Renewable energy comes from sources that cannot be depleted or from those that are replaced faster than they are consumed. They are suitable for long term reliance and sustainability and do not produce the waste found with conventional power consumption.
In 2017, renewable energy provided about 11% of total U.S. energy consumption. About 57% of U.S. renewable energy consumption was by the electric power sector, and about 17% of U.S. electricity generation was from renewable energy sources.1 The following picture illustrates the five common renewable energy sources.
Renewable energy sources can be harnessed at the residential level in a variety of ways, allowing homeowners to power their space while paying less for annual energy costs. The viability and energy output of each renewable method can depend heavily on location and climate, so homeowners wishing to make use of renewables should be sure to research and talk to experts on what methods are most appropriate for them.
Three common forms of renewable energy typically used at the residential level are:
- Solar- Harness the sun's energy to heat water or space, or directly convert the sun’s energy to electricity. The applications include:
- Solar Hot Water: An efficient system that uses the sun to supplement water heating for domestic hot water systems, radiant heating systems, or pool heating systems.
- Solar Hot Air: Using the sun to heat air that can be mechanically distributed throughout the home to heat your space.
- Passive Solar Heating: Heating methods using no mechanical systems that make use of building design and sun's position to heat the home.
- Photovoltaics: Direct transfer of sunlight into usable electricity.
- Geothermal- Use stable temperature found deep underground to transfer thermal energy.
- Wind- Utilize the kinetic energy of wind to drive a turbine and generate electricity to power your home.
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1 "Renewable Energy Explained" by U.S. Energy Information Administration