Building a Wind Turbine: 5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying Wind Turbine Plans
Do you want to build a wind turbine? Many people build their own, and most of them enjoy great benefits, like lower electricity bills, energy independence, and a healthier environment. This does not necessarily mean, however, that you will enjoy those same benefits. To find out if building a wind turbine is a good idea for you, you must ask yourself these five essential questions.
Question 1: Am I in a good location?
Obviously, to be useful, a wind turbine needs wind. Experts in the field say that you should have fairly constant 8 to 14 MPH winds to efficiently and effectively operate a turbine. To assess your site you can consult a wind atlas, do an online search, or, for more accurate results, buy a wind measuring device, called an anemometer, and measure the wind speeds at your exact location.
Question 2: Why do I want to build a wind turbine?
A small homemade wind turbine is not going to meet all of your electricity demands. To build a windmill that produced enough electricity to power your entire home, you would need to have quite a bit of wind power knowledge, in which case you probably wouldn’t still be reading this article. So, why do you want to build a wind turbine? If you are looking to stay on the grid but reduce your electricity bills, build a wind turbine. If you are looking for a fun new home-improvement project, again, this is a great project for you. If you are entertaining thoughts of saying goodbye to your power company, perhaps you should start small and work your way up.
Question 3: How much property do I have?
While today’s wind turbines are very quiet, you probably don’t want one right next to your bedroom window (neither does your next door neighbor). If you’re going to install a windmill of some sort, I suggest that you have about an acre of land, less than that and things might feel a little bit crowded. Of course, many people simply install their turbines on their roofs. You can do this, which means you don’t need much property at all, but you should be aware that your turbine will operate less efficiently if mounted in such a fashion. The smoothest, most constant winds are found thirty feet above any structures.
Question 4: What are the building codes in my area?
In some places, particularly in urban areas, there are building codes that restrict the installation and usage of wind turbines. It would be a shame to build one only to find out that you are not permitted to install and use it. Before building, check with your local government.
Question 5: Do I have the skills to build a wind turbine?
Are you a DIY kind of person? If so, you can certainly tackle a project like this. Your building and electrical skills, however, will determine how you go about completing the project. If you’re not too confident in your abilities, you can just buy a kit. These kits come complete with prefabricated parts; you just unpack and assemble. If you are a bit more advanced, on the other hand, you can buy a set of wind turbine plans off the Internet. These plans include blueprints and how-to videos that guide you along but let you do all the fabricating. Your level of involvement using these plans is entirely up to you. Some people, for example, fabricate beautiful wooden turbine blades. Others simply buy used composite blades from eBay.
After asking yourself these 5 essential questions, you should know whether or not you want to build a wind turbine. If the answer is yes, enjoy your new project. If the answer is no, but you are still interested in renewable energy, I suggest you do some research on a new topic–building your own solar panels.
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