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CLEAN ENERGY

CHOICES

Tips on Buying and Using


Renewable Energy at Home

U . S . D E P A R T M E N T O F E N E R G Y
O F F I C E O F E N E R G Y E F F I C I E N C Y A N D R E N E WA B L E E N E R G Y
CONTENTS
For more information on Clean Energy:
Clean Energy for the 21st
Century brochure INTRODUCTION
This 8-page brochure describes the
A Consumers Guide to
programs and initiatives of the U.S. Renewable Energy 2
Department of Energys Office of
Energy Efficiency and Renewable
Energy. Discover the breadth and
depth of our programs and the BUYING GREEN POWER
wide range of customers we serve. Sorting Out Your Choices 6
This brochure will help you gain a greater under-
standing of the ways in which were working to ensure a secure and
prosperous energy future for America. Document no. DOE/GO-10099-911.
SELF-GENERATION
Clean Energy for the 21st Century poster Making Your Own Power 14
This attractive poster displays a variety of energy effi-
ciency and renewable energy technologies. Great for
science fairs and energy-related events, the poster is a RENEWABLE ENERGY
colorful reminder of the impact that energy has on our
everyday lives. Quantities are limited to five copies
AT HOME
per request. Clean Choices for Heating,
Cooling, and Lighting 28

To order the Clean Energy for the 21st Century brochure and/or the poster,
visit our Web site at www.eren.doe.gov/cleanenergy or call 1-800-363-3732.
THE CLEAN ENERGY CHOICE
Our Web site also features downloadable versions of the brochure, informa-
IN TRANSPORTATION
tion on current clean energy events, related links, and other information.
Clean Fuels and Vehicles 38

A LOOK TOWARD
THE FUTURE OF
RENEWABLE ENERGY 43

Photo credits front cover: NREL/PIX 04666, Building America; Eyewire esk_049; Eye-
wire wev_058; NREL/PIX 05592, Green Mountain Power Corporation; NREL/PIX 01749,
Oak Ridge National Laboratory; NREL/PIX 00061

CLEAN ENERGY CHOICESCONTENTS 1


CONTENTS
For more information on Clean Energy:
Clean Energy for the 21st
Century brochure INTRODUCTION
This 8-page brochure describes the
A Consumers Guide to
programs and initiatives of the U.S. Renewable Energy 2
Department of Energys Office of
Energy Efficiency and Renewable
Energy. Discover the breadth and
depth of our programs and the BUYING GREEN POWER
wide range of customers we serve. Sorting Out Your Choices 6
This brochure will help you gain a greater under-
standing of the ways in which were working to ensure a secure and
prosperous energy future for America. Document no. DOE/GO-10099-911.
SELF-GENERATION
Clean Energy for the 21st Century poster Making Your Own Power 14
This attractive poster displays a variety of energy effi-
ciency and renewable energy technologies. Great for
science fairs and energy-related events, the poster is a RENEWABLE ENERGY
colorful reminder of the impact that energy has on our
everyday lives. Quantities are limited to five copies
AT HOME
per request. Clean Choices for Heating,
Cooling, and Lighting 28

To order the Clean Energy for the 21st Century brochure and/or the poster,
visit our Web site at www.eren.doe.gov/cleanenergy or call 1-800-363-3732.
THE CLEAN ENERGY CHOICE
Our Web site also features downloadable versions of the brochure, informa-
IN TRANSPORTATION
tion on current clean energy events, related links, and other information.
Clean Fuels and Vehicles 38

A LOOK TOWARD
THE FUTURE OF
RENEWABLE ENERGY 43

Photo credits front cover: NREL/PIX 04666, Building America; Eyewire esk_049; Eye-
wire wev_058; NREL/PIX 05592, Green Mountain Power Corporation; NREL/PIX 01749,
Oak Ridge National Laboratory; NREL/PIX 00061

CLEAN ENERGY CHOICESCONTENTS 1


INTRODUCTION Photovoltaic panels produce
renewable energy for the home.
A Consumers Guide to Renewable Energy
continues, sea levels will rise, and scien-
tists predict that floods, heat waves,
What is Renewable Energy? produce electricity or mechanical droughts, and other extreme weather
Certain forms of energy are called energy. Sunlight is vital to growing conditions could occur more often.
renewable because these fuel sources plants and trees, also called biomass. Other pollutants are released into the
are constantly replenished and will not Using biomass to generate electricity, air, soil, and water when fossil fuels are
run out. Renewable energylike the sun fuel vehicles, and yield chemicals is burned. These pollutants take a dramatic
and windis readily available through- called bioenergy. toll on the environment. Air pollution
out the United States. Renewable energy Hydropower uses the power in flowing contributes to lung diseases like asthma.
technologies take this energy and con- water to operate turbines that generate Why Use Renewable Energy Now? Acid rain from sulfur dioxide and nitro-
vert it into usable forms of energymost electricity. The hydrologic cycle, in Today we cook food, fuel cars, and heat gen oxides harms plants and fish. And
often electricity, but also heat, chemi- which water is evaporated into the homes primarily by burning fossil fuels nitrogen oxide contributes to smog.
cals, or mechanical power. These tech- atmosphere and then falls back to Earth that were created over millions of years. Energy independence is another rea-
nologies are often described as clean as rain or snow, is powered by the sun. Using coal, oil, and natural gas is a con- son to use renewable energy. The United
or green because they produce little But not all renewable resources come venient way to meet our energy needs, States imports more than 50% of its oil,
or no pollutants. directly from the sun. Geothermal but these fuels are in limited supply. up from 34% in 1973. Foreign oil imports
Most renewable energy comes directly energy uses the heat deep inside the They are being used far more rapidly can be disrupted by political upheavals,
or indirectly from the sun. The suns rays Earth to produce electric power. than they were created, and they will trade disputes, and embargoes. Replac-
transmit solar energy that can heat and Mankind has used renewable energy for eventually run out. In addition, a signifi- ing some of our petroleum with biofuels
light homes, heat water, cook food, thousands of years. Sunlight gives light cant portion of the countrys nuclear made from organic matter could save
generate electricity, and power industrial and warmth, wind powers sailboats, bio- capacity will likely be retired by 2020. At money and strengthen our energy
processes. Heat from the sun causes air mass from trees makes fires, water turns the same time that our nuclear capacity security.
temperature differences that, along with turbines, and geothermal hot springs are drops and fossil fuel supplies decline,
the Earths rotation, cause the wind to used for practical and spiritual purposes. our need for electricity will grow. U.S.
blow. The wind powers generators that electric generation capacity needs are
projected to increase by 33% during the 6.6 tons
Homes in all regions next 20 years (Energy Information
of the United States Administration). Renewable energy can
can take advantage help fill this gap. 4.5 tons
of renewable energy. (32% savings)
Even if we had an unlimited supply of
fossil fuels, renewable energy is attrac-
tive because it is better for the environ-
ment. Burning fossil fuels sends
greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
Current U.S. average Potential savings from
These gases trap the suns heat in the per individual renewable energy use
atmosphere, contributing to global warm- Annual Greenhouse Gas
ing. Climate scientists generally agree Emissions
that the Earths average temperature has
Using renewable energy reduces green-
risen in the past century. If this trend
house gas emissions, which contribute to
global warming.

2 CLEAN ENERGY CHOICESINTRODUCTION A C O N S U M E R S G U I D E T O R E N E WA B L E E N E R G Y 3


INTRODUCTION Photovoltaic panels produce
renewable energy for the home.
A Consumers Guide to Renewable Energy
continues, sea levels will rise, and scien-
tists predict that floods, heat waves,
What is Renewable Energy? produce electricity or mechanical droughts, and other extreme weather
Certain forms of energy are called energy. Sunlight is vital to growing conditions could occur more often.
renewable because these fuel sources plants and trees, also called biomass. Other pollutants are released into the
are constantly replenished and will not Using biomass to generate electricity, air, soil, and water when fossil fuels are
run out. Renewable energylike the sun fuel vehicles, and yield chemicals is burned. These pollutants take a dramatic
and windis readily available through- called bioenergy. toll on the environment. Air pollution
out the United States. Renewable energy Hydropower uses the power in flowing contributes to lung diseases like asthma.
technologies take this energy and con- water to operate turbines that generate Why Use Renewable Energy Now? Acid rain from sulfur dioxide and nitro-
vert it into usable forms of energymost electricity. The hydrologic cycle, in Today we cook food, fuel cars, and heat gen oxides harms plants and fish. And
often electricity, but also heat, chemi- which water is evaporated into the homes primarily by burning fossil fuels nitrogen oxide contributes to smog.
cals, or mechanical power. These tech- atmosphere and then falls back to Earth that were created over millions of years. Energy independence is another rea-
nologies are often described as clean as rain or snow, is powered by the sun. Using coal, oil, and natural gas is a con- son to use renewable energy. The United
or green because they produce little But not all renewable resources come venient way to meet our energy needs, States imports more than 50% of its oil,
or no pollutants. directly from the sun. Geothermal but these fuels are in limited supply. up from 34% in 1973. Foreign oil imports
Most renewable energy comes directly energy uses the heat deep inside the They are being used far more rapidly can be disrupted by political upheavals,
or indirectly from the sun. The suns rays Earth to produce electric power. than they were created, and they will trade disputes, and embargoes. Replac-
transmit solar energy that can heat and Mankind has used renewable energy for eventually run out. In addition, a signifi- ing some of our petroleum with biofuels
light homes, heat water, cook food, thousands of years. Sunlight gives light cant portion of the countrys nuclear made from organic matter could save
generate electricity, and power industrial and warmth, wind powers sailboats, bio- capacity will likely be retired by 2020. At money and strengthen our energy
processes. Heat from the sun causes air mass from trees makes fires, water turns the same time that our nuclear capacity security.
temperature differences that, along with turbines, and geothermal hot springs are drops and fossil fuel supplies decline,
the Earths rotation, cause the wind to used for practical and spiritual purposes. our need for electricity will grow. U.S.
blow. The wind powers generators that electric generation capacity needs are
projected to increase by 33% during the 6.6 tons
Homes in all regions next 20 years (Energy Information
of the United States Administration). Renewable energy can
can take advantage help fill this gap. 4.5 tons
of renewable energy. (32% savings)
Even if we had an unlimited supply of
fossil fuels, renewable energy is attrac-
tive because it is better for the environ-
ment. Burning fossil fuels sends
greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
Current U.S. average Potential savings from
These gases trap the suns heat in the per individual renewable energy use
atmosphere, contributing to global warm- Annual Greenhouse Gas
ing. Climate scientists generally agree Emissions
that the Earths average temperature has
Using renewable energy reduces green-
risen in the past century. If this trend
house gas emissions, which contribute to
global warming.

2 CLEAN ENERGY CHOICESINTRODUCTION A C O N S U M E R S G U I D E T O R E N E WA B L E E N E R G Y 3


The Importance of Efficiency

What Renewable Energy


I tsimprove
better for the environment (and cheaper) to
the efficiency of your energy use than This thermal photograph shows heat escaping ics covered. Many of the resources listed
Technologies Make Sense to produce more energy to meet from the home in the white, yellow, and red here were used as references in develop-
inefficient consumption. Before
for Consumers Now? investing in renewable energy
areas. Efficiency improvements can save 10% ing this booklet. The organizations and
to 50% on energy bills.
Many renewable energy tech- technology, take stock of your Tips on Sa
Energy & ving
Mone
Web sites listed will get you started buy-
at Home y
nologies make sense for con- current energy usage. Could ing and using renewable energy in your
you increase the energy effi-
sumers today. Prices have own home.
ciency of your home? To find
dropped during the past 20 out, conduct a home energy We also address how to make sure you
years and the technologies have audit, which will tell you get the most for your investment. Taking
improved. Using renewable where you are using the most a few moments to read this booklet will
energy is easier than ever. Alter- energy in your home. A com- help you become a more savvy energy
panion booklet available from the
native fuels such as biodiesel consumer and, after you choose to use
U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Energy
and ethanol are becoming more Savers: Tips on Saving Energy & Money at clean energy, will help the environment
widely available, and new vehi- Home, provides information on energy audits by reducing pollution and preserving our
cles that feature advanced fuel and is an excellent resource for improving the natural resources.
system technologies are now on energy efficiency of your home. (Its available
online at www.eren.doe.gov/consumerinfo/
the market. Utilities are starting energy_savers.) By making a few of the improve-
to offer green power pro- ments suggested in the booklet, you can save
grams, in which you can opt to 10% to 50% on your energy bills.
Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency
obtain electricity from renew- Whether you purchase green power, add renew-
R E S O U R C E S
able energy sources. Many able energy to your home, or drive an alternative
states are in the process of fuel vehicle, it is better for the environment and Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
cheaper to reduce your energy use first, then Clearinghouse (EREC)
deregulating electric utilities,
meet your energy needs with renewables. 1-800-363-3732
which means that in the coming P.O. Box 3048
years, you will be able to Merrifield, VA 22116
choose your electric supplier just like Massachusetts, Illinois, and other states, lower cost than electricity. Natural gas TDD# 1-800-273-2957
EREC is the U.S. Department of Energys
you choose a long-distance phone com- competitive markets are under way and vehicles also provide a cleaner
source for information and publications on
pany now. In California, Pennsylvania, green marketers are selling electricity alternative to gasoline. renewable energy and energy efficiency.
from renewable energy sources like Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
wind, biomass, and hydropower. How to Use this Booklet Network (EREN)
This booklet will help you assess which http://www.eren.doe.gov
Other Clean Energy Sources EREN is the U.S. Department of Energys
clean energy choices are right for you.
Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable
Even by combining energy efficiency These renewable energy technologies Energys primary Web site. Through this site
measures and renewable energy genera- are available today and are being used you can access literally hundreds of pages
containing information and resources on
tion, most of us will have to use fossil by homeowners across the country. We
renewable energy technologies. Be sure to
fuels to meet our energy needs. But we also tell you what renewable energy visit the Consumer Energy Information site
can use the cleanest energy sources technologies will be available soon and (http://www.eren.doe.gov/consumerinfo/) for
available. For instance, natural gas burns describe the technology developments information on how to put renewable energy
to work in your life.
much cleaner than other fossil fuels, and that are expected during the next 20
can be used to heat your home, provide years. And, at the end of each chapter
Homes of all sizes and styles can use
renewable energy for power, heating, water heating, and power appliances you will find a list of resources to help
cooling, and lighting. such as clothes dryers, usually at a you find further information on the top-

4 CLEAN ENERGY CHOICESINTRODUCTION A C O N S U M E R S G U I D E T O R E N E WA B L E E N E R G Y 5


The Importance of Efficiency

What Renewable Energy


I tsimprove
better for the environment (and cheaper) to
the efficiency of your energy use than This thermal photograph shows heat escaping ics covered. Many of the resources listed
Technologies Make Sense to produce more energy to meet from the home in the white, yellow, and red here were used as references in develop-
inefficient consumption. Before
for Consumers Now? investing in renewable energy
areas. Efficiency improvements can save 10% ing this booklet. The organizations and
to 50% on energy bills.
Many renewable energy tech- technology, take stock of your Tips on Sa
Energy & ving
Mone
Web sites listed will get you started buy-
at Home y
nologies make sense for con- current energy usage. Could ing and using renewable energy in your
you increase the energy effi-
sumers today. Prices have own home.
ciency of your home? To find
dropped during the past 20 out, conduct a home energy We also address how to make sure you
years and the technologies have audit, which will tell you get the most for your investment. Taking
improved. Using renewable where you are using the most a few moments to read this booklet will
energy is easier than ever. Alter- energy in your home. A com- help you become a more savvy energy
panion booklet available from the
native fuels such as biodiesel consumer and, after you choose to use
U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Energy
and ethanol are becoming more Savers: Tips on Saving Energy & Money at clean energy, will help the environment
widely available, and new vehi- Home, provides information on energy audits by reducing pollution and preserving our
cles that feature advanced fuel and is an excellent resource for improving the natural resources.
system technologies are now on energy efficiency of your home. (Its available
online at www.eren.doe.gov/consumerinfo/
the market. Utilities are starting energy_savers.) By making a few of the improve-
to offer green power pro- ments suggested in the booklet, you can save
grams, in which you can opt to 10% to 50% on your energy bills.
Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency
obtain electricity from renew- Whether you purchase green power, add renew-
R E S O U R C E S
able energy sources. Many able energy to your home, or drive an alternative
states are in the process of fuel vehicle, it is better for the environment and Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
cheaper to reduce your energy use first, then Clearinghouse (EREC)
deregulating electric utilities,
meet your energy needs with renewables. 1-800-363-3732
which means that in the coming P.O. Box 3048
years, you will be able to Merrifield, VA 22116
choose your electric supplier just like Massachusetts, Illinois, and other states, lower cost than electricity. Natural gas TDD# 1-800-273-2957
EREC is the U.S. Department of Energys
you choose a long-distance phone com- competitive markets are under way and vehicles also provide a cleaner
source for information and publications on
pany now. In California, Pennsylvania, green marketers are selling electricity alternative to gasoline. renewable energy and energy efficiency.
from renewable energy sources like Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
wind, biomass, and hydropower. How to Use this Booklet Network (EREN)
This booklet will help you assess which http://www.eren.doe.gov
Other Clean Energy Sources EREN is the U.S. Department of Energys
clean energy choices are right for you.
Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable
Even by combining energy efficiency These renewable energy technologies Energys primary Web site. Through this site
measures and renewable energy genera- are available today and are being used you can access literally hundreds of pages
containing information and resources on
tion, most of us will have to use fossil by homeowners across the country. We
renewable energy technologies. Be sure to
fuels to meet our energy needs. But we also tell you what renewable energy visit the Consumer Energy Information site
can use the cleanest energy sources technologies will be available soon and (http://www.eren.doe.gov/consumerinfo/) for
available. For instance, natural gas burns describe the technology developments information on how to put renewable energy
to work in your life.
much cleaner than other fossil fuels, and that are expected during the next 20
can be used to heat your home, provide years. And, at the end of each chapter
Homes of all sizes and styles can use
renewable energy for power, heating, water heating, and power appliances you will find a list of resources to help
cooling, and lighting. such as clothes dryers, usually at a you find further information on the top-

4 CLEAN ENERGY CHOICESINTRODUCTION A C O N S U M E R S G U I D E T O R E N E WA B L E E N E R G Y 5


BUYING GREEN POWER A Note About Electricity Terms

Sorting Out Your Choices W hen describing electricity produc-


tion, the terms electric power (or
light a 60-watt lightbulb for 1,000 hours
requires 60,000 watt-hours of electricity,
capacity) and electric energy (or electric- or 60 kilowatt-hours. To power 1 million
ity) are often used. Power is the ability 60-watt lightbulbs, 60 megawatts of

J ust a few years ago, we did not have


the ability to choose our electric
service. Currently, the electricity indus-
to do work and energy is
the actual performance of the
work, or the use of that ability
capacity is required.
The distinction between
capacity and electricity is
try is undergoing changes that will bring over a period of time. The dis- important. A wind turbine,
choice to many consumers across the tinction is like a persons abil- for instance, might have a
ity to lift weights and the 1-kilowatt capacity, but its
country. Already, utility customers can
actual lifting of the weights; electricity production per day
choose to obtain electricity from clean although they have the capac- in kilowatt-hours depends on
generation sourcesalso known as ity to lift the weights, until they how often and how strongly
green power. actually lift them, they do not the wind blows. If a strong
Green power is electricity that is gen- expend the energy. wind blows for 24 hours, the wind turbine
erated from renewable energy sources The unit used in this text for electric will produce 24 kilowatt-hours; if the wind
like the sun, wind, water, plants, and the power, or capacity, is the megawatt. The only blows strongly for 8 hours and doesnt
unit used for electric energy, or electricity, blow at all the rest of the day, the wind
Earths internal heat. Facing deregula- Wind energy is one type of green power.
is the kilowatt-hour. It takes 60 watts of turbine will produce 8 kilowatt-hours of
tion and competition, utilities are focus- capacity to power a 60-watt lightbulb. To electricity.
ing on their customers preferences. In What is Green Pricing?
survey after survey, customers request Because using these technologies gener-
electricity generated by green power, ally costs more than existing fossil-fuel LADWP Green Power for a Green L.A. Green Pricing Program
and utilities are responding. generation, some utilities are selling con-
sumers green power at a slightly higher W ithAngeles
20,000 customers electing to pay a slight premium for green power, the Los
Department of Water and Powers (LADWPs) Green Power for a Green
cost than fossil-fuel generated electricity, L.A. program is a success. This green pricing program has the highest number of sub-
called green pricing. More than 50 green scribers in the country. The 20,000 subscribers, 1.5% of the utilitys customers, can
purchase green power for 20% of their electricity needsan average customer uses
pricing programs are under way across
about 500 kilowatt-hours (kWh) each monthfor $3.00 per month. Customers will
the country. One way to look at green receive power from a newly
pricing programs is that they offer you a constructed geothermal plant,
vote in what types of energy sources and the utility is negotiating to
your utility will use. Your vote could purchase wind and biomass
energy for the program.
result in new renewable energy facilities
being built. After all, more than 110 When customers sign up
for the program they receive
megawatts of new renewables capacity
two compact fluorescent light
has been installed to serve green power
bulbs and a home energy
customers, with about another 105 survey on compact disk. By
megawatts planned. For example, the using the light bulbs, taking
Public Service Company of Colorados the survey, and then adopting
green pricing program for wind energy, its recommendations, cus-
tomers should be able to help reduce their electricity usage. Although the rate for new
green power is 6% higher than for conventional electricity, the utility states that cus-
tomers who use the light bulbs and reduce their energy use will see little or no increase
Green power is transmitted by the (and perhaps a decrease) in their electricity bills. The utility hopes to sign up 200,000
electric grid, just like electricity from customers in the next two or three years.
other power plants.

