Anyone who has ever sailed a boat across the ocean or a lake is very familiar with the immense power of the wind. But what about running our homes—and your business as well—from just a breeze? It's certainly possible to use wind energy to take care of your power needs—and even potentially save you some money.
Still, there's a little more to getting your lights, air conditioning, refrigerator and television juiced than just hoisting a windmill up on your front lawn. The idea of using windmills traces back to 200 B.C., says SaveOnEnergy.com, an online marketplace for energy customers in 14 states and the District of Columbia. But the versions of these metal windmills at work today, those that are taking care of 4.5 percent of our energy needs in the U.S., are a bit more modernized.
Called wind turbines, these 21st Century windmills, can stand more than 300 feet tall—and there are more than 48,000 at work in the U.S. today. But wind turbines can be found all over the world—from Spain to Denmark, India to China.
Of course not everyone can hoist a wind turbine, plug in their toaster, and prep their breakfast. There is a little more than that to charging your home with wind power. There's also some cost involved—in some cases this can run to up to $80,000 a year. (Although there are wind leasing programs available in certain areas of the country.)
However, if you're lucky, you might not only juice your own house, but have enough leftover to return that energy back to the grid, and reap some credit on your energy bill.
The animated infographic, from SaveOnEnergy.com, details just how wind turbines work from the way the blades catch the wind to the aerodynamics of the turbines when they're at work—so you can decide if they make sense for you and your home.