Alternative Energy for the Home

Is Alternative Home Energy a New Fad?

Home energy consumption is one of the biggest concerns of todays society. The fact is, we all consume electricity to power our every day lives and many of us take it for granted as the natural thing to do wihout so much as a second thought.

Few people are left in North America that remember the days of using kerosene lanterns for light, washing clothes on washboards, or using outhouses because of the lack of inside plumbing.

We have gotten accustomed to the level of civilization that is provided by electricity and modern technology. However, most people think that the price they pay is just too much for the amount of electricity they get to consume. What many don't realize, is if we don't start making changes on a grand scale there may not be any fuel to run the electric and technology we have accumulated in our homes.

In the true spirit of humanity, people are doing what they have done since time as we know it began.  Whenever there’s something that does not completely satisfy them about life, they innovated and create. When a human being discovers that something is not operating  the way they want it to, they will innovate and create until they have invented something that works better, and more to their liking.  As they old saying goes, "Necessity is the mother of invention."

Alternative home energy is not anything new. It has been around since before electricity was named. Any time there is an invention of a new design that is feasible, efficient, and that makes our lives easier, that is the creation of alternative energy at work. It was what gave way to the creation of irrigation systems in ancient Egypt, windmills in Holland and water wheels
to grind grain in Europe and the Americas . These were all forms of alternative energy inventions.

Types of Alternative Home Energy Available Today

Solar Panels & Domestic Wind Turbines

Wind Energy

In the world of today, windmills are used in homes to run small generators. These generators produce and store electricity to be used in running small home appliances. However, windmills have been around for a long time.

Yes, the windmill was indeed, used to mill grain. As you probably already know, grinding grain my hand is gruelingly hard work. So in order to make life easier and run more efficiently, windmills were invented to turn huge stone wheels that ground the grain. Water wheels were invented the same way and for the same use. If there wasn't wind to operate a windmill, there was the flow of water to turn the water mills.

Seeing as how this was so effective, it was inevitable that the windmill evolve into the 21st century to harness the wind to create electricity.

Solar Energy

Many people mistakenly think that solar energy is a relatively new type of alternative home energy, when actually the first solar cell was invented in 1839.  Harnessing the power of the sun to produce electricity is relatively new, as the first solar panels weren't invented until 1954. But this alternative home energy has already been in use for a long, long time, as long as the world has been in existence.

Think about this word for a second: clothesline. Aha, you get it now, don’t you? Yes, we have been using solar energy for drying food, skins and clothes for as long as there have been people in this world. Think about that spin dryer or hair dryer you have and think about how much electricity it uses to do a task that the sun has been capable of for centuries, albeit at a slower pace.

This alternative home energy is harnessed these days for a variety of tasks. Solar energy is used to heat homes, heat water, and to power batter cells to store electricity. There are many people these days living off of the grid and completely self sufficient when it comes to using solar power for electricity. The efficiency by which we are now able to convert solar power into electricity is of such a degree that it is now being used to power a whole house! Many have not only saved on there electricity bills, but are selling surplus electricity back to the electric companies.

Unfortunately, here in the state of New York, Governor David Patterson just signed a bill that disallows selling electricity to the electric companies.  This is taking New York state a giant step backwards and keeping the state dependent on the electric companies use of fossil fuels and nuclear energy.  Now, isn’t that amazing?


This type of alternative home energymakes use of water currents in order to turn turbines to run generators. Once again, this is not really a new technology. As already mentioned, like windmills, waterwheels were often used to
harness the power of a nearby river in order to grind grain into flour.


This is another alternative home energy source. Biogas is typically refers to a gas that is produced naturally by the decomposition of different biodegradable and organic material with the absence of oxygen. Often these biodegradable substances originate from manure, sewage, municipal waste and green waste. The gas produced may be used for a number of purposes, but one of the main uses in larger plants is driving engines for production of electricity. By using biogas instead of the common LPG, home owners can also cut back on their heating bills and fuel their automobiles.