“Energy independence”—it's a term many of us have heard, but few understand what it means.
Generally, homeowners and individuals have adopted the term to address the need to free ourselves from dependence on the electrical grid. There are many reasons to try and lessen our dependence on the grid, from its unreliability to the cost incurred from drawing from it.
Here are five tips to increase your energy independence.
- Purchase an Off-Grid Solar System
- The best and easiest thing you can do right now to increase your energy independence is to purchase an off-grid solar system. Rather than relying on fossil fuels to power your home, you can turn to clean, renewable energy from the sun.
- You can use an off-grid solar system to power everything from home appliances to HVAC systems, lighting, vehicles, and backup batteries. Not only can you use the solar power gathered from an off-grid solar system to power appliances as you're using them, but you can also store it in a solar battery for a later date. The next time a blackout rolls around or a storm threatens to cut your connection to the grid, you'll be glad you have it.
- Optimize for Energy Efficiency
- Energy efficiency refers to optimized processes that take less energy than usual to complete. Energy-efficient appliances like washing machines and dishwashers have already revolutionized how homeowners save on their bills. But they're also quietly saving the planet.
- The Energy Department advocates using energy-efficient appliances, touting their cost savings, community benefits, environmental benefits, and health benefits. It's a practical way of reducing fossil fuel use, which traps heat in the atmosphere and contributes to climate change.
- Utilize Passive Heating
- Passive heating is a way of allowing the sun to heat your home without relying on heating systems. Turning on your heater means firing up the gas, which releases toxic chemicals into the atmosphere and costs you a fortune.
- Passive heating, however, utilizes windows and doors to allow the sunlight to heat your home. Anything you can do to reduce reliance on the grid furthers your energy independence.
- Install Double-Paned Windows
- On the subject of windows, installing double-pane windows will increase your energy independence. This window style uses two panes with a thin layer of argon gas between the panes. The resulting construction reduces sound interference from the outside and helps insulate your home from both heat and cold.
- This thick barrier between your home and the outside will help you regain some energy independence.
- Unplug Unused Appliances
- A study by the Natural Resources Defense Counsel found that the energy consumed by unused appliances left plugged in mounts to an added $19 billion to energy bills every year. Imagine how much you would save if you unplugged your unused appliances.
Pave Your Own Energy Path
Reducing dependence on the electrical grid helps you regain your control as a homeowner or a renter. You'll save money in the short run, and in the long run, you'll help save the environment.