Should I Put A Windmill On My House
To Save The Planet?
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Should I Put A Windmill On My
House To Save The Planet?
: Wind / windmill
By: Alex Perry
Wind energy is a tried and tested technology that has
been used for centuries. More recently it has become
a popular way to generate electricity, as concern has
grown about man-made Climate Change. Electricity
generated from the wind does not produce any carbon
dioxide, and has none of the worries associated with
nuclear power. As a result, many have come to see it
as a major part of the solution for man-made Climate
Change. If we could generate a substantial portion of
our electricity from wind, we would massively reduce
the amount of carbon dioxide that we emit into the
atmosphere. Furthermore, the cost of generating
electricity from large wind turbines is falling, and is
expected soon to be cost competitive with electricity
generation from fossil fuels.
As a result of this, wind farms have sprung up all over the place, with enormous turbines that
each generate enough electricity to power thousands of homes. Some people have also tried
to replicate this technology on a small scale, by installing a small wind turbine on their
house. Most famously in the UK, David Cameron, the leader of the Conservative Party, had a
small wind turbine installed on the roof of his London home.

However, for most households, especially in cities, wind turbines are an expensive way to
achieve very little. In fact they are almost useless. It has been calculated that a 1.75 metre
diameter wind turbine, in an area with UK average wind speed of 4 metres a second, will
produce under 5% of an average UK household’s annual electricity consumption. And this
assumes that the turbine is working efficiently.

However in cities, the buildings cause a great deal of wind turbulence, and slow down wind
speeds. Therefore to make a turbine work efficiently it would need to be fixed far above a
house (up to 10 metres). Fixing a windmill on a long pole like this would likely cause serious
damage to your house, as would trying to go for a bigger turbine to generate a larger
proportion of your electricity.

The only case when you should consider a wind turbine is when you can site it far enough
from any obstacles like buildings, and in a relatively windy site. Some people who live in the
country are able to set up turbines that generate a significant proportion of their own electricity.

However, the vast majority of people live in cities, where small wind turbines are next to
useless. So what should you do instead? The first thing you should focus on is using energy
much more efficiently, by insulating your home to save heat, installing a super-efficient
condensing boiler, buying energy-efficient appliances like fridges and washing machines,
and installing low energy light bulbs.

Once you have taken these basic measures, you can start to think about generating your own
energy using other ‘clean’ technologies. The most cost effective of these is generally solar
hot water, where solar panels on your roof provide up to 70% of your annual hot water needs
by using the sun’s heat. You can also consider using a ground source heat pump to heat
your home, and solar PV panels on your roof to generate electricity, but these measures can
be expensive, and so will not be for everyone. More details of all these technologies are
available on

Unfortunately small wind turbines in their current design are not the way forward for the vast
majority of us. It is possible that in the future someone will come up with a better design that
can work in cities, but until then we will have to carry on building the larger versions, and take
other actions to reduce our home’s contribution to Climate Change.

About the Author: Alex Perry is a founder of
http://, a site dedicated to making it easy
for people to save energy and cut their personal contribution to
Climate Change by giving them information and putting them in
touch with companies that can help. For more information on how
to save energy in the home visit http://


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To Save The Planet?
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