Wind Turbines


To get the most out of today’s domestic turbines, you really need to live on top of a very windy hill

It’s no secret that domestic wind turbines are controversial, slated by some as not being able to power a hairdryer; portrayed by their supporters as misunderstood. Suppliers only have themselves to blame: one of the main reasons turbines got such a bad press is that several of them quoted a performance that assumed a wind speed of 12 metres per second (m/s), which is way beyond normal velocity anywhere on the UK mainland. The wind speed database says that at 5 m/s you’re in business and 6 m/s is sounding like a good site.


  • Relatively cheap: installation begins at around £2,000 for a 1kW turbine (well below an average home’s needs).

  • The Low Carbon Buildings Programme will offer a grant.


  • The wind speed database only gives an average figure, and doesn’t account for local elements such as buildings and trees which will affect wind velocity – so you’ll need to buy an anenometer.

  • Warwick Wind Trials suggest this technology has a way to go before it’s a practical option.

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Words: Dominic Murphy  Image: B&Q

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