Making Wind Power Seattle WA
Making Wind Power a Breeze
Green is the new black.
With awareness of global warming rising along with temperatures and the sea level, many people are looking for ways to get involved in finding solutions.
Clean energy is one of the main areas of the green movement, and received $18.1 billion last year alone through capital and private equity investments, according to a study released in August by New Energy Finance.
Traditional turbines can be more costly and less efficient Wind is gaining traction as a power source and investors and consumers are taking notice. Wind turbines are one popular method of converting wind into power, but they typically require extensive acreage in order to be effective. (For more on this, see our article on wind farms .) Rooftop wind turbines, a scaled-down version that can fit on building rooftops, are emerging as a popular option, particularly in urban settings.
There are several companies that have developed rooftop wind turbines that are more compact than their traditional horizontal-axis counterparts, which look like windmills. Rooftop wind turbines have a vertical axis and "are made primarily with curved, galvanized steel shaped like the double helix of DNA," according to Plenty.
Small, rooftop wind turbines can capture wind from any direction, and "some can generate electricity in conditions running the gamut from 8-mile-per-hour breezes to 100-mile-per-hour gusts—a range nearly three times that of conventional, horizontal-axis turbines," according to Plenty. With time, technology will make rooftop wind turbines even more effective.
Aerotecture International, founded two years ago by Bil Becker, a professor emeritus of engineering at the University of Illinois, Chicago, offers rooftop turbines starting at just $3,000.
California-based PacWind also offers a model at $3,000. This model, intended for residential use, produces up to 2,160 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per year, while a commercial model, priced at about $50,000, produces up to 9,600 kWh annually, according to Plenty. The commercial model could provide 10 percent of a 6,500 square foot office building's annual energy needs, according to Plenty.
Jay Leno, host of the Tonight Show, recently had a PacWind Delta II turbine installed on the roof of the garage in which he stores his car collection. Leno is partnering with Popular Mechanics to make the garage energy efficient.
But, even with the costs of installation, which "typically increases the total price tag by about 35 percent," according to Plenty, rooftop wind turbines are accessibly priced for investors far less wealthy than Leno.
Still, that doesn't necessarily mean that energy savings will immediately offset the costs of purchasing a rooftop wind turbine and having it installed.
The average American household used 10,656 kWh of electricity at a cost of 10.4 cents per kWh in 2006, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Thus, a $3,000 rooftop wind ...