Wednesday, October 4, 2023

How to Reduce Your Dependence On the Grid


While the grid is still essential for most homes, it’s also time to start taking steps to rely less on it with renewable energy resources better for the planet.

In some parts of the world, grid power supplies face extreme pressure due to increasing demand. Devising a strategy to wean your home off of the grid is better for the planet and may even be better for your bank account.

Although alternative energy sources are becoming more commonplace, the bulk of electricity is still sourced from the grid. But relying too much on it puts you at the mercy of your power utility company. This lack of independence can be inconvenient, particularly when the power supply is low or when faults arise.

The demand for grid electricity is only expected to increase as the global population increases. Its implications can be seen in the higher frequency of power outages; even developed countries are facing more recurrent blackouts and brownouts. But it’s worth considering that there’s a difference between blackout vs. brownout and, thus, have different energy requirements for which you ought to prepare.

Why rely on the grid less

Most of the electricity supplied by the grid in most parts of the world is generated using non-renewable fossil fuels. Energy is the leading producer of global carbon emissions, accounting for more than 30 percent. As a result, conscious consumers are switching to renewable sources, like EVs for their commute, and solar energy for their homes.

solar panels
Goldman Sachs has raised $1.6 billion for its new climate fund. Courtesy Moritz Kindler | Unsplash

Although renewable energy sources are becoming increasingly popular, the technology needs to be more efficient. Plus, renewables can be expensive. With infrastructure in place that makes fossil fuels remarkably efficient and economical, turning away from them isn’t a viable option just yet. However, people can take steps towards relying less on the grid. 

How to become less dependent on the grid   

Reducing dependence on the grid is beneficial not just for environmental reasons but also because it considerably lowers your energy bill. Investing in a solar power system is expensive, so as a result, most people may only partially be able to disconnect from the grid. But it’s okay to start small. Here are some effective ways you can be less dependent on the grid.

1. Invest in solar power

Installing a solar power system for your house is the most straightforward option to get off the grid. It’s eco-friendly since it doesn’t produce emissions when converting light energy to electricity. Furthermore, this type of energy is virtually infinite, so it won’t negatively affect your neighbors or the environment.  

eco friendly home
Courtesy Pexels

If you go 100 percent solar, you won’t have to worry about your electric bill. However, ensure you know the rules and regulations governing solar power systems in your area. For instance, some regions may need you to stay connected to the grid and earn credits for your solar power generated.

The biggest downside of investing in solar is the high capital outlay required. But once the solar pays for itself, whether in savings on your bill or in credits, it will save you money after that.

2. Use solar water heaters  

Hot water is a must for households in areas with frigid climates; thus, they require geysers or water heaters. But, these devices are power-hungry.

Fortunately, you may improve the efficiency of your home’s water heating system by replacing it with a solar geyser. That way, you won’t have to rely on grid power to get hot water for your home. 

3. Use an evaporative cooler and gas furnace  

The other big energy-hungry element in your home is the air conditioning system.  

You can save money by installing an evaporative cooler in your home for those hot summer months. It uses up to 80 percent less power than an AC but operates just as well in hot and dry environments. However, an ordinary household fan will suffice if you live in a humid environment; it also uses far less electricity than an AC unit. 

how to cool your home
Courtesy Collov Home Design | Unsplash

Consider purchasing a gas-powered furnace for heating. It’s incredibly efficient and usually inexpensive as it runs on gas. Certain areas have a gas line, so people don’t have to worry about storing gas cylinders.   

4. Use energy-efficient or gas appliances for the kitchen 

The stove is one of the most vital components of any kitchen. But, despite how power-efficient some modern stoves and ovens are, they still use a lot of energy. The best option in such cases may be to purchase gas-powered models. But keep in mind that recent research has found gas stoves can increase asthma risks by more than 12 percent for children among other health issues.

Also, if your refrigerator is more than ten years old, consider replacing it with a newer, more energy-efficient one. You may also use a gas-powered refrigerator that’s equally effective as a conventional one. Look for Energy Star-certified appliances when replacing old ones to ensure you’ll be using the most energy-efficient option.

5. Use energy-efficient lighting  

Older technologies, such as fluorescent lighting, consume more energy. If you want to rely less on the grid, LED lights are the way to go.

These lights use up to 90 percent less energy than incandescent light bulbs. Considering that one incandescent light consumes 60 watts, whereas a LED light consumes just about nine watts, it’s easy to see where there are savings for your wallet and benefits for the planet.

kohler home
Courtesy Kohler

Furthermore, if you have a smaller solar power system, it’ll be greatly beneficial if you switch to LED lights. You’ll conserve more energy and power additional smaller appliances without putting your system under pressure. 

6. Adopt passive heating 

This refers to using natural light to heat your home. This strategy is effective in regions that receive a generous amount of sunlight throughout the year.  

A smart move would be to plant deciduous trees around your property. They lose their leaves during winter. This allows more sunlight to hit your windows during that time. During summer, the leaves grow back and provide shade to prevent your house from getting too hot. 

Consider consulting a professional landscaper before planting any trees. They’ll assist you in picking the right types and planting them at the right distance from your home. You must also avoid planting trees with long roots as they could damage your foundation. 

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