6 BUYING GREEN POWER SORTING OUT YOUR CHOICES 7


BUYING GREEN POWER A Note About Electricity Terms

Sorting Out Your Choices W hen describing electricity produc-


tion, the terms electric power (or
light a 60-watt lightbulb for 1,000 hours
requires 60,000 watt-hours of electricity,
capacity) and electric energy (or electric- or 60 kilowatt-hours. To power 1 million
ity) are often used. Power is the ability 60-watt lightbulbs, 60 megawatts of

J ust a few years ago, we did not have


the ability to choose our electric
service. Currently, the electricity indus-
to do work and energy is
the actual performance of the
work, or the use of that ability
capacity is required.
The distinction between
capacity and electricity is
try is undergoing changes that will bring over a period of time. The dis- important. A wind turbine,
choice to many consumers across the tinction is like a persons abil- for instance, might have a
ity to lift weights and the 1-kilowatt capacity, but its
country. Already, utility customers can
actual lifting of the weights; electricity production per day
choose to obtain electricity from clean although they have the capac- in kilowatt-hours depends on
generation sourcesalso known as ity to lift the weights, until they how often and how strongly
green power. actually lift them, they do not the wind blows. If a strong
Green power is electricity that is gen- expend the energy. wind blows for 24 hours, the wind turbine
erated from renewable energy sources The unit used in this text for electric will produce 24 kilowatt-hours; if the wind
like the sun, wind, water, plants, and the power, or capacity, is the megawatt. The only blows strongly for 8 hours and doesnt
unit used for electric energy, or electricity, blow at all the rest of the day, the wind
Earths internal heat. Facing deregula- Wind energy is one type of green power.
is the kilowatt-hour. It takes 60 watts of turbine will produce 8 kilowatt-hours of
tion and competition, utilities are focus- capacity to power a 60-watt lightbulb. To electricity.
ing on their customers preferences. In What is Green Pricing?
survey after survey, customers request Because using these technologies gener-
electricity generated by green power, ally costs more than existing fossil-fuel LADWP Green Power for a Green L.A. Green Pricing Program
and utilities are responding. generation, some utilities are selling con-
sumers green power at a slightly higher W ithAngeles
20,000 customers electing to pay a slight premium for green power, the Los
Department of Water and Powers (LADWPs) Green Power for a Green
cost than fossil-fuel generated electricity, L.A. program is a success. This green pricing program has the highest number of sub-
called green pricing. More than 50 green scribers in the country. The 20,000 subscribers, 1.5% of the utilitys customers, can
purchase green power for 20% of their electricity needsan average customer uses
pricing programs are under way across
about 500 kilowatt-hours (kWh) each monthfor $3.00 per month. Customers will
the country. One way to look at green receive power from a newly
pricing programs is that they offer you a constructed geothermal plant,
vote in what types of energy sources and the utility is negotiating to
your utility will use. Your vote could purchase wind and biomass
energy for the program.
result in new renewable energy facilities
being built. After all, more than 110 When customers sign up
for the program they receive
megawatts of new renewables capacity
two compact fluorescent light
has been installed to serve green power
bulbs and a home energy
customers, with about another 105 survey on compact disk. By
megawatts planned. For example, the using the light bulbs, taking
Public Service Company of Colorados the survey, and then adopting
green pricing program for wind energy, its recommendations, cus-
tomers should be able to help reduce their electricity usage. Although the rate for new
green power is 6% higher than for conventional electricity, the utility states that cus-
tomers who use the light bulbs and reduce their energy use will see little or no increase
Green power is transmitted by the (and perhaps a decrease) in their electricity bills. The utility hopes to sign up 200,000
electric grid, just like electricity from customers in the next two or three years.
other power plants.

6 BUYING GREEN POWER SORTING OUT YOUR CHOICES 7


Green power marketers disclose the Churches, Corporations, and Government Turning Green
sources of the electricity they sell.

WindSource, has been so successful that


O rganizations as diverse as Episcopal
churches, Kinkos, New Belgium
buying 100% wind energy from the local
utility. To meet the ten-year agreement with
Brewing Company, and the Pennsylvania New Belgium, a third turbine will be
the utility added more wind turbines to
Department of General Services (DGS) added to a wind energy project across
meet customer demand. are running on green power. Although the border in Wyoming. The companys
these organizations seem to have little in 70 employees voted to purchase wind
What is Green Power Marketing? common, all are committed to using power even though it will reduce their
In some parts of the country, consumers renewable energy to protect the environ- bonuses. New Belgium had first looked at
can choose not only how their electricity ment. ways to recover CO2 produced during fer-
The California Episcopal Diocesan Con- mentation, but concluded that displacing
is generated, but also who supplies it.
vention adopted a resolution instructing coal generation with wind energy to meet
Utility deregulation has occurred in their energy needs would decrease CO2
the States 87 churches to buy renewable
some states and consumers can choose
power to help cut greenhouse gas emis- by more than six times that of a CO2
an electricity supplier. Electricity mar- sions. Each church that buys green power recovery system.
kets are now open to competition in Cal- California and Pennsylvania, and green gets a $250 donation from the green The Pennsylvania DGS is purchasing
ifornia, Massachusetts, New Jersey, power products have also been intro- power marketer, which also donates $20 green power for more than a dozen state
Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island. A num- duced in New England. to the church for each parishioner who accounts, representing about 5% of the
signs up. DGS power purchase for 2000. Part of
ber of other states are phasing in compe- Because of the way the electric grid
Kinkos, a provider of business services the energy will be supplied by a new ten-
tition, allowing some customers to works, the renewable energy that you megawatt wind energy plant under con-
and document copying at its retail stores,
choose their electrical supplier. Green buy is not necessarily delivered to your struction in Garrett, Pennsylvania.
is also buying green power in California
power marketers, selling green products home. Instead, that power is delivered and Pennsylvania. The company has also Agencies receiving the power include the
and services to residential, commercial, into the electrical grid, along with elec- retrofitted more than 800 branches with Pennsylvania Department of Corrections,
and wholesale customers, are active in energy-efficient lighting. capital buildings in Harrisburg, state
office buildings, and 14 universities.
The New Belgium Brewing Company, a
Green-e Renewable Electricity Certification Program: microbrewery in Fort Collins, Colorado, is
Protecting Green Power Consumers

T heSolutions
nonprofit Center for Resource
established the Green-e
The product does not contain any
nuclear power. tricity from other power sources. How Do Competitive Markets Work?
Renewable Electricity Certification Pro- Depending upon the supply of renewable In competitive markets, electricity is still
One year after deregulation, the product
gram to ensure that consumers who pur- must contain at least 5% new renewable energy, on some days the green marketer delivered to your home by the utility via
chase green power are getting exactly electricity. Green-e intends to increase may supply more green power and on existing transmission and distribution
that. The Green-e logo on an electricity the new renewables requirement each some days, less. But by the end of the lines. Your utility bill will show distribu-
product means: year. year, the green marketer must supply tion charges and generation charges sep-
At least 50% of the electricity supply for The company offering the product enough renewable energy to the grid to arately. Distribution charges are paid to
the product comes from renewable elec- agrees to undergo a biannual review of equal its green power commitments to the utility, which is responsible for main-
tricity resources. advertising materials to ensure they are consumers. To verify the claims of green taining the distribution and transmission
Any nonrenewable part of the product not making any false or misleading
marketers, the nonprofit Center for lines and delivering electricity to you.
has lower air emissions than the tradi- statements about their products.
tional mix of electricity (for example, Resource Solutions started the Green-e Generation charges are paid to the
The company offering the product
natural gas). agrees to undergo an annual audit by a
program, which requires green mar- power supplier.
The company offering the product third party to ensure that they have pur- keters to include at least 50% renewables
agrees to abide by the Green-e Pro- chased enough renewable power to sat- in their products and sets other criteria
grams Code of Conduct, which requires isfy what they sold to customers. that green marketers must meet to bear
that providers disclose the sources of the the Green-e logo (see sidebar).
electricity they sell.

8 BUYING GREEN POWER SORTING OUT YOUR CHOICES 9


Green power marketers disclose the Churches, Corporations, and Government Turning Green
sources of the electricity they sell.

WindSource, has been so successful that


O rganizations as diverse as Episcopal
churches, Kinkos, New Belgium
buying 100% wind energy from the local
utility. To meet the ten-year agreement with
Brewing Company, and the Pennsylvania New Belgium, a third turbine will be
the utility added more wind turbines to
Department of General Services (DGS) added to a wind energy project across
meet customer demand. are running on green power. Although the border in Wyoming. The companys
these organizations seem to have little in 70 employees voted to purchase wind
What is Green Power Marketing? common, all are committed to using power even though it will reduce their
In some parts of the country, consumers renewable energy to protect the environ- bonuses. New Belgium had first looked at
can choose not only how their electricity ment. ways to recover CO2 produced during fer-
The California Episcopal Diocesan Con- mentation, but concluded that displacing
is generated, but also who supplies it.
vention adopted a resolution instructing coal generation with wind energy to meet
Utility deregulation has occurred in their energy needs would decrease CO2
the States 87 churches to buy renewable
some states and consumers can choose
power to help cut greenhouse gas emis- by more than six times that of a CO2
an electricity supplier. Electricity mar- sions. Each church that buys green power recovery system.
kets are now open to competition in Cal- California and Pennsylvania, and green gets a $250 donation from the green The Pennsylvania DGS is purchasing
ifornia, Massachusetts, New Jersey, power products have also been intro- power marketer, which also donates $20 green power for more than a dozen state
Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island. A num- duced in New England. to the church for each parishioner who accounts, representing about 5% of the
signs up. DGS power purchase for 2000. Part of
ber of other states are phasing in compe- Because of the way the electric grid
Kinkos, a provider of business services the energy will be supplied by a new ten-
tition, allowing some customers to works, the renewable energy that you megawatt wind energy plant under con-
and document copying at its retail stores,
choose their electrical supplier. Green buy is not necessarily delivered to your struction in Garrett, Pennsylvania.
is also buying green power in California
power marketers, selling green products home. Instead, that power is delivered and Pennsylvania. The company has also Agencies receiving the power include the
and services to residential, commercial, into the electrical grid, along with elec- retrofitted more than 800 branches with Pennsylvania Department of Corrections,
and wholesale customers, are active in energy-efficient lighting. capital buildings in Harrisburg, state
office buildings, and 14 universities.
The New Belgium Brewing Company, a
Green-e Renewable Electricity Certification Program: microbrewery in Fort Collins, Colorado, is
Protecting Green Power Consumers

T heSolutions
nonprofit Center for Resource
established the Green-e
The product does not contain any
nuclear power. tricity from other power sources. How Do Competitive Markets Work?
Renewable Electricity Certification Pro- Depending upon the supply of renewable In competitive markets, electricity is still
One year after deregulation, the product
gram to ensure that consumers who pur- must contain at least 5% new renewable energy, on some days the green marketer delivered to your home by the utility via
chase green power are getting exactly electricity. Green-e intends to increase may supply more green power and on existing transmission and distribution
that. The Green-e logo on an electricity the new renewables requirement each some days, less. But by the end of the lines. Your utility bill will show distribu-
product means: year. year, the green marketer must supply tion charges and generation charges sep-
At least 50% of the electricity supply for The company offering the product enough renewable energy to the grid to arately. Distribution charges are paid to
the product comes from renewable elec- agrees to undergo a biannual review of equal its green power commitments to the utility, which is responsible for main-
tricity resources. advertising materials to ensure they are consumers. To verify the claims of green taining the distribution and transmission
Any nonrenewable part of the product not making any false or misleading
marketers, the nonprofit Center for lines and delivering electricity to you.
has lower air emissions than the tradi- statements about their products.
tional mix of electricity (for example, Resource Solutions started the Green-e Generation charges are paid to the
The company offering the product
natural gas). agrees to undergo an annual audit by a
program, which requires green mar- power supplier.
The company offering the product third party to ensure that they have pur- keters to include at least 50% renewables
agrees to abide by the Green-e Pro- chased enough renewable power to sat- in their products and sets other criteria
grams Code of Conduct, which requires isfy what they sold to customers. that green marketers must meet to bear
that providers disclose the sources of the the Green-e logo (see sidebar).
electricity they sell.

8 BUYING GREEN POWER SORTING OUT YOUR CHOICES 9


Geothermal energy originates deep within the
Earth and produces minimal emissions.

Todays Clean Energy Choices of water. Water is released through tur- For utilities and power generating
The following briefly describes renew- bines to generate power. Other companies with coal power plants,
able energy technologies that might be hydropower plants, called run of the replacing some coal with biomass may
offered in green pricing programs or river, do not dam up large amounts of represent one of the least costly renew-
competitive markets in your area. water, but divert water from the river and able energy options. As much as 15% of
If you do not currently have the option direct it through a pipeline to a turbine. the coal may be replaced with biomass
to choose your electricity supplier, con- Hydropower plants produce no air without significant modifications to the
tact your utility to find out what their emissions, but can affect water quality existing plant. Biomass has less sulfur
plans are regarding utility deregulation and fish and wildlife habitats. To lessen than coal; therefore, less sulfur dioxide
and future power plant construction. these impacts, many hydropower is released into the air.
projects are diverting a portion of the Gasificationconverting the biomass
flow around the dams to mimic the natu- to a gas and burning it in a gas turbine
ral flow of the river. Although this helps is another way to generate electricity
fish and wildlife, it also reduces the from biomass. Geothermal Energy
power plants output. Fish ladders and Electricity can also be generated using About 2800 megawatts of geothermal
other approaches are also being used to landfill gas, produced by the decay of electric capacity are produced in the
assist upstream migration of fish like biomass in landfills. Landfill gas consists United States annually. Geothermal
salmon, and further measures such as largely of methane, which can be burned power plants utilize naturally occurring
improved turbines, offer the promise of in a boiler to produce steam for electric- steam and hot water, which originate
reducing fish kills in downstream migra- ity generation or for industrial under the Earths surface. All of the geo-
tion. In addition, low-impact hydropower processes. Thus, this potentially harmful thermal plants in the United States are in
plants have been designed and are oper- gas can be used in a beneficial way. California, Hawaii, Nevada, and Utah.
ated to minimize impacts on the river. California already relies on geothermal
Biomass that would go to the landfill can energy to provide 6% of its electricity.
Biomass be burned in a power plant instead.
Geothermal power plants use steam to
Hydropower produces 10% of Biomass is already this countrys leading rotate a turbine, which powers an elec-
the nations electricity. non-hydro resource of renewable energy, tric generator. Another growing use of
accounting for more than 7,000 megawatts geothermal energy is to heat buildings
Hydropower of installed capacity. Biomass fuels come directly using the hot water. More than
Hydropower is the most mature and from a variety of sources. The majority 500 megawatts of direct geothermal
largest source of renewable power, pro- consist of waste from industrial process- heating capacity are installed today.
ducing about 10% of the nations electric- ingforestry and wood products, agri-
ity. Existing hydropower capacity is culture and food by-products, and other Wind Energy
about 77,000 megawatts (enough elec- industries such as construction and Currently, wind energy capacity amounts
tricity to meet the needs of 35 million transportation that must dispose of large to 2500 megawatts in the United States.
households). quantities of unused biomass. Although much of the nations wind
Hydropower plants convert the energy capacityabout 1600 megawattsis in
in flowing water into electricity. The California, about half that much capacity
most common form of hydropower uses
dams on rivers to retain large reservoirs

10 BUYING GREEN POWER SORTING OUT YOUR CHOICES 11


Geothermal energy originates deep within the
Earth and produces minimal emissions.

Todays Clean Energy Choices of water. Water is released through tur- For utilities and power generating
The following briefly describes renew- bines to generate power. Other companies with coal power plants,
able energy technologies that might be hydropower plants, called run of the replacing some coal with biomass may
offered in green pricing programs or river, do not dam up large amounts of represent one of the least costly renew-
competitive markets in your area. water, but divert water from the river and able energy options. As much as 15% of
If you do not currently have the option direct it through a pipeline to a turbine. the coal may be replaced with biomass
to choose your electricity supplier, con- Hydropower plants produce no air without significant modifications to the
tact your utility to find out what their emissions, but can affect water quality existing plant. Biomass has less sulfur
plans are regarding utility deregulation and fish and wildlife habitats. To lessen than coal; therefore, less sulfur dioxide
and future power plant construction. these impacts, many hydropower is released into the air.
projects are diverting a portion of the Gasificationconverting the biomass
flow around the dams to mimic the natu- to a gas and burning it in a gas turbine
ral flow of the river. Although this helps is another way to generate electricity
fish and wildlife, it also reduces the from biomass. Geothermal Energy
power plants output. Fish ladders and Electricity can also be generated using About 2800 megawatts of geothermal
other approaches are also being used to landfill gas, produced by the decay of electric capacity are produced in the
assist upstream migration of fish like biomass in landfills. Landfill gas consists United States annually. Geothermal
salmon, and further measures such as largely of methane, which can be burned power plants utilize naturally occurring
improved turbines, offer the promise of in a boiler to produce steam for electric- steam and hot water, which originate
reducing fish kills in downstream migra- ity generation or for industrial under the Earths surface. All of the geo-
tion. In addition, low-impact hydropower processes. Thus, this potentially harmful thermal plants in the United States are in
plants have been designed and are oper- gas can be used in a beneficial way. California, Hawaii, Nevada, and Utah.
ated to minimize impacts on the river. California already relies on geothermal
Biomass that would go to the landfill can energy to provide 6% of its electricity.
Biomass be burned in a power plant instead.
Geothermal power plants use steam to
Hydropower produces 10% of Biomass is already this countrys leading rotate a turbine, which powers an elec-
the nations electricity. non-hydro resource of renewable energy, tric generator. Another growing use of
accounting for more than 7,000 megawatts geothermal energy is to heat buildings
Hydropower of installed capacity. Biomass fuels come directly using the hot water. More than
Hydropower is the most mature and from a variety of sources. The majority 500 megawatts of direct geothermal
largest source of renewable power, pro- consist of waste from industrial process- heating capacity are installed today.
ducing about 10% of the nations electric- ingforestry and wood products, agri-
ity. Existing hydropower capacity is culture and food by-products, and other Wind Energy
about 77,000 megawatts (enough elec- industries such as construction and Currently, wind energy capacity amounts
tricity to meet the needs of 35 million transportation that must dispose of large to 2500 megawatts in the United States.
households). quantities of unused biomass. Although much of the nations wind
Hydropower plants convert the energy capacityabout 1600 megawattsis in
in flowing water into electricity. The California, about half that much capacity
most common form of hydropower uses
dams on rivers to retain large reservoirs

10 BUYING GREEN POWER SORTING OUT YOUR CHOICES 11


Wind turbines convert wind into
electricity.

The photovoltaic cell is the basic unit Green Power: A Look Toward the Future
in a PV system. The cell is made from
semiconductor materials similar to those
used in computer chips. Sunlight is I ncarry
the future, power lines might
phone and Internet service
absorbed by the materials, freeing elec- to your home. Deregulation and
trons from their atoms, and allowing the competition in the electric power
electrons to flow through an external industry mean that most consumers
circuit to generate electricity. The will be able to choose not only
greater the intensity of the sunlight, the green power, but possibly other
more power generated in the cell. services as well. Electric utilities
Since photovoltaic systems use no may be split into separate genera-
moving parts to produce electricity, they tion and transmission/distribution
are durable power systems with low companies. These companies will
maintenance, high reliability, and low likely offer expanded service lines
environmental impacts. Because their in addition to the usual electricity
basic building block, the module, is generation and transmission. So
was added in the Midwest and Great small, photovoltaic systems are suitable plugging into the Internet might
Plains during the last several years. for both large and small electricity sup- mean literally plugging into your
Wind energy has been the fastest growing ply applications. For example, systems wall socket.
source of energy in the world since 1990, of several hundred kilowatts in size have
increasing at an average rate of 25% per been built in a number of locations.
year, a trend driven largely by dramatic
improvements in wind technology. Green Power R E S O U R C E S
Wind turbines operate on a simple
Bioenergy Initiative Green-e Certification
principle. The energy in the wind is used Photovoltaic cells can produce electricity
(U.S. Department of Energy) (Center for Resource Solutions)
even on cloudy days.
to rotate blades around a hub. The hub http://www.eren.doe.gov/bioenergy_initiative/ http://www.green-e.org/
is connected to the main shaft, which DOEs Bioenergy Initiative seeks to develop a The nonprofit Center for Resource Solutions
strong, integrated bioenergy industry to established the Green-e Renewable Electricity
spins a generator. Utility-scale turbines increase the production of bio-based fuels, Certification Program in order to ensure that
range in size from 50 kilowatts to one or chemicals, and power. consumers who purchase green power are
two megawatts. Small turbines, below 50 getting what they pay for. Visit this site to
Green Power Network
learn more about certification, products, and
kilowatts, are used for homes, farms, http://www.eren.doe.gov/greenpower/
providers.
ranches, telecommunications, or water The Green Power Network provides news and
up-to-date information on green power mar-
pumping. kets and green-pricing programs. On this site
you will find information on green power
Photovoltaics providers, product offerings, and consumer
issues and policies affecting green power
Photovoltaic (PV) cellsalso called
markets.
solar cellsproduce electricity from
sunlight. A small, but growing amount
of PV generation is connected to the
grid in 36 states.

