It's getting to the point where there's really no excuse not to give your home a green retrofit -- other than money of course. Luckily, with more and more federal and state rebates, making eco upgrades has become more affordable. While solar paneling is one of the more popular ways to juice up your house using a renewable resource, Honeywell and Earthtronics have developed a way to add wind energy to the mix.
The 6-foot wide, 95-pound Windgate is a personal wind turbine that can be installed on a roof, wall, or anywhere else on your property where you get the best breezes. The best part is that you don't have to live in a wind tunnel to start generating energy.
While traditional wind turbines begin spinning at 7.5 miles-per-hour and shut down around 29 mph to protect their gearing systems, the Windgate starts to spin in gusts as low as 2 mph and can create more power with less wind than other types of wind turbines. "The Windgate's design eliminates the geared hub design found in other turbines, and EarthTronics says this allows the unit to run more quietly and with less vibration," GizMag writes.
To accomplish this, the turbine generates energy using its gearless "free wheeling" Blade Tip Power System, which reduces mechanical resistance and drag. Rim-mounted permanent magnets generate power at the tips of the fan blades - the fastest moving area - instead of at the fan hub as in traditional turbine designs. The efficiency of this design, the company says, allows the Windgate to operate in a greater range of wind speeds (2 to 45mph, 3.2 to 72.4kph) than traditional wind turbines. Traditional turbines typically begin turning at 7.5mph (12.1kph) and shut down around 29mph (46.7kph) to protect their gearing systems.
A professional electrician is required to install the Windgate, which can create up to 2000 kilowatt hours (kW) of power per year, which is about 15 percent of an average household's energy needs says GizMag.
The EarthTronics Honeywell Windgate is available at select ACE Hardware stores for $4,500. U.S. homeowners are eligible for federal and state rebates that cover anywhere from 30 percent to 100 percent of the overall cost of the turbine.
Image: John Federico