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It’s no secret that “green” is in, but some people have surpassed efforts to recycle and cut down on energy waste, taking it a step further by changing the way their homes are powered in the first place. Some employ methods to rely on sustainable sources that are ozone friendly, such as installing solar panels. In addition, high wind areas are beginning to utilize windmills to harness frequent gusts into a source of renewable power. Not only do they tend to experience drastically declining utility bills, but they’re armed with the satisfaction of self-reliance and actively contributing to planet-preservation by reducing pollution.

Windmills, otherwise referred to as “wind turbines” in the energy-world, work by channeling wind energy through a generator, usually made up of three blades, to produce an electric current. The electricity is then stored in batteries which are connected to an inverter and transformed into a standard alternating electric current no different than a gridlocked coal or petroleum powered home.

The effectiveness of a wind turbine is dependent on several factors, namely the windiness of its locale, but improvements in wind-electric technology have enabled almost anyone to be able to generate at least some power with a wind turbine given a proper set-up for the nature of the home it’s powering. Advancements in efficiency of turbine motors and the creation of stronger, lighter blades have made way for varying tower lengths depending on wind properties: In windier areas, turbine investors can afford a shorter tower, whereas areas with low wind speed and volume can install higher towers that will take advantage of any drafts that might come their way. Additionally, there are variations in blade-size that an investor can choose depending on the average area wind speed.

A windmill can be placed on a roof or in a yard. They are generally more productive the further they are positioned from the ground. In rural and suburban areas with open spaces, there tend to be less height limitations for installing a turbine, a major advantage compared to an urban setting with lots of tall buildings and electric wires. However, more recently some manufacturers have come out with new, unconventional turbine designs intended to make wind turbines easier to install and better suited for tightly packed suburban and urban environments. Known as vertical axis wind turbines, or VAWTs, they rotate on a vertical axis, and they end up being smaller in both height and width, less noisy than their horizontal-axis counterparts, and more amenable to the swirling wind conditions found in urban environments. Although the makers of these turbines are new in the field, and their products are less efficient than traditional horizontal axis turbines, they are becoming increasingly popular within places most desperate to cut down on their energy use.

Ideally, to take full advantage of a wind turbine investment, it should be installed in the windiest of locations with sustained wind speeds of at least 10 mph. Unfortunately, excess power generated on the windiest of days can’t be stored, so investors living in areas with less consistent winds usually have to rely on additional electricity purchased from a local utility supplier. On the flipside, turbines connected to a grid that produce extra power can actually be sold back to the utility company, an extra perk to an installation that will already cut energy costs at least to some degree.

It’s relatively easy to reconstruct one’s home with this touch of green; windmills can be purchased from retailers, and there are a wide variety of affordable kits available for those who’d rather do it themselves. They enable anyone to put forth an effort of reducing their carbon footprint and to become reliant on a power source of their own that won’t be interrupted during those time when other’s are.

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