12 BUYING GREEN POWER SORTING OUT YOUR CHOICES 13


Wind turbines convert wind into
electricity.

The photovoltaic cell is the basic unit Green Power: A Look Toward the Future
in a PV system. The cell is made from
semiconductor materials similar to those
used in computer chips. Sunlight is I ncarry
the future, power lines might
phone and Internet service
absorbed by the materials, freeing elec- to your home. Deregulation and
trons from their atoms, and allowing the competition in the electric power
electrons to flow through an external industry mean that most consumers
circuit to generate electricity. The will be able to choose not only
greater the intensity of the sunlight, the green power, but possibly other
more power generated in the cell. services as well. Electric utilities
Since photovoltaic systems use no may be split into separate genera-
moving parts to produce electricity, they tion and transmission/distribution
are durable power systems with low companies. These companies will
maintenance, high reliability, and low likely offer expanded service lines
environmental impacts. Because their in addition to the usual electricity
basic building block, the module, is generation and transmission. So
was added in the Midwest and Great small, photovoltaic systems are suitable plugging into the Internet might
Plains during the last several years. for both large and small electricity sup- mean literally plugging into your
Wind energy has been the fastest growing ply applications. For example, systems wall socket.
source of energy in the world since 1990, of several hundred kilowatts in size have
increasing at an average rate of 25% per been built in a number of locations.
year, a trend driven largely by dramatic
improvements in wind technology. Green Power R E S O U R C E S
Wind turbines operate on a simple
Bioenergy Initiative Green-e Certification
principle. The energy in the wind is used Photovoltaic cells can produce electricity
(U.S. Department of Energy) (Center for Resource Solutions)
even on cloudy days.
to rotate blades around a hub. The hub http://www.eren.doe.gov/bioenergy_initiative/ http://www.green-e.org/
is connected to the main shaft, which DOEs Bioenergy Initiative seeks to develop a The nonprofit Center for Resource Solutions
strong, integrated bioenergy industry to established the Green-e Renewable Electricity
spins a generator. Utility-scale turbines increase the production of bio-based fuels, Certification Program in order to ensure that
range in size from 50 kilowatts to one or chemicals, and power. consumers who purchase green power are
two megawatts. Small turbines, below 50 getting what they pay for. Visit this site to
Green Power Network
learn more about certification, products, and
kilowatts, are used for homes, farms, http://www.eren.doe.gov/greenpower/
providers.
ranches, telecommunications, or water The Green Power Network provides news and
up-to-date information on green power mar-
pumping. kets and green-pricing programs. On this site
you will find information on green power
Photovoltaics providers, product offerings, and consumer
issues and policies affecting green power
Photovoltaic (PV) cellsalso called
markets.
solar cellsproduce electricity from
sunlight. A small, but growing amount
of PV generation is connected to the
grid in 36 states.

12 BUYING GREEN POWER SORTING OUT YOUR CHOICES 13


SELF-GENERATION The Benefits of Net Metering
Making Your Own Power
N etgenerating
metering allows homeowners with self-
systems to sell their excess the time, such as refrigerators,
power to the utility. Net metering can make self- whereas others use electricity
When is Self-Generation
A
t first glance, generating your own generation economically attractive to you, less often, like power tools. To
electricity using renewable fuel Appropriate? depending on how it is implemented in your determine your total energy con-
state. The best situation is when your meter turns
sources seems like the ideal way to Self-generation might be right for you if: sumption, multiply the wattage
backward and generation is fed into the utility
avoid monthly utility bills. For some grid. This essentially of the appliance by the number
A grid connection is not available in
homeowners, self-generation is a choice allows you to bank your of hours it is used in a day. Some
that makes sense for their circumstances your area or can be made only through generation until you need appliances do not give the
and fits into their values. However, self- an expensive line extension. (The cost it. You are selling your
wattage, so you may have to cal-
of running a power line to the utility excess power to the utility
generation involves investing your at the same rate you pay culate the wattage by multiply-
money and your time doing research, grid at a remote site can be prohibi-
for electricity, called the ing the amperes times the volts.
comparing products, and maintaining tive, ranging from $15,000 to more retail rate. In some states, (Information about wattage,
your system. Depending upon your situa- than $50,000 per mile, depending a less attractive option is available, in which amperage, and voltage can be
upon the terrain.) you sell your generation to the utility at the util-
tion, you might not end up saving money, found on a sticker or metal plate
You have an interest in gaining energy itys avoided cost. This is the cost the utility
but homeowners who do choose to gen- would have to pay to purchase electricity on the attached to the appliance itself
independence from your utility.
erate clean energy like being independ- wholesale market. The utilitys avoided cost can or on a tag attached to the elec-
ent and knowing that they are You would like to reduce the environ- be as much as ten cents per kWh less than the tric cord.) After adding the
mental impact of electricity produc- retail rate. Your utility will specify the intercon-
minimizing their impacts on the environ- totals for each appliance, you
tion. nection requirements for net metering. Check
ment. with your utility before planning to take advan- can decide what power output
Your site has adequate renewable
tage of net metering. you need for your renewable
resources.
energy system.
You have a strategy for meeting your
energy needs when renewable Understand the basics of small Sample Load Analysis
resources arent available. renewable energy systems. Daily Total Energy
Your state or utility provides for net Review possibilities for combining Load Use (hrs) x Wattage = Consumption
metering, which allows you to inter- your system with other energy Radio 2 25 50
connect your system with your utility sources, backups, and energy Lamp 3 27 81
and sell any excess generation to your efficiency improvements. (fluorescent)
utility. Plan for ongoing system maintenance. VCR 0.5 30 15
Television 6 150 900
In addition to considering the above,
Analyzing Your Loads Clothes Washer 1 500 500
you should also:
Performing a detailed load analysis is Dishwasher 1 300 1300
Research potential legal and environ- critical to sizing your renewable energy Electric furnace 8 8500 68,000
(winter)
mental obstacles. system. A load analysis is a measure of
Total Daily Energy 70,846
Obtain cost and performance informa- your daily energy needs. To conduct a Consumption watt-hours
tion from manufacturers. load analysis, list all of your daily energy Note: This example shows a partial load analysis.
If cost-effectiveness is a key consider- loads. A load includes anything that uses You will need to include all items that require
electricity to operate.
ation, perform a complete economic electricity from your power source, such
analysis that accounts for a multitude as lights, heating and air conditioning,
of factors. televisions, radios, and small and major
A single wind turbine can power a home. appliances. Some loads use electricity all

14 S E L F - G E N E R AT I O N MAKING YOUR OWN POWER 15


SELF-GENERATION The Benefits of Net Metering
Making Your Own Power
N etgenerating
metering allows homeowners with self-
systems to sell their excess the time, such as refrigerators,
power to the utility. Net metering can make self- whereas others use electricity
When is Self-Generation
A
t first glance, generating your own generation economically attractive to you, less often, like power tools. To
electricity using renewable fuel Appropriate? depending on how it is implemented in your determine your total energy con-
state. The best situation is when your meter turns
sources seems like the ideal way to Self-generation might be right for you if: sumption, multiply the wattage
backward and generation is fed into the utility
avoid monthly utility bills. For some grid. This essentially of the appliance by the number
A grid connection is not available in
homeowners, self-generation is a choice allows you to bank your of hours it is used in a day. Some
that makes sense for their circumstances your area or can be made only through generation until you need appliances do not give the
and fits into their values. However, self- an expensive line extension. (The cost it. You are selling your
wattage, so you may have to cal-
of running a power line to the utility excess power to the utility
generation involves investing your at the same rate you pay culate the wattage by multiply-
money and your time doing research, grid at a remote site can be prohibi-
for electricity, called the ing the amperes times the volts.
comparing products, and maintaining tive, ranging from $15,000 to more retail rate. In some states, (Information about wattage,
your system. Depending upon your situa- than $50,000 per mile, depending a less attractive option is available, in which amperage, and voltage can be
upon the terrain.) you sell your generation to the utility at the util-
tion, you might not end up saving money, found on a sticker or metal plate
You have an interest in gaining energy itys avoided cost. This is the cost the utility
but homeowners who do choose to gen- would have to pay to purchase electricity on the attached to the appliance itself
independence from your utility.
erate clean energy like being independ- wholesale market. The utilitys avoided cost can or on a tag attached to the elec-
ent and knowing that they are You would like to reduce the environ- be as much as ten cents per kWh less than the tric cord.) After adding the
mental impact of electricity produc- retail rate. Your utility will specify the intercon-
minimizing their impacts on the environ- totals for each appliance, you
tion. nection requirements for net metering. Check
ment. with your utility before planning to take advan- can decide what power output
Your site has adequate renewable
tage of net metering. you need for your renewable
resources.
energy system.
You have a strategy for meeting your
energy needs when renewable Understand the basics of small Sample Load Analysis
resources arent available. renewable energy systems. Daily Total Energy
Your state or utility provides for net Review possibilities for combining Load Use (hrs) x Wattage = Consumption
metering, which allows you to inter- your system with other energy Radio 2 25 50
connect your system with your utility sources, backups, and energy Lamp 3 27 81
and sell any excess generation to your efficiency improvements. (fluorescent)
utility. Plan for ongoing system maintenance. VCR 0.5 30 15
Television 6 150 900
In addition to considering the above,
Analyzing Your Loads Clothes Washer 1 500 500
you should also:
Performing a detailed load analysis is Dishwasher 1 300 1300
Research potential legal and environ- critical to sizing your renewable energy Electric furnace 8 8500 68,000
(winter)
mental obstacles. system. A load analysis is a measure of
Total Daily Energy 70,846
Obtain cost and performance informa- your daily energy needs. To conduct a Consumption watt-hours
tion from manufacturers. load analysis, list all of your daily energy Note: This example shows a partial load analysis.
If cost-effectiveness is a key consider- loads. A load includes anything that uses You will need to include all items that require
electricity to operate.
ation, perform a complete economic electricity from your power source, such
analysis that accounts for a multitude as lights, heating and air conditioning,
of factors. televisions, radios, and small and major
A single wind turbine can power a home. appliances. Some loads use electricity all

14 S E L F - G E N E R AT I O N MAKING YOUR OWN POWER 15


Small Wind Turbine

35 feet. Because taller towers are should be avoided.


Analyzing Your Site and almost always preferred, a review by the Wind turbine warranties vary between
Sizing Your System local zoning authority may be required. one and five years depending on the
Your load analysis is a key component of This is an especially important issue in manufacturer.
sizing your renewable energy system. urban and suburban areas.
The renewable resource available at There are two basic types of towers:
Estimating Wind Resources
Switch
your site is the other key component. self-supporting (free standing) and
at Your Site
guyed. Most home wind power systems Wind can be a difficult resource to esti-
Wind Energy Systems use a guyed tower. Guyed-lattice towers mate. For one thing, wind resources are
All wind energy systems consist are the least expensive option. They con- extremely site dependent. The U.S.
of a wind turbine, a tower, sist of a simple, inexpensive framework Department of Energy has compiled
wiring, and the balance of sys- of metal strips supported by guy cables wind resource maps that are available
tem (BOS) components: con- and earth anchors. from the American Wind Energy Associa-
trollers, inverters, and/or batteries. However, because the guy radius must tion and the National Technical Informa-
Home wind turbines consist of a rotor, Power Energy 120/240 be one-half to three-quarters of the tion Service. These maps are excellent
processing meter volts AC
a generator mounted on a frame, and tower height, guyed-lattice towers sources for regional information and can
unit loads
(usually) a tail. With the spinning blades, require enough space to accommodate show whether wind speeds in your area
This system produces alternating current
the rotor captures the kinetic energy of them. Most towers have just three earth are generally strong enough to justify
for home use.
the wind and converts it into rotary anchors. Guyed towers with four earth further investigations. Checking with
motion to drive the generator. Rotors can erning systems to keep the rotor from anchors can be hinged at the base so your local airport or weather bureau will
have two or three blades, with three spinning out of control in very high that they can be lowered to the ground help give you an idea of the wind speeds
being more common. The best indication winds. This information, along with your for maintenance, repairs, or during haz- in your area, but your site may experi-
of how much energy a turbine will pro- local wind speed distribution and your ardous weather such as hurricanes. Alu- ence higher or lower average wind
duce is the diameter of the rotor, which energy budget, is sufficient to allow you minum towers are prone to cracking and
determines its swept area, or the quan- to select the turbine size.
tity of wind intercepted by the turbine. Because wind speeds increase with Average Annual Wind Power Resource
The tail keeps the turbine facing into the height in flat terrain, the turbine is Wind Resource Wind Speed
wind. Power Potential at 50m
mounted on a tower. Generally speaking, Class mph
A 1.5-kW wind turbine can meet the the higher the tower, the more energy 2 Marginal 12.5 - 14.3
3 Fair 14.3 - 15.7
needs of a home requiring 300 kWh per the wind system can produce. The tower 4 Good 15.7 - 16.8
month, for a location with a 14-mile-per- also raises the turbine above the air tur- 5 Excellent 16.8 - 24.8

hour (6.26-meters-per-second) annual bulence that can exist close to the


average wind speed. The manufacturer ground. A general rule of thumb is to
will provide you with the expected install a wind turbine on a tower with
annual energy output of the turbine as a the bottom of the rotor blades at least
function of annual average wind speed 30 feet (9 meters) above any obstacle
and elevation at the site. The manufac- that is within 300 feet (90 meters) of the
turer will also provide information on tower. An important consideration about
the maximum wind speed in which the tower height is zoning. Many local gov-
turbine is designed to operate safely. ernments place limitations on the instal-
Most turbines have automatic speed-gov- lation of structures taller than 30 to

16 S E L F - G E N E R AT I O N MAKING YOUR OWN POWER 17


Small Wind Turbine

35 feet. Because taller towers are should be avoided.


Analyzing Your Site and almost always preferred, a review by the Wind turbine warranties vary between
Sizing Your System local zoning authority may be required. one and five years depending on the
Your load analysis is a key component of This is an especially important issue in manufacturer.
sizing your renewable energy system. urban and suburban areas.
The renewable resource available at There are two basic types of towers:
Estimating Wind Resources
Switch
your site is the other key component. self-supporting (free standing) and
at Your Site
guyed. Most home wind power systems Wind can be a difficult resource to esti-
Wind Energy Systems use a guyed tower. Guyed-lattice towers mate. For one thing, wind resources are
All wind energy systems consist are the least expensive option. They con- extremely site dependent. The U.S.
of a wind turbine, a tower, sist of a simple, inexpensive framework Department of Energy has compiled
wiring, and the balance of sys- of metal strips supported by guy cables wind resource maps that are available
tem (BOS) components: con- and earth anchors. from the American Wind Energy Associa-
trollers, inverters, and/or batteries. However, because the guy radius must tion and the National Technical Informa-
Home wind turbines consist of a rotor, Power Energy 120/240 be one-half to three-quarters of the tion Service. These maps are excellent
processing meter volts AC
a generator mounted on a frame, and tower height, guyed-lattice towers sources for regional information and can
unit loads
(usually) a tail. With the spinning blades, require enough space to accommodate show whether wind speeds in your area
This system produces alternating current
the rotor captures the kinetic energy of them. Most towers have just three earth are generally strong enough to justify
for home use.
the wind and converts it into rotary anchors. Guyed towers with four earth further investigations. Checking with
motion to drive the generator. Rotors can erning systems to keep the rotor from anchors can be hinged at the base so your local airport or weather bureau will
have two or three blades, with three spinning out of control in very high that they can be lowered to the ground help give you an idea of the wind speeds
being more common. The best indication winds. This information, along with your for maintenance, repairs, or during haz- in your area, but your site may experi-
of how much energy a turbine will pro- local wind speed distribution and your ardous weather such as hurricanes. Alu- ence higher or lower average wind
duce is the diameter of the rotor, which energy budget, is sufficient to allow you minum towers are prone to cracking and
determines its swept area, or the quan- to select the turbine size.
tity of wind intercepted by the turbine. Because wind speeds increase with Average Annual Wind Power Resource
The tail keeps the turbine facing into the height in flat terrain, the turbine is Wind Resource Wind Speed
wind. Power Potential at 50m
mounted on a tower. Generally speaking, Class mph
A 1.5-kW wind turbine can meet the the higher the tower, the more energy 2 Marginal 12.5 - 14.3
3 Fair 14.3 - 15.7
needs of a home requiring 300 kWh per the wind system can produce. The tower 4 Good 15.7 - 16.8
month, for a location with a 14-mile-per- also raises the turbine above the air tur- 5 Excellent 16.8 - 24.8

hour (6.26-meters-per-second) annual bulence that can exist close to the


average wind speed. The manufacturer ground. A general rule of thumb is to
will provide you with the expected install a wind turbine on a tower with
annual energy output of the turbine as a the bottom of the rotor blades at least
function of annual average wind speed 30 feet (9 meters) above any obstacle
and elevation at the site. The manufac- that is within 300 feet (90 meters) of the
turer will also provide information on tower. An important consideration about
the maximum wind speed in which the tower height is zoning. Many local gov-
turbine is designed to operate safely. ernments place limitations on the instal-
Most turbines have automatic speed-gov- lation of structures taller than 30 to

16 S E L F - G E N E R AT I O N MAKING YOUR OWN POWER 17


How Solar Energy Works

speeds. Your site should from ingots of crystalline silicon. In thin- Estimating Solar Resources
have average wind speeds film PV technologies, the PV material is at Your Site
of at least nine miles per Array deposited on glass or thin metal that There are three factors to consider
Solar cell
hour or more. mechanically supports the module. when determining whether your site
If you do not have on- Solar module Thin-film-based modules are produced is appropriate for photovoltaics.
site data and want to in sheets that are sized for specified 1. Systems installed in the Northern
obtain a clearer, more pre- electrical outputs. Hemisphere must have southern expo-
dictable picture of your Solar panel Several companies have started inte- sure. For maximum daily power output,
wind resource, you may grating PV products into building materi- PV modules should be exposed to the
wish to measure wind als. For example, PV shingles look like sun for as much of the day as possible,
speeds at your site for a traditional asphalt shingles and can be especially during the peak sun hours of
year. You can do this with a Sunlight energy installed by roofers. Other similar tech- 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
recording anemometer. The (photons) Electrical load nologies are standing-seam metal roofs 2. The southern exposure must be free of
most accurate readings are incorporating PV and modules that look obstructions such as trees, mountains,
taken at hub height (the like slate roofing materials. Soon to be and buildings that might shade the mod-
elevation at the top of the Free electrons widely available is glass for windows ules. Consider both summer and winter
tower where you will The Photovoltaic Effect and skylights that generates electricity. paths of the sun, as well as the growth of
install the wind turbine). The benefit of these technologies is that trees and future construction that may
The standard wind sensor they replace building materials that you cause shading problems.
height used to obtain data for the DOE Solar Energy (PV) Systems would buy anyway. 3. The unobstructed southern exposure
maps is 33 feet (ten meters). Because a Photovoltaic cells produce direct-current The cost over 20 years will amount to must also have appropriate terrain and
small wind turbine can be purchased for (DC) electricity. About 40 cells are between 20 and 40 cents per kilowatt- sufficient space to install the PV system.
about the same price as an anemometer, joined together in enclosed, protective hour. However, costs will vary quite a bit Unlike utility power plants, which
another option is to install a small tur- casings called modules. About ten of depending on your location, solar produce electricity constantly despite
bine and measure its performance for a these modules are mounted in one PV resources, and available subsidies. the time of day and year or the weather,
year. A dealer can then predict the per- panel. These flat-plate PV panels can be In addition to PV modules, the compo- the output of PV modules is directly
formance of a larger machine sized to mounted facing south, or they can be nents needed to complete a PV system
June 21
meet your loads. mounted on a tracking device that fol- may include a battery charge controller,
You can have varied wind resources lows the sun, allowing them to capture batteries, an inverter or power control
within the same property. If you live in the most sunlight over the course of a unit (for alternating-current loads),
hilly terrain, take care in selecting the day. About ten to 20 PV panels can pro- safety disconnects and fuses, a ground- West North
installation site. If you site your wind vide enough power for a household; for ing circuit, and wiring.
turbine on the top or on the windy side large electric utility or industrial applica-
of a hill, for example, you will have more tions, hundreds of arrays can be inter- December 21
access to prevailing winds than in a gully connected to form a single, large PV PV modules
or on the leeward (sheltered) side of a system.
hill on the same property. Consider Two primary types of PV technologies
existing obstacles and plan for future available commercially are crystalline
obstructions, including trees and build- silicon and thin film. In crystalline-silicon South East
ings, which could block the wind. technologies, individual PV cells are cut
Suns Path in the Sky

