Green trends – how do I make my house self-sufficient?
A more environmentally friendly and self-determined life, and at a lower cost – a self-sufficient house can make this dream possible.
We are on the way into the age of renewable energies, and environmentally friendly alternatives such as solar, wind or hydropower are becoming increasingly important. Connected with this is the desire to use this energy as effectively as possible and thus completely replace conventional power supply paths. Environmental awareness and self-determined energy supply become important issues, the interest in a self-sufficient life increases.
What does self-sufficiency mean and how can it be implemented?
First: What exactly is a self-sufficient house? The literal meaning of “self-sufficient” is “independent, does not depend on anyone”. Concerning a house, that means above all that the owners want to become independent of external providers of electricity, water or heat and the associated fluctuating costs that cannot be influenced by the individual.
This raises the question of when does a house count as self-sufficient? There are different points of view. Some speak only of self-sufficiency when the house is independent of all utility networks. Others say that self-sufficient houses are ones that produce their own electricity. Depending on which definition you agree on, different discussions and possibilities will arise. In most cases, a house that can supply itself independently with electricity and hot water is already called independent.
An important fact: In Germany, the implementation of a completely self-sufficient house, at least currently, is not feasible, because for building law reasons alone, a connection to a local sewer and thus a water connection is mandatory. The use of rainwater as drinking water is also prohibited. Despite this regulation, it is possible – let’s stick to a softer definition – to build a largely self-sufficient house that does not require external power and heat supply.
Since 2002, the share of renewable energies in the electricity mix has increased almost steadily. With an approximately constant power consumption of about 500 terawatt hours, this means more and more energy generated by wind turbines, photovoltaics, biomass and hydropower.
Normally the power supply in a self-sufficient house is secured with a photovoltaic system, as it is easy to integrate in the construction project or easy to install later. But also a wind turbine or a combined heat and power plant are possible. Depending on how much energy is produced and how big this plant should be, you have to invest a lot before the saving effect starts.
But what if the sun does not shine? It is essential that the house remains powered even in inappropriate weather conditions and you are therefore not dependent on external energy. Of course, this is only possible if the energy that has already been gained can be used at any time, which is guaranteed with the help of a power storage system such as the SENEC.Home V2.1.
With a solar system alone you cover your electricity needs at home to about 30%. With the installation of a SENEC power storage system you already reach about 70%. In combination with the energy solution SENEC.Cloud 2.0 you can also take the power of the summer into the winter instead of buying it from the net. Excess energy is stored in the virtual energy cloud, thus ensuring that the energy gained is can be used at any time, especially over the winter months or during a prolonged rainy season.
Is a conversion worthwhile?
Since the cost of such a change initially seems high, the inhibition threshold to take the step towards independence is likely to be quite large for many people. In the long run, however, the advantages outweigh. An example from Germany: A family of four with 5,000-kilowatt hours (kWh) of annual electricity consumption currently pays to the utility about 1,450 € per year. In the next 20 years, these costs add up to € 39,000, or significantly more if we assume that the price of electricity will continue to rise. For comparison: The alternative energy solution with a PV system, SENEC power storage system and SENEC.Cloud 2.0 costs about € 20,000. Self-sufficiency saves the family about € 19,000 in the long term with this solution, which is half of the “normal” cost of electricity.
Another step in the direction of self-sufficiency and no longer just a vision of the future is the use of self-generated electricity for charging your own electric car. With the SENEC.Cloud To Go, this is also possible on the road – with the tank chip, the power credit is taken to charge the car easily at more than 60,000 participating charging stations in Europe.