April 25, 2011
For many of us, solar power is most commonly associated with the installation of large solar panels on your roof or in your garden. But solar power has come a long way in the last few years, and we’re now seeing a significant increase in the number of solar appliances available to consumers. A growing number of products including refrigerators, cookers and air-conditioning systems are coming onto the market, giving us more reasons than ever before to consider going solar.
Solar power enables your household to harness the natural heat and energy of the sun, and transform it into a renewable and inexhaustible energy source which will help you run your home. The cost savings associated with solar energy are also impressive, with potential savings of over 75% on your electricity bills. What’s more, solar power doesn’t just help to reduce your household utility bills – it can also help you make a profit by selling the surplus solar energy you generate back to your local grid.
Switching to solar energy is a great way to reduce your household energy costs, giving you the opportunity to go ‘off-grid’ and generate a sustainable energy source to power your home. However, if you’re keen to make the switch, it’s important to recognize the upfront investment that’s required. Purchasing solar panels for your home can be expensive – and depending on the size of your home and your energy needs, they could cost anywhere between $10,000 and $100,000.
The good news is that there are cheaper alternatives. As well as ready-made solar panels, you can also build your own solar panels at home, reducing the costs significantly. Many states also offer tax credit incentives for individuals who decide to improve the green credentials of their homes – so you could attract additional funding to help you make the switch.
Check out the neighborhood
Being the first person in your neighborhood to switch to solar energy can be daunting, so if you’ve spotted solar panels in your local area, why not drop in and have a chat with your neighbors about their experiences? They’ll probably be able to give you some top tips and suggestions which will help you make the right choice about switching to solar. And if you really are the first, then it probably won’t be long before your neighbors start calling on you to find out more about the benefits of switching!
Although the upfront costs to install solar power are considerable, it won’t be long before you start to reap the benefits of generating your own energy supply. Alongside cheaper utility bills, you can also make a tidy profit by selling excess energy back to local electricity companies, so that eventually your solar panels will pay for themselves not just once, but several times over.
Ready to switch?
Switching to solar is a big decision – and you may feel the need to learn a bit more about solar powering your home before you dive in. And of course there are other ways to introduce solar power to your daily life, including trying out some of the many solar powered products and appliances that are now available to consumers. From garden lighting to digital radios, from pool heaters to cell phone chargers, there’s sure to be a solar product to meet your every day needs. Why not start with one product – it might inspire you to join the solar powered revolution!
November 12, 2010
I’m at that age now where everyone seems to be having kids so am constantly having to buy presents for them. Luckily there’s a lot of good stuff out there that’s eco-friendly, good quality and affordable. Here are 10 for you to have a look at:
1. Organic Farm Playset. Made by Ever Earth from FSC certified renewable wood, this will teach children about crop diversity and farm animals. Available from By Nature, it’s the most expensive on the list at £40.
2. Solar Powered Racing Car. Every boy (and some girls) love a racing car. This one will teach them about solar energy too. It costs from £24 Nigel’s Eco Store
3. Organic Veggie Crate. A soft carrot, mushroom, green bean and tomato made with organic cotton. £24.95 from By Nature. They’ll get cheaper I promise!
4. Horse Puppet Kit. From Nigel’s Eco Store, this good looking horse is made from recycled materials and costs £11.99.
5. Pull Along Dinosaur. The cutest dinosaur in the world costs just £14.50 from By Nature. It’s made from FSC-certified wood and comes in recycled packaging.
6. Cardboard Playhouse. All kids want a playhouse sooner or later and this cardboard one from Nigel’s Eco Store is perfect for little ones. Well, you’ll need to keep it indoors when it’s raining obviously but it folds up and packs away easily. Also you can paint it yourself – or maybe let the kids do it… Priced from £32.95.
7. Stacking Clown. A classic from By Nature, this clown costs just £8.95 and is made with non-toxic paints. Check it out, I love the simplicity of it.