18 S E L F - G E N E R AT I O N MAKING YOUR OWN POWER 19


How Solar Energy Works

speeds. Your site should from ingots of crystalline silicon. In thin- Estimating Solar Resources
have average wind speeds film PV technologies, the PV material is at Your Site
of at least nine miles per Array deposited on glass or thin metal that There are three factors to consider
Solar cell
hour or more. mechanically supports the module. when determining whether your site
If you do not have on- Solar module Thin-film-based modules are produced is appropriate for photovoltaics.
site data and want to in sheets that are sized for specified 1. Systems installed in the Northern
obtain a clearer, more pre- electrical outputs. Hemisphere must have southern expo-
dictable picture of your Solar panel Several companies have started inte- sure. For maximum daily power output,
wind resource, you may grating PV products into building materi- PV modules should be exposed to the
wish to measure wind als. For example, PV shingles look like sun for as much of the day as possible,
speeds at your site for a traditional asphalt shingles and can be especially during the peak sun hours of
year. You can do this with a Sunlight energy installed by roofers. Other similar tech- 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
recording anemometer. The (photons) Electrical load nologies are standing-seam metal roofs 2. The southern exposure must be free of
most accurate readings are incorporating PV and modules that look obstructions such as trees, mountains,
taken at hub height (the like slate roofing materials. Soon to be and buildings that might shade the mod-
elevation at the top of the Free electrons widely available is glass for windows ules. Consider both summer and winter
tower where you will The Photovoltaic Effect and skylights that generates electricity. paths of the sun, as well as the growth of
install the wind turbine). The benefit of these technologies is that trees and future construction that may
The standard wind sensor they replace building materials that you cause shading problems.
height used to obtain data for the DOE Solar Energy (PV) Systems would buy anyway. 3. The unobstructed southern exposure
maps is 33 feet (ten meters). Because a Photovoltaic cells produce direct-current The cost over 20 years will amount to must also have appropriate terrain and
small wind turbine can be purchased for (DC) electricity. About 40 cells are between 20 and 40 cents per kilowatt- sufficient space to install the PV system.
about the same price as an anemometer, joined together in enclosed, protective hour. However, costs will vary quite a bit Unlike utility power plants, which
another option is to install a small tur- casings called modules. About ten of depending on your location, solar produce electricity constantly despite
bine and measure its performance for a these modules are mounted in one PV resources, and available subsidies. the time of day and year or the weather,
year. A dealer can then predict the per- panel. These flat-plate PV panels can be In addition to PV modules, the compo- the output of PV modules is directly
formance of a larger machine sized to mounted facing south, or they can be nents needed to complete a PV system
June 21
meet your loads. mounted on a tracking device that fol- may include a battery charge controller,
You can have varied wind resources lows the sun, allowing them to capture batteries, an inverter or power control
within the same property. If you live in the most sunlight over the course of a unit (for alternating-current loads),
hilly terrain, take care in selecting the day. About ten to 20 PV panels can pro- safety disconnects and fuses, a ground- West North
installation site. If you site your wind vide enough power for a household; for ing circuit, and wiring.
turbine on the top or on the windy side large electric utility or industrial applica-
of a hill, for example, you will have more tions, hundreds of arrays can be inter- December 21
access to prevailing winds than in a gully connected to form a single, large PV PV modules
or on the leeward (sheltered) side of a system.
hill on the same property. Consider Two primary types of PV technologies
existing obstacles and plan for future available commercially are crystalline
obstructions, including trees and build- silicon and thin film. In crystalline-silicon South East
ings, which could block the wind. technologies, individual PV cells are cut
Suns Path in the Sky

18 S E L F - G E N E R AT I O N MAKING YOUR OWN POWER 19


Average Annual Solar Energy Resource

(kWh/m2/day)
hydropower systems are that they run Estimating Microhydropower
6.07.0 continuously and the energy produced is Resources at Your Site
5.06.0
predictable. However, river flows vary A dealer will want to know the head and
4.05.0
across the seasons, and year-to-year, so flow at your site. You can hire someone
3.04.0
accurately determining the resource is to assess your site resources or do it
2.03.0
very important. yourself.
The key determinates of the available
Measuring Head
resource are head and flow. Head is the
vertical distance the water falls. Flow is Youll need to know the vertical dis-
the volume of the water. The power gen- tance from the water intake to the tur-
erated by a hydropower system is the bine. If you do the assessment yourself,
product of the head, the flow, and the you will need to make some decisions
efficiency of the equipment. about where to locate the water intake
The major components of a typical and turbine. If you hire a dealer, they
related to time and weather. Where you available that contain solar data on most microhydropower system include the will determine the system location and
live will affect the number of PV mod- major cities in the United States. intake from the river, the penstock, the measure the head for you.
ules you will need for power, because A Web site is available that will walk turbine, and the generator. The penstock There are a number of ways to meas-
different geographic regions experience you through calculating your loads and delivers the water to the turbine, which ure head, using surveying techniques,
different weather patterns. However, PV sizing your PV system to meet your rotates and powers the generator. Batter- altimeters, or a simple water-filled tube
systems still produce electricity in bad needs. See http://www.nrel.gov/ ies may be used for storage. Most micro- and pressure gauge. Whichever method
weather. On cloudy days, they can pro- buildings/pv/. hydropower systems use a DC generator is used, three separate measurements
duce up to 80% of their potential energy to charge a battery bank. An inverter should be taken at your site to verify
delivery; on hazy, humid days, about Microhydropower Systems may be used to produce AC electricity. accuracy.
50%; and on extremely overcast days, If you are fortunate enough to have a Determining Flow
they still produce up to 30%. Seasonal stream running through your property, Determining flow at a site is much
variations affect the amount of sunlight you might be able to generate more difficult to measure. Flow varies
available to power a PV system. hydropower. Microhydropower is a term throughout the year; therefore, a one-
When designing a PV system, be sure used to describe very small hydropower time measurement is not very
your installer obtains data specific to systems. The definition of microhy- Weir and intake
your area. The National Oceanic and dropower varies, but is generally below Canal
Atmospheric Administration began col- 300 kilowatts. At this size, the system Forbay
Forbay
lecting solar data nearly 20 years ago. can be operated as a run of the river
The National Renewable Energy Labora- installation, without the need for signifi-
torys (NRELs) Renewable Resource cantly altering the site with dams for
Penstock Powerhouse Head
Data Center can provide solar resource water storage.
information, as can the Energy Effi- Microhydropower systems use water
ciency and Renewable Energy Clearing- pressure to move a mechanical device
Powerhouse Turbine
house. Some state energy offices also (the turbine), which then drives a gener-
Tailrace
have solar data-collection programs to ator to produce electricity or performs
In this microhydropower system, water is
assist solar designers. Finally, books are work directly. The advantages of micro- Small-scale Hydroelectric Power diverted into the penstock. Some generators
can be placed directly into the stream.

20 S E L F - G E N E R AT I O N MAKING YOUR OWN POWER 21


Average Annual Solar Energy Resource

(kWh/m2/day)
hydropower systems are that they run Estimating Microhydropower
6.07.0 continuously and the energy produced is Resources at Your Site
5.06.0
predictable. However, river flows vary A dealer will want to know the head and
4.05.0
across the seasons, and year-to-year, so flow at your site. You can hire someone
3.04.0
accurately determining the resource is to assess your site resources or do it
2.03.0
very important. yourself.
The key determinates of the available
Measuring Head
resource are head and flow. Head is the
vertical distance the water falls. Flow is Youll need to know the vertical dis-
the volume of the water. The power gen- tance from the water intake to the tur-
erated by a hydropower system is the bine. If you do the assessment yourself,
product of the head, the flow, and the you will need to make some decisions
efficiency of the equipment. about where to locate the water intake
The major components of a typical and turbine. If you hire a dealer, they
related to time and weather. Where you available that contain solar data on most microhydropower system include the will determine the system location and
live will affect the number of PV mod- major cities in the United States. intake from the river, the penstock, the measure the head for you.
ules you will need for power, because A Web site is available that will walk turbine, and the generator. The penstock There are a number of ways to meas-
different geographic regions experience you through calculating your loads and delivers the water to the turbine, which ure head, using surveying techniques,
different weather patterns. However, PV sizing your PV system to meet your rotates and powers the generator. Batter- altimeters, or a simple water-filled tube
systems still produce electricity in bad needs. See http://www.nrel.gov/ ies may be used for storage. Most micro- and pressure gauge. Whichever method
weather. On cloudy days, they can pro- buildings/pv/. hydropower systems use a DC generator is used, three separate measurements
duce up to 80% of their potential energy to charge a battery bank. An inverter should be taken at your site to verify
delivery; on hazy, humid days, about Microhydropower Systems may be used to produce AC electricity. accuracy.
50%; and on extremely overcast days, If you are fortunate enough to have a Determining Flow
they still produce up to 30%. Seasonal stream running through your property, Determining flow at a site is much
variations affect the amount of sunlight you might be able to generate more difficult to measure. Flow varies
available to power a PV system. hydropower. Microhydropower is a term throughout the year; therefore, a one-
When designing a PV system, be sure used to describe very small hydropower time measurement is not very
your installer obtains data specific to systems. The definition of microhy- Weir and intake
your area. The National Oceanic and dropower varies, but is generally below Canal
Atmospheric Administration began col- 300 kilowatts. At this size, the system Forbay
Forbay
lecting solar data nearly 20 years ago. can be operated as a run of the river
The National Renewable Energy Labora- installation, without the need for signifi-
torys (NRELs) Renewable Resource cantly altering the site with dams for
Penstock Powerhouse Head
Data Center can provide solar resource water storage.
information, as can the Energy Effi- Microhydropower systems use water
ciency and Renewable Energy Clearing- pressure to move a mechanical device
Powerhouse Turbine
house. Some state energy offices also (the turbine), which then drives a gener-
Tailrace
have solar data-collection programs to ator to produce electricity or performs
In this microhydropower system, water is
assist solar designers. Finally, books are work directly. The advantages of micro- Small-scale Hydroelectric Power diverted into the penstock. Some generators
can be placed directly into the stream.

20 S E L F - G E N E R AT I O N MAKING YOUR OWN POWER 21


useful. Ideally, a hydrological study A general rule is to design the renew- Solar energy systems
should be performed, which involves able energy system to provide 80% of the make sense for some
checking records of regional rainfall and energy and use fossil fuels for the remain- homeowners.

water flows. ing 20%.

Hybrid Power Systems


According to many renewable energy
experts, a stand-alone hybrid system that
combines generation sources, such as
wind and PV, offers several advantages
over a single generation system.
In much of the United States, wind
speeds are low in the summer when the
ity to AC. Although the inverter slightly requirements. To provide electricity over
sun shines brightest and longest. The wind
lowers the overall efficiency of the sys- long periods, renewable systems require
is strong in the winter when there is less
tem, it allows the home to be wired for deep-cycle batteries. These batteries,
sunlight available. Because the peak oper-
AC, a definite plus with lenders, electrical usually lead-acid, are designed to gradu-
ating times for wind and PV occur at dif-
code officials, and future home buyers. ally discharge and recharge 80% of their
ferent times of the day and year, hybrid
Well discuss BOS configurations first for capacity hundreds of times. Automotive
systems are more likely to produce power
loads requiring direct current, then for batteries are shallow-cycle batteries and
when you need it.
loads needing alternating current. should not be used in renewable systems
For the times when neither the wind
Energy stored in backup batteries can provide In grid-connected systems, the only because they are designed to discharge
generator nor the PV modules are produc- power when renewable resources are not avail- additional equipment needed is an only about 20% of their capacity. If
ing electricity (for example, at night when able (at night or when the wind isnt blowing).
inverter that makes the turbine output drawn much below 20% capacity more
the wind is not blowing), most stand-alone
electrically compatible with the utility than a few dozen times, the battery will
systems provide power through batteries Balance-of-System (BOS) Equipment
grid. No batteries are needed. Work with be damaged and will no longer be able to
and/or an engine-generator powered by In addition to wind turbines, PV mod-
the manufacturer and your local utility take a charge.
fossil fuels. ules, or a microhydropower generator,
on this process. The cost of deep-cycle batteries
If the batteries run low, the engine-gen- you must purchase BOS equipment. This
When examining the costs of wind depends on the type, capacity (ampere-
erator can be run at full power until the may include battery charge controllers,
turbines, PV modules, or microhydro- hours), the climatic conditions in which
batteries are charged. Adding a fossil-fuel- batteries, inverters, wires, conduit, a
power generators, remember that these it will operate, how frequently it will
powered generator makes the system grounding circuit, fuses, safety discon-
costs do not include the cost of BOS receive maintenance, and the types of
more complex, but modern electronic con- nects, outlets, metal structures for sup-
equipment. chemicals it uses to store and release
trollers can operate these complex sys- porting the PV modules, and any
electricity. An off-grid PV or wind system
tems automatically. additional components that are part of Direct-Current System Equipment
may have to be sized to store a sufficient
Adding an engine-generator can also the system. Battery. In off-grid systems, the bat-
amount of power in the batteries to meet
reduce the number of PV modules and bat- In very small systems, DC appliances tery stores electricity for use at night or
power demand during several days of
teries in the system. Keep in mind that the operate directly off the batteries. If you for meeting loads during the day when
cloudy weather or low winds. This is
storage capability must be large enough to want to use standard appliances that the generation source (wind turbines,
known as days of autonomy. Consult
supply electrical needs during noncharging require conventional household alternat- PV, or microhydropower) is not generat-
your dealer before selecting batteries for
periods. Battery banks are typically sized ing current (AC), however, you must ing sufficient power to meet load
your system.
for one to three days of operation. install an inverter to convert DC electric-

22 S E L F - G E N E R AT I O N MAKING YOUR OWN POWER 23


useful. Ideally, a hydrological study A general rule is to design the renew- Solar energy systems
should be performed, which involves able energy system to provide 80% of the make sense for some
checking records of regional rainfall and energy and use fossil fuels for the remain- homeowners.

water flows. ing 20%.

Hybrid Power Systems


According to many renewable energy
experts, a stand-alone hybrid system that
combines generation sources, such as
wind and PV, offers several advantages
over a single generation system.
In much of the United States, wind
speeds are low in the summer when the
ity to AC. Although the inverter slightly requirements. To provide electricity over
sun shines brightest and longest. The wind
lowers the overall efficiency of the sys- long periods, renewable systems require
is strong in the winter when there is less
tem, it allows the home to be wired for deep-cycle batteries. These batteries,
sunlight available. Because the peak oper-
AC, a definite plus with lenders, electrical usually lead-acid, are designed to gradu-
ating times for wind and PV occur at dif-
code officials, and future home buyers. ally discharge and recharge 80% of their
ferent times of the day and year, hybrid
Well discuss BOS configurations first for capacity hundreds of times. Automotive
systems are more likely to produce power
loads requiring direct current, then for batteries are shallow-cycle batteries and
when you need it.
loads needing alternating current. should not be used in renewable systems
For the times when neither the wind
Energy stored in backup batteries can provide In grid-connected systems, the only because they are designed to discharge
generator nor the PV modules are produc- power when renewable resources are not avail- additional equipment needed is an only about 20% of their capacity. If
ing electricity (for example, at night when able (at night or when the wind isnt blowing).
inverter that makes the turbine output drawn much below 20% capacity more
the wind is not blowing), most stand-alone
electrically compatible with the utility than a few dozen times, the battery will
systems provide power through batteries Balance-of-System (BOS) Equipment
grid. No batteries are needed. Work with be damaged and will no longer be able to
and/or an engine-generator powered by In addition to wind turbines, PV mod-
the manufacturer and your local utility take a charge.
fossil fuels. ules, or a microhydropower generator,
on this process. The cost of deep-cycle batteries
If the batteries run low, the engine-gen- you must purchase BOS equipment. This
When examining the costs of wind depends on the type, capacity (ampere-
erator can be run at full power until the may include battery charge controllers,
turbines, PV modules, or microhydro- hours), the climatic conditions in which
batteries are charged. Adding a fossil-fuel- batteries, inverters, wires, conduit, a
power generators, remember that these it will operate, how frequently it will
powered generator makes the system grounding circuit, fuses, safety discon-
costs do not include the cost of BOS receive maintenance, and the types of
more complex, but modern electronic con- nects, outlets, metal structures for sup-
equipment. chemicals it uses to store and release
trollers can operate these complex sys- porting the PV modules, and any
electricity. An off-grid PV or wind system
tems automatically. additional components that are part of Direct-Current System Equipment
may have to be sized to store a sufficient
Adding an engine-generator can also the system. Battery. In off-grid systems, the bat-
amount of power in the batteries to meet
reduce the number of PV modules and bat- In very small systems, DC appliances tery stores electricity for use at night or
power demand during several days of
teries in the system. Keep in mind that the operate directly off the batteries. If you for meeting loads during the day when
cloudy weather or low winds. This is
storage capability must be large enough to want to use standard appliances that the generation source (wind turbines,
known as days of autonomy. Consult
supply electrical needs during noncharging require conventional household alternat- PV, or microhydropower) is not generat-
your dealer before selecting batteries for
periods. Battery banks are typically sized ing current (AC), however, you must ing sufficient power to meet load
your system.
for one to three days of operation. install an inverter to convert DC electric-

22 S E L F - G E N E R AT I O N MAKING YOUR OWN POWER 23


Alternating-Current (AC) System

PV modules (or other Charge


Most types of batteries renewable energy source) controller is 12, 24, 36, or 48 volts; the number of making sure that it runs properly. Deal-
contain toxic materials that AC watts your loads require when they ers will also have contacts at the local
may pose serious health are operating normally; the amount of utility if you are connecting your system
and safety problems. The extra surge power your AC loads need to the utility grid.
National Electric Code, Grounding circuit for short periods; and whether the With any major purchase, you must
battery companies, and Inverter inverter has any additional features such have confidence in the dealers products
renewable system design- as meters and indicator lights. and services. Becoming an informed con-
ers recommend that lead- Tell your dealer if you plan to add sumer will help you feel more confident
acid and wet-cell batteries, additional AC loads in the future. If you in your choices. With the growth of the
which give off explosive are considering building another room renewable energy industry, the number
hydrogen gas when onto your house or adding electrical of regional dealers, mail-order and e-
Grounding circuit
recharging, be located in a Electric load (AC) Battery loads, consider purchasing an inverter commerce businesses, and local distribu-
well-ventilated space iso- with a larger input and output rating tors has rapidly expanded. Many
lated from the other electrical compo- than you currently need. This may be telephone directories contain listings for
depends on the ampere capacity at which
nents of the system and away from less costly than replacing it with a dealers under the solar heading. After
your renewable system will operate and
living spaces. Also, allow enough space larger one later. you identify dealers, you will want to do
the monitoring features you want.
for easy access during maintenance, For more about sizing an inverter, see some research to learn more about them.
repair, and replacement. Most impor- Alternating-Current System http://www.nrel.gov/buildings/pv/. Professional credentials are one indi-
tantly, maintain the battery according to Equipment cation of a dealers knowledge and quali-
the manufacturers instructions, and Inverter. Alternating-current (AC) Selecting a Dealer fications. Ask dealers about their
recycle the batteries properly when they systems also require an inverter, which Your dealer can help you analyze your training, certifications, and licenses. A
wear out. changes the DC electricity produced by loads and size your system correctly. second consideration is the dealers
Charge Controller. The charge con- renewable systems and stored in batter- The dealer will install your equipment, experience in the field. How long has the
troller regulates the flow of electricity ies into AC electricity. Different types of
from the generation source to the bat- inverters produce a different quality of
tery and the load. The controller keeps electricity. For example, lights, televi- A Self-Generation Success Story
the battery fully charged without over- sions, and power tools can operate on
charging it. When the load is drawing lower-quality electricity, but computers W hen the Eppersons of Norman,
Oklahoma, purchased this home
power, the controller allows the charge and other sophisticated electronic in 1992, one of the features they liked
to flow from the generation source into equipment require the highest-quality about it was the wind turbine out back.
the battery, the load, or both. When the electricity. So, you must match the The original owner had installed a Bergey
Windpower 10-kilowatt turbine in 1984.
controller senses that the battery is fully power quality required by your loads
Since the local utility, Oklahoma Electric
charged, it stops the flow of the charge with the power quality produced by the Cooperative, allowed net metering, any
from the generation source. Many con- inverter. excess production from the wind turbine
trollers will also sense when loads have Inverters for most stand-alone appli- was credited against the homeowners
taken too much electricity from batteries cations (i.e., those systems not con- electric consumption on the next billing from a malfunctioning circuit breaker and
and will stop the flow until sufficient nected to the utility grid) cost less than period. Thus, the home had unusually low one lightning strike, the system has
electric bills. worked reliably since installation. At this
charge is restored to the batteries. This $1 per rated output watt. The cost is
last feature can greatly extend the bat- affected by several factors, including the The wind turbine sits about 250 feet point, the wind energy system has paid
behind the home on a guyed-lattice tower. for itself and the Eppersons receive more
terys lifetime. quality of the electricity it needs to pro-
Other than some electronics problems than half of their electricity for free.
The cost of controllers generally duce; whether the incoming DC voltage

