Could Small Scale Wind Turbines Be the Alternative Energy Source for Your Home?

Outdoor Additions
Engineering
Solar Energy
By Contractors.com Team May 07, 2021

As the consequences of climate change become clearer to us every year, we become more aware of the need to go green. Weather events such as acid rain, rising seas, and erratic temperatures are constant reminders of this reality. Happily, renewable energy technology is becoming better and better, and green energy solutions that were once out of reach of most households have now become much more attainable and compelling. One of these technologies has been wind turbines. The wind is an almost limitless source of energy, and most of the time it blows right past us. But that’s changing with the construction of more and more wind turbines throughout the world. 

And while this construction may have once been limited to multi-million dollar and multi-story wind turbines, there are now many more accessible options that could be a perfect fit for many households. If you’re interested in making your house more sustainable with your own small-scale wind turbines, you’ve come to the right place. It’s natural to have some questions with regards to cost, installation, and whether this green energy solution will work for you. As you’ll soon see, there are lots of great reasons to bring wind energy to your home. 

A Breath of Fresh Air

Alternative Forms of Energy for Your Home

Alternative Forms of Energy for Your Home

Small-scale wind turbines are sometimes referred to as residential wind turbines that produce under 100 kilowatts of power. These small wind turbines cost between $3,000 to $8,000 depending on their power rating. Despite this high entry cost, small wind turbines are immensely worthwhile investments since wind energy is clean, limitless, and free of charge once you get everything set up. 

They’re also a handy solution for any rural homestead that is off the grid.  Running an electrical connection from the main grid to a rural house can cost as much as $15,000, so small wind turbines present a great alternative. Residential wind turbines are also an option for those looking to reduce their electricity costs, especially in areas where power bills are currently as high as 15 cents per kilowatt-hour. Every $1 saved in energy bills can add $20 to your home’s value. To top it all off, the federal government and some states provide significant tax rebates and incentives to anyone who buys wind turbines for their home.   

Is It Right For You?

But before you get started realizing your dreams of a small-scale wind farm, there are a few things you might want to consider. For one, it’s important to make sure that the place you live in has enough wind for wind energy to be a viable option. You can search average wind speed levels by state on this website, or you can purchase your own anemometer for more site-specific data. 

How Small Wind Turbines Work and Whether They Can Work for You

How Small Wind Turbines Work and Whether They Can Work for You

These devices usually cost around $1,000 and measure wind speed. If you decide to go with this route just be sure you set up the anemometer at least 33 feet high so that you get accurate readings. Generally speaking, your area needs to have minimum wind speeds of at least four meters per second (9 mph) for small wind turbines to work well. Another thing you’ll need for wind turbines to work is space. In general, 1 acre of land is the ideal minimum for setting up a small wind turbine. 

Whether You Can Install Wind Energy On Your Property

Whether You Can Install Wind Energy On Your Property

This is because the wind turbine will need to be placed in an area where it can get the most wind. If you live on a hill, your small wind turbine would need to go on the side of the hill where the prevailing wind is strongest. For this reason, rural areas are where small-scale turbines will be the most viable. Having said that, it is of course still possible to take advantage of wind power even if you live in an urban area; just be aware that you’ll need higher minimum (10 mph approx.) wind speeds for wind energy to work reliably. 

Before going ahead with getting your wind turbines up and running, it’s also a good idea to check with your local government to ensure there aren’t any restrictions on building high structures. Once you have ticked all these boxes, all that’s needed is to calculate your energy consumption so you can design a system to meet your needs.  

How Do I Install a Small Wind Turbine? 

While you can install a DIY residential wind turbine, this will require you to make some extra calculations. In addition to finding the windiest site, you’ll also need to consider if growing trees or structures could block your wind turbine. A small wind turbine needs to be at least 30 feet above any obstructions to work well. You’ll also need to calculate which wind turbine power rating will best fit your needs. The best rating for you will depend both on your power needs, and on whether you will also still receive electricity from the grid. 

How To Harness the Wind for Alternative Energy

How To Harness the Wind for Alternative Energy

Hiring a wind energy contractor is a good idea if you’re not a fan of messing around with electricity. Wind energy contractors can help you find a good site on your property for a wind turbine and can calculate which wind turbine power rating will fit best with your yearly power consumption. Many wind turbine manufacturers are happy to provide installation services as well. Letting a licensed contractor deal with the nitty-gritty of installing your wind turbine will save you a lot of guesswork. No need to worry about getting the right wire lengths, or lifting the heavy tower into place. A well-installed wind turbine should last up to twenty years provided it is maintained annually.  

FAQ

How Do I Prepare My Home for Wind Energy? 

The best way to make wind energy more cost-effective for you is to make your home more energy-efficient. Rather than putting down big bucks for a turbine with a big power rating, invest that money instead to replace appliances in your home with Energy Star-approved ones. If you plan to remodel your kitchen or bathroom, for instance, it’s a good time to start thinking about how you can reduce its energy consumption. You can also reduce “vampire loads” by purchasing advanced power strips which use less energy when appliances connected to them are turned off. Retrofitting your old incandescent bulbs with LEDs can also massively reduce your power consumption. Other choices, such as improving home insulation, switching to solar water heating, using a clothesline instead of a dryer, and switching off lights and appliances when not in use can also make a big difference.    

How to Prepare Your Home for Alternative Energy

How to Prepare Your Home for Alternative Energy

Aren’t Wind Turbines Noisy? 

Not really. A lot of work has been done to make turbines operate more quietly in recent years, and small turbines can generally operate at near-ambient noise levels. Small wind turbines do make noise, but this sound is hard to notice, especially when the turbine isn’t spinning quickly. It would take a storm or other high-speed wind weather for the noise to become an issue, but even then,  it would probably still not be audible. The average small turbine produces around 65 decibels of noise, but since it must be at least 100 feet away from any nearby structures very little of that sound will reach a person’s ears unless they are standing directly under the turbine. As a general rule, the taller the tower for your wind turbine, the less noise will reach the ground.  

Myths About Wind Turbines

Myths About Wind Turbines

Will A Small Wind Turbine Meet All My Energy Needs?

If you have sufficient wind levels, a wind turbine with a big enough power rating, and a house optimized for energy efficiency, you could very well power your house using just wind power. So, it is possible for a wind turbine to meet your energy needs, but it depends on the way you configure it. The typical American home consumes about 10,932 kilowatt-hours per year, so any wind power system you have would have to make around this much. This would require an average wind speed of around 14 mph. If you live in an area where the average wind speed is lower, you can always opt for a hybrid system that incorporates mini solar panels, wind power, and/or the grid. This way your house will have a more versatile power supply that can adapt to changing demand and weather.  

Will A Small Wind Turbine Meet All Your Home's Energy Needs

Will A Small Wind Turbine Meet All Your Home's Energy Needs

  

 

Written by
Contractors.com Team

Written by Contractors.com Team