Many people know that solar energy can be converted into electricity, which helps save on electricity bills—but you might not be familiar with solar heating. Using solar heating techniques and equipment can cut down on your heating costs during the chilly Virginia winters. In fact, more custom home builders in Williamsburg, VA are turning to both solar electricity and solar heating systems to reduce utility bills while making a positive impact on the environment. But how does it all work? Read on to find out.
Solar electricity is created when solar panels, outfitted with photovoltaic cells, absorb the sun’s energy. This generates direct current energy, which is guided to an inverter and converted to alternating current energy. This AC energy can then be used to power your home appliances. If your home produces too much electricity, the excess is sent to the power grid. Your home gets “credit” for the additional electricity so you won’t pay (or at least pay as much) for the electricity you use during the nighttime, when you’re not actively generating electricity.
Your home will be connected to a meter that measures how much electricity you’re generating versus consuming, allowing you to see how much energy cost you’re saving.
Solar heating works a little differently. For starters, there is passive solar heating, where your home is thoughtfully designed to retain as much heat in the walls, windows, floors and roof, then distribute it inside the home. Insulation, energy-efficient windows and even drapery all play a role in passive solar heating, which is why this type of system works best with newer buildings and homes.
There is also active solar heating, which utilizes pumps, storage tanks and collectors to distribute the heat. Active solar heating uses panels to collect energy from the sun, then uses that energy to warm a substance (air, antifreeze or water) inside a collector and distribute it. They are more complex than passive systems, but can be used on new and old homes. Active solar heating can be used to heat the air inside your home as well as the water, your floors and even your baseboards.
Since the average American family spends between $700 and $1,700 per year on heating, anywhere you can save adds up fast. Solar electricity and solar heating probably can’t cut 100 percent of your electric and heating bills, but some users see as much as a 94 percent reduction. While every building will vary, it’s a promising and cost-saving technology.
Custom home builders in Williamsburg, VA
When you want a home that’s not only beautiful, but environmentally friendly, Healthy Communities can turn that dream into a reality. Since 1978, we have been designing and executing custom green homes for the Williamsburg area. Our goal is to create a home that meets all of your needs with minimal impact on the environment. We look forward to telling you more about how our company is working to reduce environmental impact in the creation of beautiful custom homes. Call us today to find out what we can do for you!