24 S E L F - G E N E R AT I O N MAKING YOUR OWN POWER 25


Alternating-Current (AC) System

PV modules (or other Charge


Most types of batteries renewable energy source) controller is 12, 24, 36, or 48 volts; the number of making sure that it runs properly. Deal-
contain toxic materials that AC watts your loads require when they ers will also have contacts at the local
may pose serious health are operating normally; the amount of utility if you are connecting your system
and safety problems. The extra surge power your AC loads need to the utility grid.
National Electric Code, Grounding circuit for short periods; and whether the With any major purchase, you must
battery companies, and Inverter inverter has any additional features such have confidence in the dealers products
renewable system design- as meters and indicator lights. and services. Becoming an informed con-
ers recommend that lead- Tell your dealer if you plan to add sumer will help you feel more confident
acid and wet-cell batteries, additional AC loads in the future. If you in your choices. With the growth of the
which give off explosive are considering building another room renewable energy industry, the number
hydrogen gas when onto your house or adding electrical of regional dealers, mail-order and e-
Grounding circuit
recharging, be located in a Electric load (AC) Battery loads, consider purchasing an inverter commerce businesses, and local distribu-
well-ventilated space iso- with a larger input and output rating tors has rapidly expanded. Many
lated from the other electrical compo- than you currently need. This may be telephone directories contain listings for
depends on the ampere capacity at which
nents of the system and away from less costly than replacing it with a dealers under the solar heading. After
your renewable system will operate and
living spaces. Also, allow enough space larger one later. you identify dealers, you will want to do
the monitoring features you want.
for easy access during maintenance, For more about sizing an inverter, see some research to learn more about them.
repair, and replacement. Most impor- Alternating-Current System http://www.nrel.gov/buildings/pv/. Professional credentials are one indi-
tantly, maintain the battery according to Equipment cation of a dealers knowledge and quali-
the manufacturers instructions, and Inverter. Alternating-current (AC) Selecting a Dealer fications. Ask dealers about their
recycle the batteries properly when they systems also require an inverter, which Your dealer can help you analyze your training, certifications, and licenses. A
wear out. changes the DC electricity produced by loads and size your system correctly. second consideration is the dealers
Charge Controller. The charge con- renewable systems and stored in batter- The dealer will install your equipment, experience in the field. How long has the
troller regulates the flow of electricity ies into AC electricity. Different types of
from the generation source to the bat- inverters produce a different quality of
tery and the load. The controller keeps electricity. For example, lights, televi- A Self-Generation Success Story
the battery fully charged without over- sions, and power tools can operate on
charging it. When the load is drawing lower-quality electricity, but computers W hen the Eppersons of Norman,
Oklahoma, purchased this home
power, the controller allows the charge and other sophisticated electronic in 1992, one of the features they liked
to flow from the generation source into equipment require the highest-quality about it was the wind turbine out back.
the battery, the load, or both. When the electricity. So, you must match the The original owner had installed a Bergey
Windpower 10-kilowatt turbine in 1984.
controller senses that the battery is fully power quality required by your loads
Since the local utility, Oklahoma Electric
charged, it stops the flow of the charge with the power quality produced by the Cooperative, allowed net metering, any
from the generation source. Many con- inverter. excess production from the wind turbine
trollers will also sense when loads have Inverters for most stand-alone appli- was credited against the homeowners
taken too much electricity from batteries cations (i.e., those systems not con- electric consumption on the next billing from a malfunctioning circuit breaker and
and will stop the flow until sufficient nected to the utility grid) cost less than period. Thus, the home had unusually low one lightning strike, the system has
electric bills. worked reliably since installation. At this
charge is restored to the batteries. This $1 per rated output watt. The cost is
last feature can greatly extend the bat- affected by several factors, including the The wind turbine sits about 250 feet point, the wind energy system has paid
behind the home on a guyed-lattice tower. for itself and the Eppersons receive more
terys lifetime. quality of the electricity it needs to pro-
Other than some electronics problems than half of their electricity for free.
The cost of controllers generally duce; whether the incoming DC voltage

24 S E L F - G E N E R AT I O N MAKING YOUR OWN POWER 25


company been in business? Your local testing facility reports you can read, and
Self-Generation R E S O U R C E S
Better Business Bureau can advise you whether the products are listed with
American Wind Energy Association
whether any customers have registered Underwriters Laboratories. Microhydropower Handbook
(AWEA)
complaints about the dealer. You should Also, consider the service agreements This handbook contains detailed information
202-383-2500
on system design, construction, operations,
also ask the dealer how many systems and performance guarantees the dealer http://www.awea.org
economics, and legal and environmental
like yours he or she has designed and provides and the warranties given by the AWEA represents wind power plant develop-
issues. Published by E&G Idaho, Inc., for the
ers, wind turbine manufacturers, insurers, fin-
installed. Ask for references, and to product manufacturers. No system is U.S. Department of Energy, 1983. Available
anciers, and others involved in the wind
from the National Technical Information Ser-
speak with owners of systems similar to maintenance-free, nor will all compo- energy business. Call AWEA or visit their Web
vice, 1-800-553-6847. Order no. DE83006698.
the one you want to purchase. nents function flawlessly forever. When site to access a list of wind energy system
manufacturers and providers. National Renewable Energy Laboratory
A third consideration in selecting a problems emerge with your system, what (NREL)
system installer is the variety and quality services will the dealer provide? What Financing Solutions Web site:
http://www.nrel.gov
Homeowners
of products offered for each component warranties do the manufacturers pro- NREL is the U.S. Department of Energys pre-
http://www.eren.doe.gov/financing/homeown-
mier laboratory for renewable energy and
of the system. Because PV systems are vide? What costs should you expect to ers.html
energy efficiency research, development, and
often designed for a specific site, one pay, and which costs will be assumed by The homeowners section of this Web site pro-
deployment. The NREL Web site offers exten-
vides links to several resources on renewable
companys products may not be appro- the dealer and/or the manufacturer? sive information on wind energy, photo-
energy financing.
voltaics, geothermal energy, bioenergy, and
priate for all applications. Competent Finally, you should compare prices
Interconnection alternative fuels. You can also access renew-
dealers will stock components manufac- from different dealers. Because distribu- http://www.irecusa.org/connect.htm able resource maps and solar radiation data.
tured by several companies. A variety of tion channels and dealer networks have If youre interested in connecting a home
National Technical Information Service
product options will help ensure that the expanded dramatically, the opportunity power system to your utilitys electric grid, a
(NTIS)
vast amount of information is posted on the
most appropriate components are avail- to shop around is much greater today. http://www.ntis.gov
Interconnection page on the Interstate
703-605-6050
able for your system. When a dealer rec- If possible, approach more than one Renewable Energy Councils Web site.
NTIS is the federal governments central
ommends a product, ask what the dealer about a draft design and cost esti- Micro-Hydro Design Manual: A Guide to source for the sale of engineering, scientific,
recommendation is based on, whether mate for your system. Small-Scale Water Power Schemes technical, and related business information.
there are consumer or independent A detailed guide to microhydropower, written
Net Metering (Green Power Network)
for development workers, but useful for the
http://www.eren.doe.gov/greenpower/net-
motivated do-it-yourselfer. It is filled with
metering/index.shtml
Fuel Cells: A Look Toward the Future illustrations, equations, and examples. Writ-
The Green Power Network provides exten-
ten by Adam Harvey and published by Inter-
sive information on net metering and net
W hat if your home heating system and your electricity were all powered by a fuel
that produces no emissions but water vapor?
mediate Technology Publications, London,
1993.
metering programs around the country. Visit
their Web site to learn more about this impor-
An unrealistic pipe dream? Not at all. The fuel is hydrogen, and the primary technology Micro-Hydro Power: A Guide for Devel- tant incentive for consumer investment in
opment Workers renewable energy generation.
that will allow you to use itthe fuel cellis advancing by leaps and bounds. Although written for development workers,
Solar Energy Industries Association
Researchers see the potential to use green power sourcessuch as wind power or solar this book will be helpful to anyone with an
(SEIA)
photovoltaic electricityto produce hydrogen by applying an electric current to two interest in microhydropower and some gen-
703-248-0702
eral technical experience. It covers stream
electrodes immersed in water. http://www.seia.org/
analysis, design concepts and equipment, cost
SEIA is the trade association for solar energy
In the foreseeable future, hydrogen is likely to come from natural gas or methanol. For and economics, implementation, and mainte-
manufacturers, dealers, distributors, contrac-
nance. Separate chapters are devoted to each
your home, this could mean that your natural gas supply is fed through a fuel processor tors, and installers. Contact SEIA to learn
system component. Written by P. Fraenkel
to make hydrogen, which feeds a fuel cell. The fuel cell provides all the electricity and more about how you can use solar energy in
and others and published by Intermediate
your home. Their membership list will help
heat you need. Prototypes of this technology are being tested now, with plans for full- Technology Publications, London, 1991.
you find providers in your area that can assist
scale production only a few years away. you in choosing and installing a system.

26 S E L F - G E N E R AT I O N MAKING YOUR OWN POWER 27


company been in business? Your local testing facility reports you can read, and
Self-Generation R E S O U R C E S
Better Business Bureau can advise you whether the products are listed with
American Wind Energy Association
whether any customers have registered Underwriters Laboratories. Microhydropower Handbook
(AWEA)
complaints about the dealer. You should Also, consider the service agreements This handbook contains detailed information
202-383-2500
on system design, construction, operations,
also ask the dealer how many systems and performance guarantees the dealer http://www.awea.org
economics, and legal and environmental
like yours he or she has designed and provides and the warranties given by the AWEA represents wind power plant develop-
issues. Published by E&G Idaho, Inc., for the
ers, wind turbine manufacturers, insurers, fin-
installed. Ask for references, and to product manufacturers. No system is U.S. Department of Energy, 1983. Available
anciers, and others involved in the wind
from the National Technical Information Ser-
speak with owners of systems similar to maintenance-free, nor will all compo- energy business. Call AWEA or visit their Web
vice, 1-800-553-6847. Order no. DE83006698.
the one you want to purchase. nents function flawlessly forever. When site to access a list of wind energy system
manufacturers and providers. National Renewable Energy Laboratory
A third consideration in selecting a problems emerge with your system, what (NREL)
system installer is the variety and quality services will the dealer provide? What Financing Solutions Web site:
http://www.nrel.gov
Homeowners
of products offered for each component warranties do the manufacturers pro- NREL is the U.S. Department of Energys pre-
http://www.eren.doe.gov/financing/homeown-
mier laboratory for renewable energy and
of the system. Because PV systems are vide? What costs should you expect to ers.html
energy efficiency research, development, and
often designed for a specific site, one pay, and which costs will be assumed by The homeowners section of this Web site pro-
deployment. The NREL Web site offers exten-
vides links to several resources on renewable
companys products may not be appro- the dealer and/or the manufacturer? sive information on wind energy, photo-
energy financing.
voltaics, geothermal energy, bioenergy, and
priate for all applications. Competent Finally, you should compare prices
Interconnection alternative fuels. You can also access renew-
dealers will stock components manufac- from different dealers. Because distribu- http://www.irecusa.org/connect.htm able resource maps and solar radiation data.
tured by several companies. A variety of tion channels and dealer networks have If youre interested in connecting a home
National Technical Information Service
product options will help ensure that the expanded dramatically, the opportunity power system to your utilitys electric grid, a
(NTIS)
vast amount of information is posted on the
most appropriate components are avail- to shop around is much greater today. http://www.ntis.gov
Interconnection page on the Interstate
703-605-6050
able for your system. When a dealer rec- If possible, approach more than one Renewable Energy Councils Web site.
NTIS is the federal governments central
ommends a product, ask what the dealer about a draft design and cost esti- Micro-Hydro Design Manual: A Guide to source for the sale of engineering, scientific,
recommendation is based on, whether mate for your system. Small-Scale Water Power Schemes technical, and related business information.
there are consumer or independent A detailed guide to microhydropower, written
Net Metering (Green Power Network)
for development workers, but useful for the
http://www.eren.doe.gov/greenpower/net-
motivated do-it-yourselfer. It is filled with
metering/index.shtml
Fuel Cells: A Look Toward the Future illustrations, equations, and examples. Writ-
The Green Power Network provides exten-
ten by Adam Harvey and published by Inter-
sive information on net metering and net
W hat if your home heating system and your electricity were all powered by a fuel
that produces no emissions but water vapor?
mediate Technology Publications, London,
1993.
metering programs around the country. Visit
their Web site to learn more about this impor-
An unrealistic pipe dream? Not at all. The fuel is hydrogen, and the primary technology Micro-Hydro Power: A Guide for Devel- tant incentive for consumer investment in
opment Workers renewable energy generation.
that will allow you to use itthe fuel cellis advancing by leaps and bounds. Although written for development workers,
Solar Energy Industries Association
Researchers see the potential to use green power sourcessuch as wind power or solar this book will be helpful to anyone with an
(SEIA)
photovoltaic electricityto produce hydrogen by applying an electric current to two interest in microhydropower and some gen-
703-248-0702
eral technical experience. It covers stream
electrodes immersed in water. http://www.seia.org/
analysis, design concepts and equipment, cost
SEIA is the trade association for solar energy
In the foreseeable future, hydrogen is likely to come from natural gas or methanol. For and economics, implementation, and mainte-
manufacturers, dealers, distributors, contrac-
nance. Separate chapters are devoted to each
your home, this could mean that your natural gas supply is fed through a fuel processor tors, and installers. Contact SEIA to learn
system component. Written by P. Fraenkel
to make hydrogen, which feeds a fuel cell. The fuel cell provides all the electricity and more about how you can use solar energy in
and others and published by Intermediate
your home. Their membership list will help
heat you need. Prototypes of this technology are being tested now, with plans for full- Technology Publications, London, 1991.
you find providers in your area that can assist
scale production only a few years away. you in choosing and installing a system.

26 S E L F - G E N E R AT I O N MAKING YOUR OWN POWER 27


RENEWABLE ENERGY AT HOME
Clean Choices for Heating, Cooling, and Lighting
solar energy in your home while creating The opposite is true in Alaska, where
a more comfortable living space. you want no overhang or shading at

H
eating and cooling uses more The ancient Anasazi tribe of the allyou need all the solar heat you can
energy and drains more energy American Southwest knew about solar get!
dollars than any other system in your energy, and they built their homes on Alaska and other cold climates are
home. Typically, 44% of your utility bill south-facing cliffs that would receive also the only locations where you would
goes for heating and cooling. Whats plenty of sunshine in the winter. The want to leave your east- and west-facing
more, heating and cooling systems in the suns low arc across the southern sky windows unshaded. The summer sun,
United States together emit more than a heated their mud-and-sandstone homes which actually rises in the northeast and
half-billion tons of carbon dioxide into effectively. In the summer, the suns sets in the northwest, blasts solar energy
the atmosphere each year, adding to higher arc in the sky allowed the cliff into the east and west sides of your
global warming. They also generate overhangs to shade their homes from home. This is especially noticeable near
about 24% of the nations sulfur dioxide the suns hot rays, keeping them cool. sunset, after your home has grown warm
and 12% of the nitrogen oxides, the chief Geothermal heat pumps deliver at least Today, you can use this same wisdom throughout the long summer day.
ingredients in acid rain. three times more energy than they consume. to take advantage of solar energy
Using solar energy and geothermal for your home. South-facing win-
Using the Sun for Heat and Light House roof (if eave Summer sun
heat pumps can help heat and cool your dows designed to let in is on south side) Roof stops here for
home while drastically cutting your The sun is the cleanest energy source for the suns heat will help lower your sloped south wall
utility bills and helping the environment. heating and lighting. Everyone uses solar energy bills, while overhangs Roof (glazing optional)
Solar energy and geothermal heat pumps energy to some extent: just opening your above those windows can prevent
drapes during the day and turning off Winter sun
can also heat your water, and solar the high summer sun from heating
energy can help light your home. This your lights is one way of using the abun- Optional
your home in the summer. Headwall and
sloped glazing
chapter suggests ways for you to accom- dant energy of the sun. Today, new House overhang
Shading windows with Optional
plish all these things. technologies can help you use more
overhangs and landscaping north wall
Glazing
A sunspace is a Ironically, one of the most
useful and attractive important aspects of using solar
addition to the home. energy in your home is assuring
House Knee wall
that you dont let too much solar founda-
energy into your home during the tion Grade
summer. This is most critical on
Sunspace Construction
your south-facing windows. Like
the ancient Anasazi, you need to use
overhangs to keep out the summer sun Choosing windows for solar
while letting in the winter sun. heating and lighting
In Hawaii, Guam, Puerto Rico, and Once your windows are properly
southern Florida, youll want to keep out shaded, youll want to choose windows
the suns heat year-round. You can use that will maximize your use of sunlight
large overhangs, but the simpler while minimizing energy leaks. The U. S.
approach would be to shade your south- Department of Energy (DOE) and the
facing windows with shrubs or trees. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

28 R E N E WA B L E E N E R G Y AT H O M E C L E A N C H O I C E S F O R H E AT I N G , C O O L I N G , A N D L I G H T I N G 29
RENEWABLE ENERGY AT HOME
Clean Choices for Heating, Cooling, and Lighting
solar energy in your home while creating The opposite is true in Alaska, where
a more comfortable living space. you want no overhang or shading at

H
eating and cooling uses more The ancient Anasazi tribe of the allyou need all the solar heat you can
energy and drains more energy American Southwest knew about solar get!
dollars than any other system in your energy, and they built their homes on Alaska and other cold climates are
home. Typically, 44% of your utility bill south-facing cliffs that would receive also the only locations where you would
goes for heating and cooling. Whats plenty of sunshine in the winter. The want to leave your east- and west-facing
more, heating and cooling systems in the suns low arc across the southern sky windows unshaded. The summer sun,
United States together emit more than a heated their mud-and-sandstone homes which actually rises in the northeast and
half-billion tons of carbon dioxide into effectively. In the summer, the suns sets in the northwest, blasts solar energy
the atmosphere each year, adding to higher arc in the sky allowed the cliff into the east and west sides of your
global warming. They also generate overhangs to shade their homes from home. This is especially noticeable near
about 24% of the nations sulfur dioxide the suns hot rays, keeping them cool. sunset, after your home has grown warm
and 12% of the nitrogen oxides, the chief Geothermal heat pumps deliver at least Today, you can use this same wisdom throughout the long summer day.
ingredients in acid rain. three times more energy than they consume. to take advantage of solar energy
Using solar energy and geothermal for your home. South-facing win-
Using the Sun for Heat and Light House roof (if eave Summer sun
heat pumps can help heat and cool your dows designed to let in is on south side) Roof stops here for
home while drastically cutting your The sun is the cleanest energy source for the suns heat will help lower your sloped south wall
utility bills and helping the environment. heating and lighting. Everyone uses solar energy bills, while overhangs Roof (glazing optional)
Solar energy and geothermal heat pumps energy to some extent: just opening your above those windows can prevent
drapes during the day and turning off Winter sun
can also heat your water, and solar the high summer sun from heating
energy can help light your home. This your lights is one way of using the abun- Optional
your home in the summer. Headwall and
sloped glazing
chapter suggests ways for you to accom- dant energy of the sun. Today, new House overhang
Shading windows with Optional
plish all these things. technologies can help you use more
overhangs and landscaping north wall
Glazing
A sunspace is a Ironically, one of the most
useful and attractive important aspects of using solar
addition to the home. energy in your home is assuring
House Knee wall
that you dont let too much solar founda-
energy into your home during the tion Grade
summer. This is most critical on
Sunspace Construction
your south-facing windows. Like
the ancient Anasazi, you need to use
overhangs to keep out the summer sun Choosing windows for solar
while letting in the winter sun. heating and lighting
In Hawaii, Guam, Puerto Rico, and Once your windows are properly
southern Florida, youll want to keep out shaded, youll want to choose windows
the suns heat year-round. You can use that will maximize your use of sunlight
large overhangs, but the simpler while minimizing energy leaks. The U. S.
approach would be to shade your south- Department of Energy (DOE) and the
facing windows with shrubs or trees. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

