Wind Power for the Post and Beam Home

With the great increases in efficiency and decreases in price of solar panels in recent years, they have become the leading option for on-site residential renewable energy generation. While this is a great option for many building sites, the blustery fall season that is upon us also presents the opportunity to discuss wind power for the post and beam home. Below, we will discuss factors to keep in mind when considering a wind energy system for your home.

Before considering a wind system, you should consider whether such as system makes sense for your region of the country. The maps and other resources from the Energy Information Administration can help you determine if a wind system is right for your site. The plains states have excellent wind power potential, as do sites located on mountain ridges or in some mountain passes. When examining the potential of your site, keep in mind that the amount of power generated by a wind turbine scales as the cube of the wind speed. Thus, a site with an average 4 m/s wind speed can generate 8 times the power of a site with 2 m/s average wind speeds.

Post and Beam homes built in coastal areas, or on ridges like this home in New Hampshire, are particularly good choices for wind power.

If you decide that installing a wind turbine system is right for you, then you should plan a turbine to fit your site. First, small systems that can be mounted on a home do not generate significant power. A freestanding tower allows for a higher placement of the turbine, allowing for greater and more consistent wind speeds and power generation. Second, consider whether you want a grid-tied or stand-alone turbine system. A grid-tied system saves money since it does not require a battery bank and inverters, but it cannot be used in the event of a power grid failure. If you have stable power a grid-tied system will make more sense, but if your utility power is unreliable you will want to look into a standalone system. Third, match the parameters of your turbine to the conditions at your site. The cut-in speed is the wind speed at which your turbine begins to make power, while the furling or cut-out speed is the wind speed at which your turbine will shut down to prevent damaging itself. Make sure that these figures, along with the rated power of the turbine, are appropriate for your planned location.

Thankfully, construction of a wind energy system carries substantial financial benefits in addition to the environmental ones. The federal tax credit is the same as for solar-energy system, with a credit of 30% of the system’s cost with no limit to this incentive. The credit may also be used at secondary residences. Many states have tax credits as well, and many utilities provide feed-in rebates for grid-tied systems as well. Check with your local authorities to see what incentives exist in your area. Although there are many benefits to wind energy, there are still other considerations. Where are your neighbors located? Your wind turbine could affect their view and though it may make you more energy independent, it may also make you very unpopular with those living nearby. Some towns and developments also have height restrictions. Although noise likely won't be an issue for a turbine you have at your home, larger turbines can create noise pollution, which has been a heated topic in the news in regions across the country. Do you think your land might be suitable for wind energy?  Do you find the prospect appealing, or perhaps an eye sore?   Leave us a comment and let us know your thoughts.  And, if you're ready to get started on designing your ideal post and beam home to suit wherever your land is, please contact Timberpeg to get started.