Let’s talk about green energy today. Green means better for the environment, which means a more sustainable environment and a better future for us all. So what are green energy options and how can everyone get in on it regardless of your circumstances?

First, we’ll talk about solar power. Solar panels are great – you put them on your roof and harness the sun’s energy to make power to run your house or business. How great is that? Well, it is not so great if you don’t have a lot of money or if you don’t have a roof to put the panels on. For example, take me. I’m a very happy renter. I love where I live. My landlord loves his roof and isn’t willing to let me put panels on it (yes, I’ve asked, and if you rent, it won’t hurt to ask either). You would think that means I’m stuck paying for whatever energy my power company uses, but you’d be wrong. First, there are some smaller solar panels you can put out on a sunny balcony and attach to a battery backup. There’s also the super cool looking smartflower, which doesn’t need a roof and is portable enough that you can take with you if you move. What if none of those options work for you? There are community solar farms available, and you can either buy in and rent a certain amount of panels at the farm (then any energy they produce is credited to you as a discount reflected on your utility bill). Some companies will even let you buy “green credits”, which are excess energy that people with solar panels produced but did not use or are from companies selling the power generated by their own green sources. So even if you don’t have room where you live for panels or you can’t afford them, you might still be able to use solar energy. It just takes a little creative legwork.

Another great choice is wind power, another great way to access energy that is naturally occurring on Earth. Our ancestors knew this – what do you think windmills were for? Turbine designs are getting better and better, bringing their efficiency up while reducing noise levels and bringing other side effects down. Here in Indiana, we’ve got quite a few large-scale wind farms. But did you know that you can even have your own personal wind turbine? If you have enough wind to make it worth it, and a place to install it, you can use wind energy to run your home! Pretty great, isn’t it?

If you cannot convert at least some of your energy to a green source, you can at least reduce your energy consumption. Use energy efficient appliances and light sources, use a thermostat with a timer, make sure your home is well-insulated, and turn off electronics and lights when they are not in use. Some energy companies will do an energy audit on your home and give you advice on what you can do to lower your utility bill. Anything you do will have an impact, so don’t wait!