28 R E N E WA B L E E N E R G Y AT H O M E C L E A N C H O I C E S F O R H E AT I N G , C O O L I N G , A N D L I G H T I N G 29
Tucsons Armory Park del Sol to Feature Solar Technologies

have developed an Energy Star energy for later use. Its coldest at night,
designation for products meeting certain so the best use of solar energy is to
energy performance criteria. The energy absorb it with heat-retaining materials
efficient performance of windows, during the day, then allow those materi-
doors, and skylights varies by climate als to keep the house warm at night. One
zones. Look for new high-efficiency choice is heavy tile flooring; anyone who
Energy Star windows that can let in has a tile floor knows how it can still
the suns rays while insulating against feel warm hours after the sun has set.
the outside cold. In addition to the Brick and other masonry are also great B uilders, utility executives, and govern-
ment officials broke ground in late
of Housing and Urban Development
(HUD) and DOE. Armory Park del Sol
Energy Star label, look for the label materials; these can be used both in 1999 on Armory Park del Sol, a sustain- is a cooperative venture of John
provided by the National Fenestration sun-exposed floors and in walls. able, affordable housing development in Wesley Miller Companies, Global Solar
Rating Council (NFRC). The NFRC Tucson, Arizona. When completed in Energies, and Tucson Electric Power
2002, Armory Park del Sol will consist Company.
label includes the U-factoran
of 99 single-family homes on 14 acres, The homes will also maximize solar heat-
indication of how well the window priced from $90,000 to $200,000 and ing through dual-pane windows and ther-
insulatesand the solar heat gain higher for custom homes, all incorporat- mal mass storage in the exterior walls.
coefficient (SHGC), which ing cutting-edge solar technologies. Ultra-efficient surround insulation will
indicates how well a window The development is a national demon- help save energy, and the latest water-
admits solar heat. stration project of the Partnership for saving technologies will cut water use by
Of course, another aspect of Advancing Technology in Housing about 65% compared to typical Tucson
sunlight is the light itself, which (PATH), a presidential industry-govern- homes.
ment initiative led by the Department
can supplement electric lighting
while creating a brighter, more invit-
als, such as masonry, in south-facing home that uses a lot of energy for heat-
ing living space. Because the suns
walls. A layer of glass or plastic glazing ing, the effects of solar heating may be
visible light is actually a separate com-
is mounted on the outside of this wall, insignificant. But some super-insulated
ponent of solar energy than the
leaving a small airspace between the homes can use solar heating as their
suns heatwhich is actually nonvisible
glazing and the wall. This helps the wall main heating source. For information on
infrared lightthe two aspects of
absorb and retain heat. Trombe walls how to make your home more energy
sunlight can be handled differently by
absorb the suns heat during the day, efficient, see the companion to this
windows. For instance, a window with
then radiate that heat from the inside of brochure, Energy Savers: Tips on Sav-
a low SHGCdesigned to reject the
the wall into your home during the night. ing Energy & Money at Home.
suns heatcan still allow in most of the In a new home or a small remodeling project,
sunlight. The recent innovation of spec- south-facing windows admit heat and light.
Climate-Responsive Architecture Using More Solar Energy in
trally selective coatings allow windows Your Existing Home
So-called climate-responsive architec-
to reject heat without the dark tinting Some designers have even incorporated
ture is based on designing homes to use In an existing home, any renovation or
that was common on older heat-rejecting water into walls to help store solar
the smallest amount of energy for the window replacement project is an
films. energy.
climate they are in. Admitting or reject- opportunity to improve your homes
The idea of using heat-retaining mate-
Storing solar energy ing solar heat based on your climate is energy performance. Most existing
rials has led to other solar energy inno-
Letting solar radiation into your home the simplest example of this philosophy. homes have poorly insulated, leaky
vations. For instance, Trombe walls
is only half the story of using solar Climate-responsive architecture is windows that would be cost effective to
actually incorporate heat-storing materi-
energy; the other half is storing the solar based in part on making homes as effi- replace. When replacing windows,
cient as possible. In a poorly insulated
30 R E N E WA B L E E N E R G Y AT H O M E C L E A N C H O I C E S F O R H E AT I N G , C O O L I N G , A N D L I G H T I N G 31
Tucsons Armory Park del Sol to Feature Solar Technologies

have developed an Energy Star energy for later use. Its coldest at night,
designation for products meeting certain so the best use of solar energy is to
energy performance criteria. The energy absorb it with heat-retaining materials
efficient performance of windows, during the day, then allow those materi-
doors, and skylights varies by climate als to keep the house warm at night. One
zones. Look for new high-efficiency choice is heavy tile flooring; anyone who
Energy Star windows that can let in has a tile floor knows how it can still
the suns rays while insulating against feel warm hours after the sun has set.
the outside cold. In addition to the Brick and other masonry are also great B uilders, utility executives, and govern-
ment officials broke ground in late
of Housing and Urban Development
(HUD) and DOE. Armory Park del Sol
Energy Star label, look for the label materials; these can be used both in 1999 on Armory Park del Sol, a sustain- is a cooperative venture of John
provided by the National Fenestration sun-exposed floors and in walls. able, affordable housing development in Wesley Miller Companies, Global Solar
Rating Council (NFRC). The NFRC Tucson, Arizona. When completed in Energies, and Tucson Electric Power
2002, Armory Park del Sol will consist Company.
label includes the U-factoran
of 99 single-family homes on 14 acres, The homes will also maximize solar heat-
indication of how well the window priced from $90,000 to $200,000 and ing through dual-pane windows and ther-
insulatesand the solar heat gain higher for custom homes, all incorporat- mal mass storage in the exterior walls.
coefficient (SHGC), which ing cutting-edge solar technologies. Ultra-efficient surround insulation will
indicates how well a window The development is a national demon- help save energy, and the latest water-
admits solar heat. stration project of the Partnership for saving technologies will cut water use by
Of course, another aspect of Advancing Technology in Housing about 65% compared to typical Tucson
sunlight is the light itself, which (PATH), a presidential industry-govern- homes.
ment initiative led by the Department
can supplement electric lighting
while creating a brighter, more invit-
als, such as masonry, in south-facing home that uses a lot of energy for heat-
ing living space. Because the suns
walls. A layer of glass or plastic glazing ing, the effects of solar heating may be
visible light is actually a separate com-
is mounted on the outside of this wall, insignificant. But some super-insulated
ponent of solar energy than the
leaving a small airspace between the homes can use solar heating as their
suns heatwhich is actually nonvisible
glazing and the wall. This helps the wall main heating source. For information on
infrared lightthe two aspects of
absorb and retain heat. Trombe walls how to make your home more energy
sunlight can be handled differently by
absorb the suns heat during the day, efficient, see the companion to this
windows. For instance, a window with
then radiate that heat from the inside of brochure, Energy Savers: Tips on Sav-
a low SHGCdesigned to reject the
the wall into your home during the night. ing Energy & Money at Home.
suns heatcan still allow in most of the In a new home or a small remodeling project,
sunlight. The recent innovation of spec- south-facing windows admit heat and light.
Climate-Responsive Architecture Using More Solar Energy in
trally selective coatings allow windows Your Existing Home
So-called climate-responsive architec-
to reject heat without the dark tinting Some designers have even incorporated
ture is based on designing homes to use In an existing home, any renovation or
that was common on older heat-rejecting water into walls to help store solar
the smallest amount of energy for the window replacement project is an
films. energy.
climate they are in. Admitting or reject- opportunity to improve your homes
The idea of using heat-retaining mate-
Storing solar energy ing solar heat based on your climate is energy performance. Most existing
rials has led to other solar energy inno-
Letting solar radiation into your home the simplest example of this philosophy. homes have poorly insulated, leaky
vations. For instance, Trombe walls
is only half the story of using solar Climate-responsive architecture is windows that would be cost effective to
actually incorporate heat-storing materi-
energy; the other half is storing the solar based in part on making homes as effi- replace. When replacing windows,
cient as possible. In a poorly insulated
30 R E N E WA B L E E N E R G Y AT H O M E C L E A N C H O I C E S F O R H E AT I N G , C O O L I N G , A N D L I G H T I N G 31
consider increasing the windows on the energy, you might even consider adding developed one of the easier programs
south side of your home and decreasing a sunspace. to use, called RESFEN, which is avail-
the windows on the north, east, and Although many of the choices for able free of charge. The program
west sides. enhancing the solar energy performance helps you examine the energy per-
Also, look for opportunities to of your home are straightforward, based formance of windows in your home.
increase the use of natural sunlight in on the concepts presented here, some-
your home, because this reduces your times the correct approach is not so Using Solar Energy in a New
energy costs for lighting. Although win- obvious. For instance, if you live in a cli- Home, or When Extensively
dows are one part of natural lighting, mate thats both hot in the summer and Renovating an Old One
cold in the winteras is most of the An architect can examine the energy
United Statesand youre not able to performance of your house in terms
add overhangs to your south-facing win- of how each of the componentsthe
dows, would it be better for them to insulation, windows, heating and
admit or reject solar energy? Or if youre cooling system, ventilation, and
This home was built to take advantage
totally renovating the south side of your lighting all work together. This of southern exposure.
home, what would be the ideal amount approach, called whole-house design,
of windows? allows the architect to optimize each of a new house, solar energy features can
For questions such as these, there these be incorporated at little or no additional
are many computer programs available, components for your location to achieve cost. The only key requirement is for the
from the very simple to the extremely the best energy performance at an house to have an orientation to the
Brick retains heat during the day and complex. The U.S. Department of Energy economical price. south to take full advantage of the win-
releases it at night.
When using a whole-house design for ter sunlight.
you might also consider eliminating An architect can design an addition that A typical benefit of a whole-house
is attractive and saves energy.
unnecessary internal walls to create a design is that your heating system can
more open space in your home. This often be downsized because of the use
allows the sunlight to penetrate deeper of insulation, high-efficiency windows,
into your home, creating a brighter, and solar energy. Not only does this save
more comfortable living space. Dividing you money up-front on the heating sys-
walls that dont reach to the ceiling can tem, but it also allows the heating sys-
be used to provide some structure while tem to operate more efficiently, because
still maintaining an open environment. most systems perform best when theyre
The use of light-colored paints with a used at or near their full capacity.
matte finish will help reflect and diffuse
the sunlight throughout your home. Geothermal Heat Pumps
Renovations offer options to not only One of the most energy-efficient options
improve windows and lighting, but also for heating and cooling your home
to add heat-storing materials in areas draws on another form of renewable
warmed by the winter sun. In homes energygeothermal energy, or heat from
where its difficult to make use of solar the earth. This is not the hot steam and
heat that comes from deep underground

32 R E N E WA B L E E N E R G Y AT H O M E C L E A N C H O I C E S F O R H E AT I N G , C O O L I N G , A N D L I G H T I N G 33
consider increasing the windows on the energy, you might even consider adding developed one of the easier programs
south side of your home and decreasing a sunspace. to use, called RESFEN, which is avail-
the windows on the north, east, and Although many of the choices for able free of charge. The program
west sides. enhancing the solar energy performance helps you examine the energy per-
Also, look for opportunities to of your home are straightforward, based formance of windows in your home.
increase the use of natural sunlight in on the concepts presented here, some-
your home, because this reduces your times the correct approach is not so Using Solar Energy in a New
energy costs for lighting. Although win- obvious. For instance, if you live in a cli- Home, or When Extensively
dows are one part of natural lighting, mate thats both hot in the summer and Renovating an Old One
cold in the winteras is most of the An architect can examine the energy
United Statesand youre not able to performance of your house in terms
add overhangs to your south-facing win- of how each of the componentsthe
dows, would it be better for them to insulation, windows, heating and
admit or reject solar energy? Or if youre cooling system, ventilation, and
This home was built to take advantage
totally renovating the south side of your lighting all work together. This of southern exposure.
home, what would be the ideal amount approach, called whole-house design,
of windows? allows the architect to optimize each of a new house, solar energy features can
For questions such as these, there these be incorporated at little or no additional
are many computer programs available, components for your location to achieve cost. The only key requirement is for the
from the very simple to the extremely the best energy performance at an house to have an orientation to the
Brick retains heat during the day and complex. The U.S. Department of Energy economical price. south to take full advantage of the win-
releases it at night.
When using a whole-house design for ter sunlight.
you might also consider eliminating An architect can design an addition that A typical benefit of a whole-house
is attractive and saves energy.
unnecessary internal walls to create a design is that your heating system can
more open space in your home. This often be downsized because of the use
allows the sunlight to penetrate deeper of insulation, high-efficiency windows,
into your home, creating a brighter, and solar energy. Not only does this save
more comfortable living space. Dividing you money up-front on the heating sys-
walls that dont reach to the ceiling can tem, but it also allows the heating sys-
be used to provide some structure while tem to operate more efficiently, because
still maintaining an open environment. most systems perform best when theyre
The use of light-colored paints with a used at or near their full capacity.
matte finish will help reflect and diffuse
the sunlight throughout your home. Geothermal Heat Pumps
Renovations offer options to not only One of the most energy-efficient options
improve windows and lighting, but also for heating and cooling your home
to add heat-storing materials in areas draws on another form of renewable
warmed by the winter sun. In homes energygeothermal energy, or heat from
where its difficult to make use of solar the earth. This is not the hot steam and
heat that comes from deep underground

32 R E N E WA B L E E N E R G Y AT H O M E C L E A N C H O I C E S F O R H E AT I N G , C O O L I N G , A N D L I G H T I N G 33
Geothermal Heat Pump

(discussed on page 11). Rather, pollution. These options are often twice water. If an antifreeze solution is used,
geothermal heat pumps draw as efficient, and much cleaner, than the system will also circulate it between
on the relatively stable older boilers and furnaces. the solar collector and a storage tank, but
temperatures of the Look for the Energy Star label when water is circulated through coils in the
ground surrounding Heat exchanger buying new heating and cooling equip- tank to provide your hot water. In some
your home as a in cooling mode ment, and also check the EnergyGuide cases, an additional tank is then used to
source of heat in label. Although the minimum furnace store the hot water.
the winter and cool- efficiency is set at 78% by U.S. law, some If youre currently using an electric
ing in the summer. models can achieve efficiencies as high water heater, solar water heating is a
Geothermal heat as 95%. cost-effective alternative. In fact, a study
pumps are usually installed There is another abundant source of by the Florida Solar Energy Center
when a house is built, because Underground piping renewable energy that might work for
they require the installation of a utilizes the earths your home: wood heat. Todays modern
year-round
large loop of tubing at least sev- wood stoves can generate heat effi-
temperature for
eral feet under the surface. For heating and cooling. ciently from wood with low emissions.
some systems, narrow trenches
are dug to install the tubing; other Heating Water with Solar Energy
systems use vertical loops that can be and efficiently. In fact, geothermal heat Another way to use renewable energy
installed much like drilling a wella pumps are at least three times more in your home is to use solar energy for
simpler process for retrofits to existing efficient than the most energy efficient water heating. Todays systems carry a
homes. furnaces on the market today. rating that tells you how well theyll meet
Some models also use geothermal The relatively stable temperatures of your hot water needs. And they provide a
energy to heat water for your home. the ground allow geothermal heat pumps clean, reliable, and cost-effective source
These so-called hydronic systems save to operate more efficiently than conven- of hot water.
you money by eliminating the need for a tional air-source heat pumps, which Solar water heaters can be either
separate water heater and save energy exchange heat from the home with the active or passive. An active system uses
Todays solar water heaters are efficient,
by heating water efficiently. outside air rather than the ground. an electric pump to circulate the heat
reliable, and attractive.
Just as a refrigerator uses electricity During hot summer days, its much transfer fluid; a passive system has no
to keep the inside cool, while releasing easier to release heat into the cool earth pump. showed solar water-heater owners saved
heat into your kitchen, a geothermal than into the hot air. Likewise, during Most systems use a roof-mounted as much as 50% to 85% annually on their
heat pump can keep the inside of your frigid winter days, its easier to draw solar collector, so youll need a south-fac- utility bills as compared to electric water
home cool while releasing heat into the heat from the ground than from the ing roof with good solar exposure. heating. If youre building a new home,
cool earth. In the winter, this process is much colder air. For these reasons, A typical solar water heating system the cost of the system can be spread over
reversed, so the geothermal heat pump geothermal heat pumps operate circulates water or an antifreeze solution the term of your mortgage. The only pollu-
draws heat from the earth and releases efficiently even in harsh climates. through this solar collector, where the tion generated by solar water heating is
it into your home. suns heat warms the liquid. the pollution produced in generating elec-
Because geothermal heat pumps actu- Other Energy Sources If water is used, the system circulates tricity to power the pumps and controls.
ally move heat between your home and Air-source heat pumps and high- the water between the solar collector and Some systems even operate without
the earth, rather than creating heat by efficiency gas furnaces can heat homes a storage tank in your house, and the pumps, reducing the environmental
burning fuels, they operate very cleanly efficiently while minimizing air storage tank serves as your source of hot effects to a negligible amount and helps

34 R E N E WA B L E E N E R G Y AT H O M E C L E A N C H O I C E S F O R H E AT I N G , C O O L I N G , A N D L I G H T I N G 35
Geothermal Heat Pump

(discussed on page 11). Rather, pollution. These options are often twice water. If an antifreeze solution is used,
geothermal heat pumps draw as efficient, and much cleaner, than the system will also circulate it between
on the relatively stable older boilers and furnaces. the solar collector and a storage tank, but
temperatures of the Look for the Energy Star label when water is circulated through coils in the
ground surrounding Heat exchanger buying new heating and cooling equip- tank to provide your hot water. In some
your home as a in cooling mode ment, and also check the EnergyGuide cases, an additional tank is then used to
source of heat in label. Although the minimum furnace store the hot water.
the winter and cool- efficiency is set at 78% by U.S. law, some If youre currently using an electric
ing in the summer. models can achieve efficiencies as high water heater, solar water heating is a
Geothermal heat as 95%. cost-effective alternative. In fact, a study
pumps are usually installed There is another abundant source of by the Florida Solar Energy Center
when a house is built, because Underground piping renewable energy that might work for
they require the installation of a utilizes the earths your home: wood heat. Todays modern
year-round
large loop of tubing at least sev- wood stoves can generate heat effi-
temperature for
eral feet under the surface. For heating and cooling. ciently from wood with low emissions.
some systems, narrow trenches
are dug to install the tubing; other Heating Water with Solar Energy
systems use vertical loops that can be and efficiently. In fact, geothermal heat Another way to use renewable energy
installed much like drilling a wella pumps are at least three times more in your home is to use solar energy for
simpler process for retrofits to existing efficient than the most energy efficient water heating. Todays systems carry a
homes. furnaces on the market today. rating that tells you how well theyll meet
Some models also use geothermal The relatively stable temperatures of your hot water needs. And they provide a
energy to heat water for your home. the ground allow geothermal heat pumps clean, reliable, and cost-effective source
These so-called hydronic systems save to operate more efficiently than conven- of hot water.
you money by eliminating the need for a tional air-source heat pumps, which Solar water heaters can be either
separate water heater and save energy exchange heat from the home with the active or passive. An active system uses
Todays solar water heaters are efficient,
by heating water efficiently. outside air rather than the ground. an electric pump to circulate the heat
reliable, and attractive.
Just as a refrigerator uses electricity During hot summer days, its much transfer fluid; a passive system has no
to keep the inside cool, while releasing easier to release heat into the cool earth pump. showed solar water-heater owners saved
heat into your kitchen, a geothermal than into the hot air. Likewise, during Most systems use a roof-mounted as much as 50% to 85% annually on their
heat pump can keep the inside of your frigid winter days, its easier to draw solar collector, so youll need a south-fac- utility bills as compared to electric water
home cool while releasing heat into the heat from the ground than from the ing roof with good solar exposure. heating. If youre building a new home,
cool earth. In the winter, this process is much colder air. For these reasons, A typical solar water heating system the cost of the system can be spread over
reversed, so the geothermal heat pump geothermal heat pumps operate circulates water or an antifreeze solution the term of your mortgage. The only pollu-
draws heat from the earth and releases efficiently even in harsh climates. through this solar collector, where the tion generated by solar water heating is
it into your home. suns heat warms the liquid. the pollution produced in generating elec-
Because geothermal heat pumps actu- Other Energy Sources If water is used, the system circulates tricity to power the pumps and controls.
ally move heat between your home and Air-source heat pumps and high- the water between the solar collector and Some systems even operate without
the earth, rather than creating heat by efficiency gas furnaces can heat homes a storage tank in your house, and the pumps, reducing the environmental
burning fuels, they operate very cleanly efficiently while minimizing air storage tank serves as your source of hot effects to a negligible amount and helps

