please remember that unless your home is remote in location and the land around you is all yours for nearly as far as the eye can see and if you don't have any problems installing all the wind turbines that you want to... and can then probably provide yourself with all the green electricity that you will ever need.

I want prospective home wind turbine owners to be prepared and not feel dissapointed by domestic wind turbine energy output - this project will not, under normal urban situations provide you with more than a small percentage of your yearly power requirements, would you be happy with say about 10% - 15% less to pay on utility bills... every year over the life of the equipment!.

Even in the best situations a wind turbine can only harness a proportion of the total wind energy flowing through it.

The good news is that for urban living conditions a combination of haressing both solar for both electricty and hot water together with wind power will bring you a lot nearer to becoming more energy independent and the joy green living.

As you continue with your research you will start to notice more and more homes installing a wind turbine system, this is going to be big business and I predict that it will be one of the most popular green home energy saving projects of the year and the years to come, just like solar panels, wind turbine suppliers will not be able to meet demand.

It would be wise to get ahead now and start to prepare the optimum conditions for your own home wind turbine installation.

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