Many people are looking for green home energy solutions to save energy, save money and progress toward living more lightly on the earth. Those who enjoy do-it-yourself projects can accomplish this with the tips in the new book, Renewable Energies for Your Home by Russel Gehrke. Learn more about this book as well as how you can make your home more green by reading the following interview.
About Russel Gehrke
Russel Gehrke is a well-known alternative energy consultant and engineer. His company, Ecosense Solutions, has been featured on the Discovery Channel and in numerous television shows.
Recently, he published his book, Renewable Energies for Your Home Real-World Solutions for Green Conversions, with McGraw-Hill to help people apply alternative energy resources in their homes.
Green Home Energy Solutions Interview
Why is green living important to you?
Green living is important to every living thing, not just me. It's the shade of green that is what is important to me and we all have a choice about what shade of green we live by.
I have been called (much to my dislike) a "green guru", eco-genius, mad scientist, and numerous other catchy things that point out my abilities in the alternative energy world. Having these multiple labels may give you the mistaken impression that I'm another stereotypical eco guy. Trust me, most people think that same thing when they first met me. I don't want people to feel the need to blurt out "I recycle too!" hide their disposable bottle of water, cancel that order of rare steak, and watch them scan the room for the nearest exit.
Once people get to know me they notice that I'm not going to be chastising them for driving a gas guzzler or find me crying over the loss of the bugs that are splattered on their car's windshield. I also happily make it a point to keep my vocabulary devoid of the word 'dude' at the beginning of every sentence.
I'm just simply in favor of a more efficient and effective ways to put as many of our renewable resources to use that won't require an act of Congress or force us to send our much needed money overseas to help fund others who may not have our best interest at heart. We won't ever be able to effectively change anything with doomsday predictions, politically driven movies or half backed solutions that just make us sleep better at night because a celebrity told us that it was the right thing to do.
If we could just for a moment pull all of our hands out of the proverbial cookie jar, stop with the politics, anti oil industry, global warming, end of the world speak we need to focus on the things we can change ourselves that's how things get solved.
What need does your book fill?
My hope for the readers of the book is that they are able to take away not that we have to drastically change our lives to satisfy the people who make us feel guilty because our cows pass gas, but that we can be better conservationist and become more effective consumers without having to dispose of the many comforts of life we have become accustomed to.
I also want people to take a step back and look at all of the information available to us on the environment with a critical eye. Question those dramatic scenarios; just look for the facts in all of it. The most destructive thing that we have done is to take a small bit of information that we don't really understand and run with it. All of the eco and anti eco people have turned into Chicken Little's. The sky is falling and we are, sadly, more interested in telling everyone about it than we are in finding real ways to stop it.
If you are inclined to become a little more enlightened; like to take a good honest look at how things really work; and my favorite, save a little money, then you may find that Renewable Energies for Your Home Real-Worlds Solutions for Green Conversions has an actual and positive application for your home.
Have you actually done all the projects in your book?
Every project in the book has been done. It took me 20 weeks to write the book and develop, perform, and test all the book's projects. Everything in the book relates to my life's work and has been in my head for the past 20 years.
Can most people do these projects on their own?
Yes, the book's projects are written for the average adult with limited resources.
Can you explain how someone can build their own wind/solar hybrid system?
I was very careful to pick out credible sources that could supply the products and fulfill the needs of my readers' projects. The wind/solar hybrid system isn't a new idea. I just wanted my readers to look at using the hybrid system as a first step to supply some of their energy demands.
For someone just starting out, it's important not try to run their whole house, thus keeping cost down and helping them learn how to build a system. Most of the projects in the book have a near term or instant return on investment. The wind and solar projects can cost hundreds of dollars for the homeowner but in most cases, with the smaller systems like the one in the book, the return on investment should be in less then a year.
Green energy is an easy sell if it's affordable and the homeowner can see a quick return on that investment. Being green is even better when it's also about saving green.
How much of a home's energy can be generated by this system?
To save a quick six percent move all your phantom loads to the hybrid system. Devices that have a phantom load include computers, digital monitors and printers and any device with an "instant on" function or has remote controls.
The wind/solar hybrid system can also be used to electrically heat your home's water, thus finding hundred dollars of energy savings. By adding a second wind/solar DC low voltage electric powered hot water heater in front of the home's primary water heater, you make free hot water anytime there's wind or sunshine. This system is very cost effective since the need for battery's, DC to AC inverter, and controller are no longer needed. All electricity produced goes into heating household hot water so even light winds and cloudy days still add up to energy savings.
Do you find that these projects are intimidating or complex for the average person?
Not at all. Most people have the desire or need to be more energy independent and save money. Saving money is usually a good enough motivator to help the average person to not be intimidated. For the readers that have trouble putting their head around these projects, there are always friends or family that can help them reach their goals.
What do you most want readers to know about renewable energy?
We can't expect our government, corporations, or even our neighbors to get us away from fossil fuels. It all starts with us and the choices we make. It's our choice of being part of a grassroots movement to renewable energy that really is greener on the other side of the fence. That's why I wrote Renewable Energies for Your Home Real-World Solutions for Green Conversions. Because it touches on easy, inexpensive, and effective ways to be "green" without breaking the bank, plus ways to actually put a little money back into your own pocket.
What else would you like to add?
Today it seems like the word "green" is passed around far to often and is found everywhere we look. From the news, to political leaders, to the stores we shop in, green is a buzz word often used to get into our hearts, heads, and more often pocket books. I feel as though I'm being brain washed (or green washed) by all the "green" talk and "green" hype.
For example we know electric cars are very efficient and can be very green when charged off of renewable energy. Yet if we depended on today's electric grid to charge electric cars, we would only find around two percent of that electricity coming from renewable sources. So the electric car may be green, but how it's recharged affects the shade of green it is and what we're being sold on. I predict in the near future we'll hear the phrase "green washed" used often to point fingers at companies and even our political leaders who use the green word to sell more goods or push their agendas and policies. The most powerful form of renewable energy isn't green at all, it's gray. The gray matter in our heads is the most often over looked form of renewable energy and that is because it is the energy we use to decide how we spend our money.
LoveToKnow would like to thank Russel Gehrke for telling readers about his book Renewable Energies for Your Home Real-World Solutions for Green Conversions. His easy to follow tips are the perfect start for those wanting to try green home energy solutions that are affordable and really work. You can get your copy at Amazon.