34 R E N E WA B L E E N E R G Y AT H O M E C L E A N C H O I C E S F O R H E AT I N G , C O O L I N G , A N D L I G H T I N G 35
reduce greenhouse gases. When a solar through your local electric utility. Consult
Renewables for Heating and Lighting R E S O U R C E S
water heater replaces an electric water with your state energy office, or see the
Efficient Windows Collaborative RESFEN Windows Software
heater, the electricity displaced over 20 resources listed at the end of this chapter
http://www.efficientwindows.org/ http://windows.lbl.gov/software/resfen/
years represents more than 50 tons of for other information sources. Access helpful guidelines on window selec- resfen.html
avoided carbon dioxide (a greenhouse tion from this site. This software package from the U.S. Depart-
gas) emissions alone. ment of Energy helps you evaluate windows.
Energy Star To obtain a copy of RESFEN, fax your
Take the same care in choosing a http://www.energystar.gov request, with your mailing address, to
solar water heater that you would in This site provides information on how to Software Request at: 510-486-4089.
Flat-plate select Energy Star windows, boilers, fur- Or mail your request to:
purchasing any major appliance. Your
collector naces, heat pumps, and other Energy Star Software Request
best protection is to consider only Hot water appliances and products.
to house Windows & Daylighting Group
certified and labeled systems. The Solar Financing Solutions Web Site: MS 90-3111
Rating and Certification Corporation Cold water Homeowners Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
supply http://www.eren.doe.gov/financing/homeown- Berkeley, CA 94720
(SRCC), a nonprofit, independent third- Antifreeze
fluid in Solar storage/ ers.html Solar Benefits Model
party organization formed by the solar The homeowners section of this Web site pro-
collector backup water http://www.eren.doe.gov/solarbuildings/
industry, state energy officials, and con- loop only heater vides links to several resources on renewable sbm.html
sumer advocates certifies and rates solar energy financing. This Web site allows you to calculate the ben-
Double-walled efits of including a solar water heating system
water heaters. heat exchanger
Geo-Heat Center
http://www.oit.edu/~geoheat in your new home.
As with all renewable energy systems,
Pump 541-885-1750
you should check to see if any special Solar Rating and Certification
The Geo-Heat Center provides technical/eco- Corporation (SRCC)
rebates or financing deals are provided nomic analysis for those actively involved in http://www.solar-rating.org/about.htm
Active, Closed-Loop Solar Water Heater geothermal development. Technical material
in your state. Rebates are often offered 407-638-1537
on resources, direct use equipment, design SRCC publishes the thermal-
schemes, and software are also available. performance ratings of solar energy equip-
Renewable Energy at Home: A Look Toward the Future ment. They also offer a directory of certified
Geothermal Heat Pump Consortium
solar systems and collectors as well as a
T oday, most new home buyers get to choose their carpets, countertops, flooring, and (GHPC)
http://www.ghpc.org/ document (OG-300-91) that details the
other decorative options. Soon, the choices might include adding a solar water operating guidelines and minimum standards
1-888-ALL-4-GEO (255-4436)
heater, a geothermal heat pump, or heat-storing Trombe walls. Builders are beginning The Geothermal Heat Pump Consortium for certifying solar hot-water systems.
to offer green homes that save energy and water while increasing comfort. Climate- provides extensive information on the use of The Sustainable Buildings Industry
geothermal heat pumps.
responsive architecture along with whole-house design principles will drastically reduce Council (SBIC)
home energy use. And lower utility bills mean homeowners will have more money to Home Energy Saver http://www.sbicouncil.org/
http://hes.lbl.gov/HES The SBIC Web site provides design software
spend turning that house into a home. and other resources for saving energy in
This site, hosted by the Lawrence Berkeley
National Laboratory, is designed to help con- buildings and effectively using solar energy.
sumers identify the best ways to save energy
Renewables for Heating and Lighting R E S O U R C E S in their homes and access many how to
resources. You can use an online calculator to
American Council for an Energy Efficient Alliance to Save Energy compute your homes energy use and plug in
Economy (ACEEE) 202-857-0666
energy efficiency improvements to see how
202-429-0063 http://www.ase.org
http://www.aceee.org The alliance to Save Energy is a nonprofit coali- much savings you can realize.
ACEEE is a nonprofit organization dedicated to tion of business, government, environmental, and
advancing energy efficiency as a means of pro- consumer leaders who promote the efficient and
moting both economic prosperity and environ- clean use of energy. Contact the alliance for infor-
mental protection. ACEEE provides publications mation and publications on energy efficiency.
and guides on making your home more energy
efficient.

36 R E N E WA B L E E N E R G Y AT H O M E C L E A N C H O I C E S F O R H E AT I N G , C O O L I N G , A N D L I G H T I N G 37
reduce greenhouse gases. When a solar through your local electric utility. Consult
Renewables for Heating and Lighting R E S O U R C E S
water heater replaces an electric water with your state energy office, or see the
Efficient Windows Collaborative RESFEN Windows Software
heater, the electricity displaced over 20 resources listed at the end of this chapter
http://www.efficientwindows.org/ http://windows.lbl.gov/software/resfen/
years represents more than 50 tons of for other information sources. Access helpful guidelines on window selec- resfen.html
avoided carbon dioxide (a greenhouse tion from this site. This software package from the U.S. Depart-
gas) emissions alone. ment of Energy helps you evaluate windows.
Energy Star To obtain a copy of RESFEN, fax your
Take the same care in choosing a http://www.energystar.gov request, with your mailing address, to
solar water heater that you would in This site provides information on how to Software Request at: 510-486-4089.
Flat-plate select Energy Star windows, boilers, fur- Or mail your request to:
purchasing any major appliance. Your
collector naces, heat pumps, and other Energy Star Software Request
best protection is to consider only Hot water appliances and products.
to house Windows & Daylighting Group
certified and labeled systems. The Solar Financing Solutions Web Site: MS 90-3111
Rating and Certification Corporation Cold water Homeowners Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
supply http://www.eren.doe.gov/financing/homeown- Berkeley, CA 94720
(SRCC), a nonprofit, independent third- Antifreeze
fluid in Solar storage/ ers.html Solar Benefits Model
party organization formed by the solar The homeowners section of this Web site pro-
collector backup water http://www.eren.doe.gov/solarbuildings/
industry, state energy officials, and con- loop only heater vides links to several resources on renewable sbm.html
sumer advocates certifies and rates solar energy financing. This Web site allows you to calculate the ben-
Double-walled efits of including a solar water heating system
water heaters. heat exchanger
Geo-Heat Center
http://www.oit.edu/~geoheat in your new home.
As with all renewable energy systems,
Pump 541-885-1750
you should check to see if any special Solar Rating and Certification
The Geo-Heat Center provides technical/eco- Corporation (SRCC)
rebates or financing deals are provided nomic analysis for those actively involved in http://www.solar-rating.org/about.htm
Active, Closed-Loop Solar Water Heater geothermal development. Technical material
in your state. Rebates are often offered 407-638-1537
on resources, direct use equipment, design SRCC publishes the thermal-
schemes, and software are also available. performance ratings of solar energy equip-
Renewable Energy at Home: A Look Toward the Future ment. They also offer a directory of certified
Geothermal Heat Pump Consortium
solar systems and collectors as well as a
T oday, most new home buyers get to choose their carpets, countertops, flooring, and (GHPC)
http://www.ghpc.org/ document (OG-300-91) that details the
other decorative options. Soon, the choices might include adding a solar water operating guidelines and minimum standards
1-888-ALL-4-GEO (255-4436)
heater, a geothermal heat pump, or heat-storing Trombe walls. Builders are beginning The Geothermal Heat Pump Consortium for certifying solar hot-water systems.
to offer green homes that save energy and water while increasing comfort. Climate- provides extensive information on the use of The Sustainable Buildings Industry
geothermal heat pumps.
responsive architecture along with whole-house design principles will drastically reduce Council (SBIC)
home energy use. And lower utility bills mean homeowners will have more money to Home Energy Saver http://www.sbicouncil.org/
http://hes.lbl.gov/HES The SBIC Web site provides design software
spend turning that house into a home. and other resources for saving energy in
This site, hosted by the Lawrence Berkeley
National Laboratory, is designed to help con- buildings and effectively using solar energy.
sumers identify the best ways to save energy
Renewables for Heating and Lighting R E S O U R C E S in their homes and access many how to
resources. You can use an online calculator to
American Council for an Energy Efficient Alliance to Save Energy compute your homes energy use and plug in
Economy (ACEEE) 202-857-0666
energy efficiency improvements to see how
202-429-0063 http://www.ase.org
http://www.aceee.org The alliance to Save Energy is a nonprofit coali- much savings you can realize.
ACEEE is a nonprofit organization dedicated to tion of business, government, environmental, and
advancing energy efficiency as a means of pro- consumer leaders who promote the efficient and
moting both economic prosperity and environ- clean use of energy. Contact the alliance for infor-
mental protection. ACEEE provides publications mation and publications on energy efficiency.
and guides on making your home more energy
efficient.

36 R E N E WA B L E E N E R G Y AT H O M E C L E A N C H O I C E S F O R H E AT I N G , C O O L I N G , A N D L I G H T I N G 37
THE CLEAN ENERGY CHOICE IN Ethanol and methanol are becoming more
common at service stations across the country.

TRANSPORTATION Clean Fuels and Vehicles


duced from biomass sources.

O
ne of the more challenging ways air quality standards for ozone. Corn More renewable fuels are being devel-
to use clean energy is in fueling like other plants, trees, and organic oped and will be available in increasing
our cars. Advanced transportation tech- materialsis considered a biomass quantities in the coming years. For diesel
nologiesincluding fuel cells, electric energy source. engines, biodiesel fuels have been devel-
motors, advanced engines, improved To make greater use of ethanol, flex- oped from vegetable oils and animal fats.
materials, and other technologiesaim fuel vehicles are now available that can These renewable-source fuels have the
to reduce pollution and minimize petro- be fueled with either gasoline or E85a benefit of burning cleaner and with less
leum fuel use in cars, trucks, buses, fleet mixture of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. soot than regular diesel fuel.
vehicles, and public transportation. This flexibility allows you to use E85
Compared to current commercial vehi- where its available, but still fuel your Fuel Cells
cles, advanced vehicles achieve higher car with gasoline in areas where E85 is greatly expand the production of ethanol The fuel cell is a device that converts
fuel economies and make greater use not available. from corn, and also improve its econom- the chemical energy of a fuel directly
of alternative fuels. The most common One issue with producing ethanol ics. In the future, there will be dedicated into usable electricity and heat without
alternative fuels in use are biodiesel, from corn is its limited ability to meet energy crops that will supply our combustion. Fuel cells are similar to bat-
ethanol, hydrogen, methanol and our transportation energy needs. All the nations vehicles with ethanol. teries in that both produce a DC current
natural gas. corn produced in the country would not Researchers have also developed by means of an electrochemical process.
generate enough ethanol to fuel our the technology to convert other forms Unlike batteries, however, fuel cells use
Alternative Fuels: Ethanol vehicles. To address this issue, new tech- of biomasssuch as wood chips, food reactants that are stored externally and
Ethanol is the primary U.S. fuel made nologies are being developed to convert waste, grass, or even trashinto ethanol. operate continuously as long as they are
from renewable energy sources. Ethanol other biomass sources into ethanol. For supplied with fuel. Any hydrogen-rich
produced from corn is used as a gasoline instance, the ability to convert not only
Other Alternative Fuels material can theoretically serve as a
additive to provide additional oxygena- corn, but also crop residues such as In addition to ethanol, a wide variety of source of hydrogen for fuel cells. These
tion in cities that have trouble meeting cornstalks and cobs into ethanol, will energy sources other than gasoline or currently include natural gas and petro-
petroleum diesel fuel can be used to fuel leum distillates, as well as renewable
Corn and other types vehiclesthese are clean fuels, but most fuels such as methanol, ethanol, or
of biomass produce
of them are not renewable. hydrogen.
ethanol fuel.
Natural gas vehicles are ideal urban Fuel cell vehicles have the potential to
commuter cars, because many cities now reduce harmful emissions and consump-
offer a number of natural gas refueling tion of nonrenewable energy sources
stations. The vehicles operate efficiently, because they are clean and efficient.
with very low tailpipe emissions. Natural Fuel cells are a technology that could
gas is also ideal for public transporta- change our future a device that could
tion, such as buses, taxis, limousines, or power automobiles with little or no
shuttles. tailpipe emissions, provide energy to
Methanol is another alternative fuel, homes and factories with virtually no
and like ethanol, it is usually mixed with smokestack pollution and use renew-
15% gasoline to form a fuel called M85. able, domestic energy at high efficiency
Methanol is currently produced from while creating thousands of jobs.
natural gas, although it can also be pro- Fuel cells are one of the three power

38 T H E C L E A N E N E R G Y C H O I C E I N T R A N S P O R TAT I O N CLEAN FUELS AND VEHICLES 39


THE CLEAN ENERGY CHOICE IN Ethanol and methanol are becoming more
common at service stations across the country.

TRANSPORTATION Clean Fuels and Vehicles


duced from biomass sources.

O
ne of the more challenging ways air quality standards for ozone. Corn More renewable fuels are being devel-
to use clean energy is in fueling like other plants, trees, and organic oped and will be available in increasing
our cars. Advanced transportation tech- materialsis considered a biomass quantities in the coming years. For diesel
nologiesincluding fuel cells, electric energy source. engines, biodiesel fuels have been devel-
motors, advanced engines, improved To make greater use of ethanol, flex- oped from vegetable oils and animal fats.
materials, and other technologiesaim fuel vehicles are now available that can These renewable-source fuels have the
to reduce pollution and minimize petro- be fueled with either gasoline or E85a benefit of burning cleaner and with less
leum fuel use in cars, trucks, buses, fleet mixture of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. soot than regular diesel fuel.
vehicles, and public transportation. This flexibility allows you to use E85
Compared to current commercial vehi- where its available, but still fuel your Fuel Cells
cles, advanced vehicles achieve higher car with gasoline in areas where E85 is greatly expand the production of ethanol The fuel cell is a device that converts
fuel economies and make greater use not available. from corn, and also improve its econom- the chemical energy of a fuel directly
of alternative fuels. The most common One issue with producing ethanol ics. In the future, there will be dedicated into usable electricity and heat without
alternative fuels in use are biodiesel, from corn is its limited ability to meet energy crops that will supply our combustion. Fuel cells are similar to bat-
ethanol, hydrogen, methanol and our transportation energy needs. All the nations vehicles with ethanol. teries in that both produce a DC current
natural gas. corn produced in the country would not Researchers have also developed by means of an electrochemical process.
generate enough ethanol to fuel our the technology to convert other forms Unlike batteries, however, fuel cells use
Alternative Fuels: Ethanol vehicles. To address this issue, new tech- of biomasssuch as wood chips, food reactants that are stored externally and
Ethanol is the primary U.S. fuel made nologies are being developed to convert waste, grass, or even trashinto ethanol. operate continuously as long as they are
from renewable energy sources. Ethanol other biomass sources into ethanol. For supplied with fuel. Any hydrogen-rich
produced from corn is used as a gasoline instance, the ability to convert not only
Other Alternative Fuels material can theoretically serve as a
additive to provide additional oxygena- corn, but also crop residues such as In addition to ethanol, a wide variety of source of hydrogen for fuel cells. These
tion in cities that have trouble meeting cornstalks and cobs into ethanol, will energy sources other than gasoline or currently include natural gas and petro-
petroleum diesel fuel can be used to fuel leum distillates, as well as renewable
Corn and other types vehiclesthese are clean fuels, but most fuels such as methanol, ethanol, or
of biomass produce
of them are not renewable. hydrogen.
ethanol fuel.
Natural gas vehicles are ideal urban Fuel cell vehicles have the potential to
commuter cars, because many cities now reduce harmful emissions and consump-
offer a number of natural gas refueling tion of nonrenewable energy sources
stations. The vehicles operate efficiently, because they are clean and efficient.
with very low tailpipe emissions. Natural Fuel cells are a technology that could
gas is also ideal for public transporta- change our future a device that could
tion, such as buses, taxis, limousines, or power automobiles with little or no
shuttles. tailpipe emissions, provide energy to
Methanol is another alternative fuel, homes and factories with virtually no
and like ethanol, it is usually mixed with smokestack pollution and use renew-
15% gasoline to form a fuel called M85. able, domestic energy at high efficiency
Methanol is currently produced from while creating thousands of jobs.
natural gas, although it can also be pro- Fuel cells are one of the three power

38 T H E C L E A N E N E R G Y C H O I C E I N T R A N S P O R TAT I O N CLEAN FUELS AND VEHICLES 39


Tips on How to Drive Greener Today

system technologies currently being con- Its possible for the electricity to come A dvanced vehicles of the future will
provide much better fuel economy
Dont overfill the tank of your car, and
use the fuel with the lowest recom-
sidered for an 80-miles-per-gallon vehicle from renewable energy sources, making and emissions savings than todays con- mended octane number. Each gallon
under the Partnership for a New Genera- the electric car a clean car in every way. ventional vehicles. However, there are of spilled or evaporated gas puts as
only a few alternative fuel vehicles avail- much hydrocarbon in the air as 7500
tion of Vehicles (see box on page 42). The simplest way is to purchase 100%
able for sale today. Until you are able miles worth going out the tailpipe of
Many of the major automakers have green power to recharge the car. Some and ready to buy a clean and efficient a car.
demonstrated direct hydrogen fuel cell cities have also installed recharging sta- alternative fuel vehicle, here are some Reduce driving to work and on
systems that should have the potential to tions with roofs to shelter the cars as things you can do today to drive errands, and carpool when you can.
be competitive with internal combustion they refuel. These roofs are covered with "greener" with your current vehicles. By choosing to live closer to your job
engine propulsion systems. photovoltaic solar panels, so that they and shopping near home, youll save
Maintain your car responsibly by
actually generate the electricity to refuel time, gas, and pollution. Combine
keeping it tuned, the tires properly
Electricity as a Fuel trips when you can to save gas and
the cars. inflated and wheels aligned. Have
reduce by more than half the air pol-
Electricity is considered an alternative your oil changed at an oil/lube sta-
lution from cars caused by cold starts.
fuel when it is used to charge an electric Hybrid Vehicles tion which recycles every drop of oil.
And keep the air and fuel filters Avoid warming up your car in the
vehicle. Today, electric vehicles are As we move toward vehicles that run on
clean. Youll get better gas mileage, winter. It doesnt need it, and a car
available from most major automakers. renewable fuels, its also important to pollute less, and extend engine and idling in the driveway wastes gas
Ford Motor Company, for instance, reduce the amount of fuel used by vehi- tire life. and pollutes the air.
recently received an order from the U.S. cles. While saving energy, fuel-efficient Work and study at home when possi-
Postal Service for 500 electric vehicles cars also produce less air pollution. ble. If everyone would stay at home For more tips on driving green, visit
the largest U.S. order for electric vehi- One approach to increasing automo- one extra day a week, wed save http://www.ott.doe.gov/consumer/drive_
cles in history. tive efficiency is the hybrid electric over 10% of the gasoline that cars greener.html.
The real question for electric cars is, vehicle. These vehicles are powered by use and the pollution they create.
where does the electricity come from? both an engine and an electric motor,
and include a battery pack large enough tric vehicles, hybrid electric vehicles do follow suit with their own hybrid electric
to continue providing power to the elec- not need to be plugged in. cars in the near future.
tric motor under most normal driving The year 2000 marked a turning point One key to the high efficiency of hybrid
conditions. The electricity needed to for hybrid electric vehicles in the United electric vehicles is the fact that although
maintain the charge of the batteries is States, with the first sale of hybrid elec- a lot of power is needed to accelerate a
generated by the engine, so unlike elec- tric cars by Honda. The Honda Insight, car, a relatively small amount is needed
initially released as a two-seat vehicle, to keep it rolling at a constant speed.
combines a three-cylinder gasoline engine Standard gasoline or diesel cars need a
with an electric motor that provides an large, powerful engine for acceleration,
extra boost while accelerating and climb- but suffer an efficiency penalty when that
ing hills. The Insight achieves a remark- same large engine is used to cruise at
DaimlerChrysler and
able 70 miles to the gallon on the highway speeds. A hybrid electric vehicle
Toyota are among
automakers developing highway, according to U.S. Environmental uses just a small engine for cruising, but
hybrid electric vehicles. Protection Agency mileage estimates. boosts its power with the electric motor
The Toyota Prius, a four-door sedan, during acceleration.
combines a four-cylinder gasoline engine Another key to high efficiency in these
with an electric motor, working in tan- vehicles is power management, which is
dem to save energy. DaimlerChrysler, really the tricky part. The motor and
Ford, and General Motors are expected to engine must be switched on and off as

