Energy Independence Is A Philosophy
I am sure many of you are understandably concerned about energy conservation. I am also sure that most of you have grimaced over your wintertime natural gas or oil bills (or summer AC costs). I would bet that few of you have even considered a foray into the thorny world of energy independence!
Energy independence is a way of life
Energy independence is not just having a wood-burning furnace or photovoltaic system on your roof. It is a way of life that is a combination of equipment and attitude! Considering the number of aging solar water heaters on homes that have gone into disrepair, the miles of torn weatherstripping and poorly maintained oil and gas furnaces, it is clear that you must be willing to do "the right thing" to conserve energy... bring what you already own in your home up to speed and not just spend your hard-earned money on gimmicks or fads!
Becoming energy independent is not free!
Most energy efficiency solutions require a certain amount of work and some expense. Before you spend a dime, you need some basic knowledge of the potential energy problems in your home! A great place to start... many local power companies offer free or low cost home energy inspections. These can help you focus on your home's particular problems and give you a kick-start on the road to more efficient energy use. Some companies will even install weatherstripping, give you free low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators, and even caulk for you!
Start slowly with the two basics... weatherstripping and insulation.
Weatherstripping and insulation are two of the least expensive methods of energy saving, but give you the most bang for the buck! Then move on to evaluate your home's energy systems. How efficient is your furnace or water heater? Do you have a set-back thermostat on your furnace? Is your water heater set to an energy efficient 120 degrees? Then, and only then should you look at the more hard-core measures... wood stoves or furnaces, solar heating systems or even turning your home into an electric utility via use of roof-mounted photovoltaic cells!
We have just started accumulating articles from a variety of sources, both public and private. Check back from time to time as we continue to add more important information to help you help yourself!