Personal Wind Turbines And Rooftop Windmills

Generate power with wind turbines on your house? That's what Chris Beaudoin is trying to do, thanks to a small start-up company called Blue Green Pacific.

(Garage roof wind turbine)

The total expense for the two turbines is about $10,000, and will only supply about one-third of the electricity needed for the house. Each element weighs about 300 pounds, requiring some bracing of the roof.

Personal wind turbines on the roof of your house or garage may never be more than a hobbyist's dream, however.

But many experts caution that rooftops, while abundant, are usually poor places to harness the breeze. Not only are cities less windy than the countryside, but the air is choppier because of trees and the variation in heights in buildings. Turbulence can wear down a turbine and make it operate less efficiently. This is particularly problematic for houses with pitched roofs.

“In an urban environment, more times than not you’re better off with a solar panel,” said Mr. Stimmel, of the wind industry association.

Even so, once prices come down (or kits become available) it may provide homeowners in windy areas with a renewable energy source.

The basic idea is at least a century old. In A Journey In Other Worlds, John Jacob Astor IV wrote about "rooftop windmills:"

Sometimes a man has a windmill on his roof for light and heat; then, the harder the wintry blasts may blow the brighter and warmer becomes the house, the current passing through a storage battery to make it more steady.

From Assessing the Value of Small Wind Turbines.

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