Renewable energy isn’t just a growing trend — it’s becoming a necessity as we move closer to the looming deadline for reversing climate change. Buildings consume 40% of our energy and are a great area to consider moving toward more reliance on renewable energy. What do homeowners need to know before trying to install renewable energy in their home?

Double-Check Your HOA Before You Do Anything

This might seem like a no-brainer, but if you live somewhere that has a homeowners association make sure that installing green energy options isn’t against the rules. Saving money on your utilities and reducing your carbon footprint are both noble goals, but it doesn’t help anyone if you’re receiving continual citations from your HOA for having solar panels or wind turbines on your property that aren’t supposed to be there.

Check the rules of your homeowner’s association. You’ll thank us later.

It’s Also an Option for Renters

It might sound like you don’t have any renewable energy options if you rent your home instead of buying it, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. You have the option to negotiate with your landlord to have them install solar panels on their property but if your current landlord doesn’t have any interest in going green, there are still a couple of options.

First, consider investing in portable solar panels. You can fold or unfold them as needed, and store them when they’re not in use. You also have the option to invest in shared solar, which allows you to take advantage of green energy without needing to install any hardware on your current home.

Renewable Energy Options

What options do you have for renewable energy?

Solar is probably the most well-known and popular option. You can install solar panels on the roof of your home, or replace the existing shingles with solar ones, like those that Tesla offers. You don’t even have to use solar energy to power your home — you can just use it to heat the water you use in the shower or the washing machine to save yourself some money on utilities.

Wind turbines also offer green energy options, though they are often big and can be unsightly. If you want to tap into wind power, make sure you check with local city planners to make sure that they’re permitted in your area.

If you live near a dam, you may already be getting some or all of your home’s energy from a hydropower plant.

There are other options, like wave power or geothermal energy, that aren’t as popular but you might be able to tap into them depending on your location. The United States is a leader in energy production, with a $6 trillion global energy market. As we move away from fossil fuels, that market won’t shrink — it will simply transition to green energy.

Call In A Professional

No matter what type of green energy you choose, we recommend calling a professional to handle the installation. You will need to tap into your home’s power main, among other things, and that can be dangerous for an inexperienced individual. Don’t try to save a few bucks by going with a DIY installation. You’ll regret it later, and may injure yourself or someone else in the process.

Look Toward the Future

Green energy isn’t going anywhere, as more consumers start to get concerned about their impact on the world around them. We’ll see solar panels, wind turbines, and other renewable energy options become mainstream in the next few years. If you’re planning on converting your home to renewable energy, make sure you pick the type that will work best for your location and have it installed by a professional to prevent any problems.

Emily is a sustainability writer who is the creator of Conservation Folks.