40 T H E C L E A N E N E R G Y C H O I C E I N T R A N S P O R TAT I O N CLEAN FUELS AND VEHICLES 41


Tips on How to Drive Greener Today

system technologies currently being con- Its possible for the electricity to come A dvanced vehicles of the future will
provide much better fuel economy
Dont overfill the tank of your car, and
use the fuel with the lowest recom-
sidered for an 80-miles-per-gallon vehicle from renewable energy sources, making and emissions savings than todays con- mended octane number. Each gallon
under the Partnership for a New Genera- the electric car a clean car in every way. ventional vehicles. However, there are of spilled or evaporated gas puts as
only a few alternative fuel vehicles avail- much hydrocarbon in the air as 7500
tion of Vehicles (see box on page 42). The simplest way is to purchase 100%
able for sale today. Until you are able miles worth going out the tailpipe of
Many of the major automakers have green power to recharge the car. Some and ready to buy a clean and efficient a car.
demonstrated direct hydrogen fuel cell cities have also installed recharging sta- alternative fuel vehicle, here are some Reduce driving to work and on
systems that should have the potential to tions with roofs to shelter the cars as things you can do today to drive errands, and carpool when you can.
be competitive with internal combustion they refuel. These roofs are covered with "greener" with your current vehicles. By choosing to live closer to your job
engine propulsion systems. photovoltaic solar panels, so that they and shopping near home, youll save
Maintain your car responsibly by
actually generate the electricity to refuel time, gas, and pollution. Combine
keeping it tuned, the tires properly
Electricity as a Fuel trips when you can to save gas and
the cars. inflated and wheels aligned. Have
reduce by more than half the air pol-
Electricity is considered an alternative your oil changed at an oil/lube sta-
lution from cars caused by cold starts.
fuel when it is used to charge an electric Hybrid Vehicles tion which recycles every drop of oil.
And keep the air and fuel filters Avoid warming up your car in the
vehicle. Today, electric vehicles are As we move toward vehicles that run on
clean. Youll get better gas mileage, winter. It doesnt need it, and a car
available from most major automakers. renewable fuels, its also important to pollute less, and extend engine and idling in the driveway wastes gas
Ford Motor Company, for instance, reduce the amount of fuel used by vehi- tire life. and pollutes the air.
recently received an order from the U.S. cles. While saving energy, fuel-efficient Work and study at home when possi-
Postal Service for 500 electric vehicles cars also produce less air pollution. ble. If everyone would stay at home For more tips on driving green, visit
the largest U.S. order for electric vehi- One approach to increasing automo- one extra day a week, wed save http://www.ott.doe.gov/consumer/drive_
cles in history. tive efficiency is the hybrid electric over 10% of the gasoline that cars greener.html.
The real question for electric cars is, vehicle. These vehicles are powered by use and the pollution they create.
where does the electricity come from? both an engine and an electric motor,
and include a battery pack large enough tric vehicles, hybrid electric vehicles do follow suit with their own hybrid electric
to continue providing power to the elec- not need to be plugged in. cars in the near future.
tric motor under most normal driving The year 2000 marked a turning point One key to the high efficiency of hybrid
conditions. The electricity needed to for hybrid electric vehicles in the United electric vehicles is the fact that although
maintain the charge of the batteries is States, with the first sale of hybrid elec- a lot of power is needed to accelerate a
generated by the engine, so unlike elec- tric cars by Honda. The Honda Insight, car, a relatively small amount is needed
initially released as a two-seat vehicle, to keep it rolling at a constant speed.
combines a three-cylinder gasoline engine Standard gasoline or diesel cars need a
with an electric motor that provides an large, powerful engine for acceleration,
extra boost while accelerating and climb- but suffer an efficiency penalty when that
ing hills. The Insight achieves a remark- same large engine is used to cruise at
DaimlerChrysler and
able 70 miles to the gallon on the highway speeds. A hybrid electric vehicle
Toyota are among
automakers developing highway, according to U.S. Environmental uses just a small engine for cruising, but
hybrid electric vehicles. Protection Agency mileage estimates. boosts its power with the electric motor
The Toyota Prius, a four-door sedan, during acceleration.
combines a four-cylinder gasoline engine Another key to high efficiency in these
with an electric motor, working in tan- vehicles is power management, which is
dem to save energy. DaimlerChrysler, really the tricky part. The motor and
Ford, and General Motors are expected to engine must be switched on and off as

40 T H E C L E A N E N E R G Y C H O I C E I N T R A N S P O R TAT I O N CLEAN FUELS AND VEHICLES 41


Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles
A LOOK TOWARD THE FUTURE
D OE and six other federal agencies are working with the major U.S.-based automakers
in the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles (PNGV) to make automobiles OF RENEWABLE ENERGY
more efficient and less polluting. This government/industry partnership leads the develop-
ment of fuel-cell and hybrid electric vehicles, advancing technologies such as compression-
T
he future is bright for renewable you may very soon. Self-generation isnt
ignition, direct-injection engines, high-efficiency electric motors, high-power batteries, and energy, and new initiatives and a choice for everyone, but you may find
lightweight materials. PNGV has the goal of creating a full-size car that achieves 80 miles
industry advances are bringing innova- that it works for your situation. Whether
per gallon by 2004, without sacrificing safety, affordability, or other
tive technologies that will affect your you generate your power through wind,
features Americans expect in their cars.
business, your home, and your car. photovoltaics, microhydropower, or a
These key technologies will change the combination of these technologies, the
they are needed, and enough energy must renewable energy sources by fueling up way energy is produced, distributed, and information weve provided will get you
be drawn from the engine to keep the bat- with ethanol or methanol. And the stored in this country. New bioenergy started. There are a number of ways to
teries charged over the course of a days diesel models that Ford and General products will appear in all aspects of our incorporate renewable energy into your
drive. To help keep the batteries charged, Motors are developing could potentially lives. At the same time, the availability home for heating and lighting such as
especially in stop-and-go city driving, be fueled from cleaner-burning of hydrogen-powered fuel cells will solar water heating, geothermal heat
regenerative braking actually generates biodiesel fuels. So someday soon, you allow our cars and homes to meet their pumps, and sunspaces. The information
electricity while braking the car. may be driving a clean, efficient car future energy needs while producing and resources listed should help you
All of the hybrid electric cars planned powered by renewable fuels. almost no harmful emissions. determine what makes sense for your
or in production now include either a Throughout this booklet weve shared home. And finally, weve shown you
gasoline or diesel engine, but theres no information and ideas about how you choices in renewable transportation. We
technical reason why a hybrid electric can begin to use renewable energy in will continue to see many advances in
vehicle couldnt someday make use of your home today. In many states you can alternative fuels and in alternative fuel
choose to have your electricity come and hybrid vehicles, but today you can
from renewable energy choices. Every choose ethanol and other clean fuels
Renewable Transportation R E S O U R C E S
day more states are opening up competi- such as natural gas and electricity to
Center for Transportation Technologies Hydrogen Information Network tive markets and green pricing programs, power your car.
and Systems (Fuel Cells) http://www.eren.doe.gov/hydrogen/ and if you dont already have this choice,
http://www.ctts.nrel.gov Learn more about how hydrogen is already
The National Renewable Energy Laboratorys being used in many industries, and what the
Using renewable and
Center for Transportation Technologies and future holds for hydrogen as a clean energy
clean energy technolo-
Systems Web site provides information on source and transportation fuel.
fuel cell technology. gies will ensure a
U.S. Department of Energy, Office of secure and prosperous
Clean Cities Transportation Technologies (OTT) energy future, and a
http://www.ccities.doe.gov/ http://www.ott.doe.gov
healthy environment
Clean Cities, a program sponsored by the U.S OTT works with the transportation and
for generations to
Department of Energy, is designed to encour- energy supply industries, and research and
age the use of alternative fuel vehicles and development organizations to develop and come.
their supporting infrastructure throughout promote advanced transportation vehicles
the nation. and alternative-fuel technologies that will
reduce oil import requirements, emissions,
Fuel Economy Guide
and greenhouse gases. Through the OTT Web
http://www.fueleconomy.gov
site you can access extensive information on
This site, jointly developed by the U.S.
alternative-fuel and hybrid vehicles, alterna-
Department of Energy and the U.S. Environ-
tive fuels such as ethanol, methanol, and
mental Protection Agency, allows you to
biodiesel, and other transportation technolo-
find and compare fuel economy for
gies such as fuel cells.
19852000 model year cars and trucks.

42 T H E C L E A N E N E R G Y C H O I C E I N T R A N S P O R TAT I O N A L O O K T O WA R D T H E F U T U R E O F R E N E WA B L E E N E R G Y 43
Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles
A LOOK TOWARD THE FUTURE
D OE and six other federal agencies are working with the major U.S.-based automakers
in the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles (PNGV) to make automobiles OF RENEWABLE ENERGY
more efficient and less polluting. This government/industry partnership leads the develop-
ment of fuel-cell and hybrid electric vehicles, advancing technologies such as compression-
T
he future is bright for renewable you may very soon. Self-generation isnt
ignition, direct-injection engines, high-efficiency electric motors, high-power batteries, and energy, and new initiatives and a choice for everyone, but you may find
lightweight materials. PNGV has the goal of creating a full-size car that achieves 80 miles
industry advances are bringing innova- that it works for your situation. Whether
per gallon by 2004, without sacrificing safety, affordability, or other
tive technologies that will affect your you generate your power through wind,
features Americans expect in their cars.
business, your home, and your car. photovoltaics, microhydropower, or a
These key technologies will change the combination of these technologies, the
they are needed, and enough energy must renewable energy sources by fueling up way energy is produced, distributed, and information weve provided will get you
be drawn from the engine to keep the bat- with ethanol or methanol. And the stored in this country. New bioenergy started. There are a number of ways to
teries charged over the course of a days diesel models that Ford and General products will appear in all aspects of our incorporate renewable energy into your
drive. To help keep the batteries charged, Motors are developing could potentially lives. At the same time, the availability home for heating and lighting such as
especially in stop-and-go city driving, be fueled from cleaner-burning of hydrogen-powered fuel cells will solar water heating, geothermal heat
regenerative braking actually generates biodiesel fuels. So someday soon, you allow our cars and homes to meet their pumps, and sunspaces. The information
electricity while braking the car. may be driving a clean, efficient car future energy needs while producing and resources listed should help you
All of the hybrid electric cars planned powered by renewable fuels. almost no harmful emissions. determine what makes sense for your
or in production now include either a Throughout this booklet weve shared home. And finally, weve shown you
gasoline or diesel engine, but theres no information and ideas about how you choices in renewable transportation. We
technical reason why a hybrid electric can begin to use renewable energy in will continue to see many advances in
vehicle couldnt someday make use of your home today. In many states you can alternative fuels and in alternative fuel
choose to have your electricity come and hybrid vehicles, but today you can
from renewable energy choices. Every choose ethanol and other clean fuels
Renewable Transportation R E S O U R C E S
day more states are opening up competi- such as natural gas and electricity to
Center for Transportation Technologies Hydrogen Information Network tive markets and green pricing programs, power your car.
and Systems (Fuel Cells) http://www.eren.doe.gov/hydrogen/ and if you dont already have this choice,
http://www.ctts.nrel.gov Learn more about how hydrogen is already
The National Renewable Energy Laboratorys being used in many industries, and what the
Using renewable and
Center for Transportation Technologies and future holds for hydrogen as a clean energy
clean energy technolo-
Systems Web site provides information on source and transportation fuel.
fuel cell technology. gies will ensure a
U.S. Department of Energy, Office of secure and prosperous
Clean Cities Transportation Technologies (OTT) energy future, and a
http://www.ccities.doe.gov/ http://www.ott.doe.gov
healthy environment
Clean Cities, a program sponsored by the U.S OTT works with the transportation and
for generations to
Department of Energy, is designed to encour- energy supply industries, and research and
age the use of alternative fuel vehicles and development organizations to develop and come.
their supporting infrastructure throughout promote advanced transportation vehicles
the nation. and alternative-fuel technologies that will
reduce oil import requirements, emissions,
Fuel Economy Guide
and greenhouse gases. Through the OTT Web
http://www.fueleconomy.gov
site you can access extensive information on
This site, jointly developed by the U.S.
alternative-fuel and hybrid vehicles, alterna-
Department of Energy and the U.S. Environ-
tive fuels such as ethanol, methanol, and
mental Protection Agency, allows you to
biodiesel, and other transportation technolo-
find and compare fuel economy for
gies such as fuel cells.
19852000 model year cars and trucks.

42 T H E C L E A N E N E R G Y C H O I C E I N T R A N S P O R TAT I O N A L O O K T O WA R D T H E F U T U R E O F R E N E WA B L E E N E R G Y 43
Although this booklet has suggested Photo credits:
Renewable Future
many ways for you to use renewable Page 1: NREL/PIX 00568, Bill Eager; NREL/PIX 00001, Warren Gretz; NREL/PIX 08095, Bob Gibson; NREL/PIX
R E S O U R C E S 08890, Steven Sargent; NREL/PIX 02466, Warren Gretz; NREL/PIX 06305, David Parsons Page 2: NREL/PIX
energy today, it has also pointed toward 00568, Bill Eager Page 3: NREL/PIX 07682, Altair Energy Page 4: NREL/PIX 06209, Building America Page 5:
many technologies that are likely to dra- 02477426m, 02477427m Thermogram/photograph copyright 1997, Infraspection Institute, Inc., Shelburne, VT
Energy Information Administration
Page 6: NREL/PIX 00001, Warren Gretz; NREL/PIX 06329, Warren Gretz Page 7: NREL/PIX 07732, D&R Intl., Ltd.;
matically change our world in the com- (EIA) Green Power for a Green LA Page 10: NREL/PIX 06595 Page 11: NREL/PIX 04745, Warren Gretz; NREL/PIX
http://www.eia.gov 00426, Warren Gretz Page 12: NREL/PIX 05591, Green Mountain Power Corporation; NREL/PIX 01026, Sacra-
ing years.
EIA, a statistical agency of the U.S. mento Municipal Utility District Page 13: Eyewire 35057 Page 14: NREL/PIX 08079, Jim Green Page 15:
Many sources, including the Depart- Department of Energy, is responsible for NREL/PIX 04893, Warren Gretz Page 21: Courtesy Micro-Hydro Power: A Guide for Development Workers; P.
Fraenkel, O. Paish, V. Bokalders, A. Harvey. A Brown, R. Edwards; published by Intermediate Technology Publica-
ment of Energys Energy Information researching and reporting energy usage
tions in association with the Stockholm Environment Institute, 1991 Page 22: NREL/PIX 04273, Susan Thorton
Administration foresee increases in the from all energy resources and determin- Page 23: NREL/PIX 08095, Bob Gibson Page 25: Steve Wilke, Bergey Windpower Company Page 28: NREL/PIX
ing future trends. 08435, Donald Aitken; NREL/PIX 06537, Warren Gretz Page 30: NREL/PIX 08437, Donald Aitken; NREL/PIX 07748,
use of renewables for electricity, fuels, D&R Intl., Ltd. Page 31: John Wesley Miller Companies Page 32: NREL/PIX 08436, Donald Aitken; NREL/PIX
Shell Group
and other uses well into the 21st Cen- 08890, Steven Sargent Page 33: NREL/PIX 08316, Warren Gretz Page 35: NREL/PIX 05978, Sun Systems Page
http://www.shell.com 38: NREL/PIX 02268, Warren Gretz Page 39: NREL/PIX 02466, Warren Gretz Page 40: NREL/PIX 07331, Toyota;
tury. If fuel cells and bioenergy become For a perspective on future renewable Chrysler ESX3, Ed Wall Page 41: NREL/PIX 06254, Atlanta Gas Light, Clean Cities Atlanta Page 43: Photodisc
commonplace, its possible that the use energy scenarios, visit the Shell Group ST001379 Page 44: NREL/PIX 06305, David Parsons

of renewable energy could grow much Web site.

faster than anyone has predicted. But World Resources Institute


http://www.wri.org
even taking current energy scenarios at
202-729-7600
face value, renewable energy will grow The World Resources Institute provides
to provide a large fraction of the worlds information, ideas, and solutions to
energy use within the next 60 years. global environmental problems.

We will see renewable energy grow


during our lifetimes, and children born
today will live to see a cleaner, brighter
Helping children learn about clean energy
renewable energy future. technologies is an investment in a brighter
energy future.

Notice:
This report was prepared as an account of work sponsored by an agency of the United States gov-
ernment. Neither the United States government nor any agency thereof, nor any of their employees,
makes any warranty, express or implied, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accu-
racy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process disclosed or
represents that its use would not infringe privately owned rights. Reference herein to any specific
commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise does
not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the United
States government or any agency thereof. The views and opinions of authors expressed herein do
not necessarily state or reflect those of the United States government or any agency thereof.

44 A L O O K T O WA R D T H E F U T U R E O F R E N E WA B L E E N E R G Y
Although this booklet has suggested Photo credits:
Renewable Future
many ways for you to use renewable Page 1: NREL/PIX 00568, Bill Eager; NREL/PIX 00001, Warren Gretz; NREL/PIX 08095, Bob Gibson; NREL/PIX
R E S O U R C E S 08890, Steven Sargent; NREL/PIX 02466, Warren Gretz; NREL/PIX 06305, David Parsons Page 2: NREL/PIX
energy today, it has also pointed toward 00568, Bill Eager Page 3: NREL/PIX 07682, Altair Energy Page 4: NREL/PIX 06209, Building America Page 5:
many technologies that are likely to dra- 02477426m, 02477427m Thermogram/photograph copyright 1997, Infraspection Institute, Inc., Shelburne, VT
Energy Information Administration
Page 6: NREL/PIX 00001, Warren Gretz; NREL/PIX 06329, Warren Gretz Page 7: NREL/PIX 07732, D&R Intl., Ltd.;
matically change our world in the com- (EIA) Green Power for a Green LA Page 10: NREL/PIX 06595 Page 11: NREL/PIX 04745, Warren Gretz; NREL/PIX
http://www.eia.gov 00426, Warren Gretz Page 12: NREL/PIX 05591, Green Mountain Power Corporation; NREL/PIX 01026, Sacra-
ing years.
EIA, a statistical agency of the U.S. mento Municipal Utility District Page 13: Eyewire 35057 Page 14: NREL/PIX 08079, Jim Green Page 15:
Many sources, including the Depart- Department of Energy, is responsible for NREL/PIX 04893, Warren Gretz Page 21: Courtesy Micro-Hydro Power: A Guide for Development Workers; P.
Fraenkel, O. Paish, V. Bokalders, A. Harvey. A Brown, R. Edwards; published by Intermediate Technology Publica-
ment of Energys Energy Information researching and reporting energy usage
tions in association with the Stockholm Environment Institute, 1991 Page 22: NREL/PIX 04273, Susan Thorton
Administration foresee increases in the from all energy resources and determin- Page 23: NREL/PIX 08095, Bob Gibson Page 25: Steve Wilke, Bergey Windpower Company Page 28: NREL/PIX
ing future trends. 08435, Donald Aitken; NREL/PIX 06537, Warren Gretz Page 30: NREL/PIX 08437, Donald Aitken; NREL/PIX 07748,
use of renewables for electricity, fuels, D&R Intl., Ltd. Page 31: John Wesley Miller Companies Page 32: NREL/PIX 08436, Donald Aitken; NREL/PIX
Shell Group
and other uses well into the 21st Cen- 08890, Steven Sargent Page 33: NREL/PIX 08316, Warren Gretz Page 35: NREL/PIX 05978, Sun Systems Page
http://www.shell.com 38: NREL/PIX 02268, Warren Gretz Page 39: NREL/PIX 02466, Warren Gretz Page 40: NREL/PIX 07331, Toyota;
tury. If fuel cells and bioenergy become For a perspective on future renewable Chrysler ESX3, Ed Wall Page 41: NREL/PIX 06254, Atlanta Gas Light, Clean Cities Atlanta Page 43: Photodisc
commonplace, its possible that the use energy scenarios, visit the Shell Group ST001379 Page 44: NREL/PIX 06305, David Parsons

of renewable energy could grow much Web site.

faster than anyone has predicted. But World Resources Institute


http://www.wri.org
even taking current energy scenarios at
202-729-7600
face value, renewable energy will grow The World Resources Institute provides
to provide a large fraction of the worlds information, ideas, and solutions to
energy use within the next 60 years. global environmental problems.

We will see renewable energy grow


during our lifetimes, and children born
today will live to see a cleaner, brighter
Helping children learn about clean energy
renewable energy future. technologies is an investment in a brighter
energy future.

Notice:
This report was prepared as an account of work sponsored by an agency of the United States gov-
ernment. Neither the United States government nor any agency thereof, nor any of their employees,
makes any warranty, express or implied, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accu-
racy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process disclosed or
represents that its use would not infringe privately owned rights. Reference herein to any specific
commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise does
not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the United
States government or any agency thereof. The views and opinions of authors expressed herein do
not necessarily state or reflect those of the United States government or any agency thereof.

44 A L O O K T O WA R D T H E F U T U R E O F R E N E WA B L E E N E R G Y
Available to the public from:

U.S. Department of Energys Energy


Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Clearinghouse (EREC)
P.O. Box 3048
Merrifield, VA 22116
(800) DOE-EREC (363-3732)
doe.erec@nciinc.com

National Technical Information Service


(NTIS)
U.S. Department of Commerce
5285 Port Royal Road
Springfield, VA 22161
(703) 487-4650 or (800) 553-6847

Available to DOE and DOE contractors from:

Office of Scientific and Technical Information


(OSTI)
P.O. Box 62
Oak Ridge, TN 37831
(423) 576-8401

For more information on renewable energy


and energy efficiency, visit DOEs Energy
Efficiency and Renewable Energy Network
(EREN) at http://www.eren.doe.gov.

Produced for the


U.S. Department of Energy by the
National Renewable Energy Laboratory,
a DOE national laboratory

DOE/GO-102000-1012
April 2000

Printed with a renewable source ink on paper


containing at least 50% wastepaper, including
10% postconsumer waste.