Weather Forecast


Learn about alternative energy at the Detroit Lakes library

In this era of "going green" a lot is said about renewable or "free" energy sources. Some such sources are: biomass, wind, solar, geothermal, and hydroelectric energy.

Many believe the up-front costs are so prohibitive that it doesn't pay to convert to these forms of energy. That's why government entities have implemented programs offering incentives to defray the large up-front costs of installing such systems.

Once a homeowner gets past the initial costs, there are money savings in the long run, but many feel the effects of going green or lack of effects on our environment are well worth the costs. Homeowners can learn more about renewable energy sources and how to install them at the Detroit Lakes Library.

The following are a few of the books available on the topic:

• Build Your Own Solar Heating System, by Kenneth Clive. This book provides step-by-step instructions for the average do-it-yourself homeowner or hobbyist for building a fully functional solar heating system capable of pre-heating water for a water heater and heating a house in winter. The project described in the book, was built with easily available tools and resources so that it can be duplicated by anyone who is handy with basic tools and construction techniques.

• Solar Water Heating, by Rob Ramlow with Benjamin Nusz. This book presents the basics of solar water heating, including an introduction to modern solar energy systems, energy conservation and energy economics. Drawing on the author's experience as an installer of these systems, the book goes on to cover:

1) Types of solar collectors, solar water and space heating systems and solar pool heating systems, including their advantages and disadvantages;

2) System components, their installation, operation, and maintenance;

3) System sizing and site position;

4) Choosing the appropriate system.

Since people often get turned off by the up-front cost, the book focuses especially on the financial aspects of solar water or space heating systems, clearly showing that such systems can save significant costs in the long run. Well-illustrated, the book is designed for a wide readership from the curious to the student or professional.

• Idiot's Guide to Solar Power for Your Home, by Dan Ramsey with David Hughes. Solar Power (photovoltaic) is now a one-billion-dollar industry, and it's poised to grow rapidly in the near future as more pressure is placed on limited fossil fuel resources and as advances in solar technology drive down the costs of residential solar systems.

This book helps readers understand the basics of solar power and other renewable energy sources, explore whether solar power makes sense for them, what their options are, and what's involved with installing various on and off-grid systems.

The Detroit Lakes Library is open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is closed on Sundays.

For more information on library services and programs, please call 218-847-2168 or visit your library at 1000 Washington Ave. The Detroit Lakes Library is a branch of Lake Agassiz Regional Library (LARL). Information about LARL services is available online at