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Is your backyard ready for wind energy?

Do you ever look out your window, watch the branches swaying in the wind and wonder whether you could be generating your own wind power? Well iPhone users, you can now download the app you never knew you needed… it will tell you whether you it’s windy enough for your own personal turbine. Mariah Power.

*Windspire Me* uses the phone’s microphone to capture wind noise and convert this into a decibel rating that in turn corresponds to wind speed. If you want more on the science you can read more at the New York Times greeninc blog. The app will also record your location and add your reading to a database of wind speeds.

You probably shouldn’t use this for anything more than a rough guide (and certainly don’t take it sailing); the manufacturers claim it is accurate to within a couple of miles per hour. To get a quick and rough sense of whether your home is suitable for a wind turbine, you can refer to the US Department of Energy’s wind resource map. For a more comprehensive test, you’ll probably need anemometer readings over a longer period of time.

Mariah Power makes 30 foot tall wind turbines called Windspires They are designed to operate in winds of 10 miles per hour or greater. But your own wind energy comes at a cost: one of these units will run between $9,000 and $12,000, although it is eligible for a 30% federal tax credit.

Wind turbines for domestic and small commercial uses are increasingly popular. Ever since Ed Begley Jr. featured his own wind turbine on his Living with Ed tav series, we’ve received a regular stream of questions about them. I’m interested to know if anybody has had any success with their own turbine? We’d love to hear your stories.

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