8. Wind Up Monkey Torch. Also available in dog, panda, penguin, tiger, cow, chick, pig err Santa and vampire bat ‘flavours’, this is a must for all kids. They just wind it up or give it a shake and then squeeze it to light the way. Only £5.99 from Nigel’s Eco Store.
9. Bamboo Baby Rattle. I haven’t forgotten babies, who can? They’ll love an ultra soft rattle made from bamboo. The bunny, bear or frog rattles cost £7.99 each from By Nature.
10. Eco Toy Dump Truck. Okay, I admit it this has been a liseof my favourites and this is a classic toy. Made from Sprig – a new material which is a combination of pine and recycled plastic – it’s strong enough to cope with any kid. And it’s bright yellow. Available from Nigel’s Eco Store it costs £15.99.
November 13, 2009
Shaped just like regular roof tiles like I have on my house, these dark blue Solé Power Tiles are roof tiles designed to sustainably convert sunlight into electricity “without compromising aesthetics”.
Made by SRS Energy in Philadelphia, who say “the Solé tiles are made from a high-performance polymer often used in car bumpers, are lightweight, unbreakable and recyclable. Flexible solar technology by United Solar Ovonic is embedded inside each tile, allowing them to function independently of each other. Meanwhile, the performance of the system as a whole is monitored remotely by SRS Energy and US Tile. The director of engineering at SRS Energy is J.D. Albert, who also developed the electronic ink technology used in Amazon Kindle and the Sony Reader.”
Coming in 2010, it’ll be interesting to see if they catch on. Bright blue roofs that is.
March 20, 2009
From time to time many of us have had to use storage facilities temporarily to store all that useful stuff that we just don’t need this minute. A company we have previously mentioned, Hall Street Storage, has now rebranded itself to iStoreGreen.
It purchases 100% renewable energy certified by Green-E* for its electricity. Beyond clean energy, it became known for creative green actions like offering biodegradable packing peanuts, clean reused packing boxes, smart green alternatives to bubble wrap like shredded paper from the office’s paper shredder, and a room for those who store to place discarded items that are given to local charity, rather than thrown into dumpsters and then landfills as with other storage spaces. Also desks for the company’s offices and shelving for the storage spaces are made from the wood reclaimed from the remodel of the Brooklyn building, plus they also have solar hot water heating.
It’s great to see a company using a traditional business model but greening it up so that they provide a better experience for customers at the same time as benefiting the planet. If you’re in Brooklyn or Manhattan (and soon, coming to more locations) and need storage, check out iStoreGreen.
July 14, 2008
An interesting video for you, the first half is about Zap Electric cars, a company with a very tall president with very small cars. The second half is about how they have teamed up with Akeena Solar panels to offer one heck of a consumer solution for around town driving, 100% home powered from solar panels.
The video is from Hippy Gourmet a US PBS and syndicated television series that’s in its ninth season and reaches over 34 million homes each week.
April 21, 2008
I like the idea of a solar shaver, available from Nigel’s Eco Store. It’s clearly designed for traveling with a nice picture of an airplane on it. Leave it out in the sun for a few hours (or days if you forget about it like me), and it’s fully powered for your, er, shaving needs.
I use a razor usually and found changing to a shaver a little difficult. For a start this one just didn’t get that close, it was an effort to get a clean shave. I could have shaved my whole face by the time I had done one cheek with this. I’m not sure whether it was this shaver or electric ones in general. It is pretty handy, it’s small enough not to be cumbersome, either when carrying around or using. The only problem was when it ran out of juice (it lasts surprisingly long), you then have to put it in the sun for a while to recharge it. With half a shaved face.
With an intergrated cleaning brush in the cap, the solar shaver is available from Nigel’s Eco Store for £29.99.
April 17, 2008
While we don’t do free promotional spots for companies that contact us without doing some hands on testing of their products, we do come across some cool looking companies sometimes. Noon Solar create biodegradable bags with flexible solar panels for charging your phone or mp3 player whilst on the go.