With renewable energy, a little advanced planning can add up to significant savings. Here are two quick tips to get you on the right track:
1) Design right. Whether you’re building a new home or remodeling an old one, proper design and planning can offer savings once you’re ready to install your RE systems. Orient additions or new buildings to true south and reconsider rooflines and gables that interfere with solar access. Provide an unobstructed south-facing roof surface that allows plenty of solar collection area.
If you’re planning to install a PV or SHW system, consider incorporating a chase between the roof and the basement to allow easy access and plenty of space for running cables and insulated plumbing. And don’t forget to construct your roof to handle the additional weight of collectors, if necessary. Purchase a long-lasting roofing material too, and then, if you know what equipment you’re planning to use, consider pre-installing rack stanchions before the new roof goes on.
2) Double up. If you identify what you want ahead of time, you can piggyback projects with little or no extra cost. When we had some driveway work done, I had the backhoe and crew already on site dig trenches for conduit between my house and a future wind turbine site, as well as for piping between rain collection barrels. It took less than an hour of backhoe time for all that work and now I’m a step ahead on two future projects.