20 May 2009 12:05:01
US couple offer advice on giving up CO2
An energy conscious couple from the US have published a book about the trials and tribulations they encountered along the road to carbon neutrality.
Stephen and Rebekah Hren have spent the last two years creating a solar home that makes use of renewable energy and wrote about their experiences in the Carbon-Free Home to help other households adopt a low-carbon lifestyle.
According to US paper the Durham News, the couple from North Carolina have equipped their 1930s bungalow to run on solar power and generate enough electricity to sell some back to the grid.
Their residence also boasts a "food forest" of fruit and vegetables - pears, blueberries and artichokes are just some of the products they grow - and a solar oven for slow-cooking meals.
Speaking to the paper, Mrs Hren, a certified electrician specialising in solar installations, said: "For the first two years we were here we weren't tied to the utility grid and functioned off a battery bank and solar power for electricity."
However, she explained that there are benefits to being connected to smart grids that are run by utilities offering power generation buy-back schemes.
"It is more efficient and better in general for the planet for us to be able to sell our excess solar power, so it feeds into our neighbours' houses when we aren't able to use all of it."
The UK Solar Trade Association suggests that an average-sized household photovoltaic solar power system can deliver 2,000 units of electricity a year, enough to save 1.14 tonnes of carbon dioxide.http://www.solar-trade.org.uk/solarenergy/use.htm