Dual Purpose Solar Roofing and Other Earth-Friendly Ways to Heat your Home

Heating your home and protecting its inhabitants against the cold is definitely not a simple matter. This is especially true when you think about the rising costs of heating oil which, according to CNN, have increased by as much as 10% in the year 2011. Add to that rising costs of other fossil fuel -based energy sources and you definitely have a financial issue on your hand.

Solar roofingThe good news is that you do not really have to move to the tropics just to escape the steep costs of winter but you will need to take a serious look at alternative methods to heating your home. There is geothermal heating which is said to be one of the most efficient and greenest way to go about it according to Energy Star. There are also masonry and stove heaters that produce heat by burning renewable fuels like pellets made from switchgrass, wood, sawdust and even corn. But one promising new technology that we might be seeing in homes soon are solar heating cells that are built right into a home’s structure and designed to utilize the heat of the sun for heating homes.

Electro IQ recently came out with a nice piece talking about how researchers in Australia are possibly coming up with a way to integrate solar energy capturing cells into the house itself instead of the usual solar panel construction that many homes lay down in arrays on their roofs. This technology aims to incorporate solar cells right into the material of, say, the roof itself so there will be no need to make solar panel arrays and have them mounted or installed. The challenge here is coming up with materials that that can integrate the solar cells and still be as durable as any ordinary roofing material.

One important thrust of the project is to find a way to use the heat byproduct of solar panels in such a way that they can be used for heating homes more efficiently. Most residential solar panels do not really tackle this issue and just allow the heat byproduct to go un-utilized and wasted. The researchers aim to change this by engineering an insulated space behind the solar roofs that can harness the excess heat and allow it to warm up the air enough for practical heating and perhaps store it for night time use. With such a solar power system, you not only reduce your usual electrical energy expenses, you can also use it to give savings on expenses related to heating.

For people looking to further reduce their carbon footprint and save some cash in the process, this is definitely worth watching out for.