How to reduce your …and save money

Going green and become energy efficient doesn’t just help save the planet, it also saves money. Scott Murray, Electrical Sales Administrator with Mega Systems gives The Journal the most up-to-date information when it comes to greening homes in Cayman. This month we explore the options open to residential homes looking to go green. Third in a series of articles.

Solar Hot Water System
In the last two decades solar-thermal panels (units used to warm household hot water, pools, and spas) have become highly efficient.
 
Since heating elements that are powered by electricity tend to be the biggest energy users, using free solar energy to do the same thing reduces the cost of utilities significantly. Of course, there are several factors that come into play for these systems to be worth the initial investment (good location relative to the sun, typical weather and cloudiness, etc.)
 
Energy from the sun can be used to heat a liquid (similar to the home water heating system) that is used to heat an indoor or outdoor pool. This saves the electric energy normally needed for electric-powered heaters that normally perform the same function.
 
Solar energy is a clean and abundant energy resource that can be used to supplement many of your energy needs. Water heating is one of the most cost effective uses of solar energy, providing hot water for showers, dishwashers and clothes washers. Every year, several thousands of new water heaters are installed worldwide. In general, it consists of three main components:

Solar collector, which converts solar radiation into useable heat;

  • Heat exchanger/pump module, which transfers the heat from the solar collector into portable water;
  • Storage tank to store the solar heated water.

Benefits:

  • Reduces your energy bills. A solar water heater reduces the amount of fuel you need to heat water because it captures the sun’s renewable energy;
  • Is environmentally friendly. It does not pollute or use non-renewable resources;
  • A solar hot water system adds value to your home and extends the life expectancy of your residential hot water tank by dramatically reducing scaling.

Geographic location, system design, collector orientation, and collector size will determine how much energy can be provided for domestic hot water heating. The maintenance costs are very low. Most solar water heating systems come with a five to 10 year warranty and require little maintenance. You should take a look at your panels every year and have them checked more thoroughly by an accredited installer every three to five years, or as specified by your installer.
 
The average system costs $3,000-$5,500 with installation and customers will see a payback on the investment in four to eight years.

Wind
The Air-X is a high tech residential wind turbine that uses a microprocessor to optimise alternator output and slow the blades in high wind conditions to avoid the fluttering noise and inefficient rotation making for a much quieter machine. The carbon reinforced blades also have a modified pitch angle, which helps to cut through the breeze and add more power.
 
The Air-X residential wind turbines produce 400 Watts of power when it reaches a 28 MPH wind speed and works in winds as low as 7.5 mph. The turbine also provides 38 kW per month in based on an average 12 MPH wind.
 
The microprocessor also takes care of efficient battery charging. For instance these residential wind turbines can charge a battery bank from 25 to 25,000 amp hours safely by shutting itself off when reaching maximum capacity. When sensing a full charge, the generator will come to almost a complete stop.
 
The Air-X residential wind turbines also have a marine version that works well on seaside cabins and on boats and ships. The carbon-fibre blades and coated aluminium body resists corrosion.

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