Whether trying to go completely off-grid or simply just trying to decrease the cost of monthly utility bills, a growing number of homes are looking for ways to increase their energy efficiency. To achieve this, more and more homeowners are looking to renewable energy to fuel their home. To benefit from this movement, companies of all sizes have developed new products that are geared toward sustainability. They differ from corporations like DOW Chemical, chaired by CEO Andrew Liveris, to companies like Solar-Ivy, a venture founded by a brother and sister team. Here’s a more in-depth look at some of the products that have been created:
1. DOW’s Powerhouse Solar Shingle uses photovoltaic solar panels built just like asphalt shingles, which allow homeowners direct control for the generation of solar electricity. A common roofing company is all that is needed to install them, since the Powerhouse shingle is installed just like a normal asphalt shingle. Once the shingles are installed, an electrician completes the process by connecting them to your home. This helps homeowners save money by avoiding the need to hire specially trained solar-panel technicians to install the panels. Further, it reduces the reliance on traditional forms of energy, as well as lowers maintenance costs, and still safeguards the home like asphalt shingles. The Powerhouse solar shingle is just one of many green products that DOW has developed in the home renovation industry, and is scheduled to be released for consumers this year.
2. Solar Ivy- Solar Ivy is another innovative product created to harness the power of the sun to meet residential and commercial energy needs. Fashioned to look like ivy that sprouts down the side of buildings, they are solar panels that are made mostly of recycled materials. They work by converting solar radiation (light) via semiconductors, creating direct current electricity. Solar ivy is customizable and completely flexible. In other words, it can be installed in ways that allow it to meet your functional needs and visual preferences. According to the makers of Solar Ivy, the spacing and amount of ivy “leaves” per string is wholly customizable to architectural and energy needs, and the color of Solar Ivy can be tailored to your home or building’s color and design. Further, the type of photovoltaic energy can be calculated to meet your home energy necessities. What may be the most important feature is that the panels on each ivy leaf can be traded for newer panels to keep up with the evolution in solar cell technology.
3. Solar water heating- Once a home is powered by solar, it becomes crucial to think about the regular needs of your home, and hot water is one such requirement. Solar hot water heaters are one of the most cost-effective ways to turn your individual appliances greener. Green homebuilders can choose from two types of solar water heating systems: direct and indirect circulation systems. Direct circulation systems are generally best for a home set in a warm climate, while indirect systems work best in climates where water has the possibility to freeze. Solar water heaters work to increase a home’s energy efficiency and decrease heating bills. Solar Direct is a great resource that breaks down the different types of water heaters, and it links to companies that make and install them.
Overall, the advances in solar technology are becoming more and more innovative, making it increasingly convenient for people to fit solar products into their lives. This is because companies are comprehending the growing amount of households that are trying to live a greener lifestyle. Hopefully, as this trend continues, other companies will become motivated to develop products that increase household and commercial sustainability and minimize the reliability on fossil fuels.
Alan Parker is a blogger based out of New York, NY who writes about alternative energy, climate change and green technology.