Wind Power At Home

There is a single wind turbine along the highway in Boston. Massive in size, it still manages to look a little lonely and lost to me. I want to put my hand on its blade and lead it to a wind field where it can enjoy fresh wind and maybe even find other turbines to shoot the breeze with.

I’ve never really given much thought to why this lone wind turbine is there. But it turns out it’s there specifically to get me to think about it. Here’s a quote from the press release:

“With tens of thousands of commuters expected to pass by the turbine every day either on the highway or the commuter rail which runs right by it, the project will serve to highlight wind power technology.”

I wonder if those commuters ever think about wind power technology in their own homes? Back in 2009, Honeywell created the WT6500 Wind Turbine for residential (and commercial) use.

Addressing consumer concerns, the Honeywell turbine is quieter and faster than it’s predecessors thanks to some crafty engineering, and can pull power from winds as slow as 2 mph. It’s six feet tall, and 180 lbs. The price of the turbine is $5k (about $10k with installation).

So why haven’t I seen one of these perched on top of any homes or even buildings? My guess is that since the economy and home ownership took a downturn people view this expense as unessential.

To find out for sure I took my investigative journalism to the streets to see what the public had to say. By streets, I mean Facebook. I hope using social media doesn’t interfere with my carefully crafted public persona of a street-wise reporter shaking down the public for answers.

I asked, “If you had $10k to invest in a wind turbine to power your home, would you? Why or why not?”

The answer was split. Half gave me an overwhelming yes, saying that they would do whatever they could to go green. The other half immediately started asking dollar and cents questions. Are there tax rebates? How much do you save a year? When do they project you’ll recoup your money?

We’re at an interesting place in history where the green movement is more prevalent than ever, but people are so worried about the economy that they can’t rationalize spending their money on going green. Even if the money is imaginary. Hopefully as the economy turns we’ll see more renewable energy adoption at home.

Would you use a wind turbine to power your household?

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2 thoughts on “Wind Power At Home”

  1. Celia Lee says:

    I would but I suspect it is not as simple as just putting the turbine. We looked into Solar power, but the configuration of our house and surrounding trees meant greatly reduced efficiency. I also live in Medford,MA where the lone wind turbine along I93 is located, and chosing the location for the turbine was tricky. I wonder if things like trees and hills affect the placement of these home turbines as well.

  2. Good point Celia. I hadn’t even taken into consideration the environmental restraints. Well, aside from living in an area that doesn’t have much wind. You bring up a really good point – what does installation entail and what restrictions are there? That could definitely be an obstacle in convincing people to switch. Perhaps as this technology progresses they’ll figure out a solution to circumvent these issues. Hopefully with Solar power too!

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