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Home Wind Turbines-How do I know if I have enough wind?

Whether you are considering a small rooftop unit or a large residential wind turbine you need to know how much wind is in your area. Wind resource maps published by the US Department of Energy’s wind program show wind speeds at 50 meters (150 feet) above the ground and are a great resource in deciding if you are in a viable location-View maps. That’s great if you’re installing a larger 10 kilowatt turbine which is typically installed on a 100 foot tower and has a rotor diameter of 24 feet. Below that you really need to evaluate wind power on a micro level.
How to measure wind power for a small rooftop wind turbine.
You need to collect wind speed data using an anemometer.  Also known as an air velocity meter or wind cup it is used to measure wind speed.  This can help you decide whether there is enough wind energy at your site to invest in a wind turbine. The new Extech HD300 Anemometer HD300 wind anemometeris the perfect solution.  It has a datalogger feature which takes wind speed readings over a 10 hour time period. You can then download the data to a PC with the software provided to view the moving average wind speed.
Key things to keep in mind before purchasing a home wind turbine.
1. Homes in urban centers aren’t the ideal location for most wind turbines because of turbulent wind flow around surrounding buildings. Wind turbines need a consistent strong airflow to generate electricity. Ideally urban areas that can effectively use turbines are the roofs of high-rise commercial and residential apartment buildings.
2. You need 7 mph to get a wind turbine started and average at least 10-12mph for 6 hours a day to generate electricity.
3. An average home uses 800-1000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per month (Trivia fact-Al Gore’s house devoured 221,000 kWh in 2006 or 20 times the national average household as reported on Chattanoogan.com).
4. A general rule of thumb in the turbine industry states that a residential wind powered system shouldn’t be considered unless you pay $0.10 or more per kWh.
5. A small home turbine like the Southwest Air Breeze will produce 38 kilowatt-hours per month with a 12 mph consistent wind speed or about 4% of what a home needs. To put it into perspective a 100 watt light bulb left on 5 hours a day will consume 15 kilo-watt hours per month .
Summary
While you may not be able to jump off the power grid a wind turbine is a viable way to generate electricity. With the power of wind you can forget about carbon footprints.

Bosworth Instrument 1995 E. 55th St.  Cleveland, OH 44103  |  800-804-6216  |  info@bosworthsupply.com

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