You can put more “green” into your pocket by taking advantage of do-it-yourself projects and making your own green technology.
By Derin Richardson, LuxEco Editorial Assistant
Strangely, people still subscribe to the notion that they must maim themselves, giving up the proverbial arm or leg, to obtain quality products–green technology solutions are certainly no exception to this nagging fallacy. Amid the venerable do-it-yourself methods, paying a fortune for novelties like solar panels is pretty silly.
Firstly, you should know that there is more to life than just solar energy. Sure, the great Helios doesn’t mind irradiating you with UV rays during the day (and giving you carcinoma as an added benefit), but what about the evening? Unless we find a way for lady Luna to put in some work for us, the advent of wind power is probably a more practical green technology solution in that sense.
Do-it-yourself wind turbines made from PVC pipe or recycled traffic signs are easily constructable, generally no more than $100 to build, and wean households off of conventional electricity. They are easy to maintain, have few moving parts and don’t require babysitting. They have the potential of generating substantial amounts of alternative electricity since wind is not temporal like the sun, however the issue revolves around sustainability.
While it’s clearly renewable, it’s invariable nature makes it hard to use it as a primary source of power–that is unless you live a city with lofty buildings like Chicago.
Hydro power is the probably the only stable form of green technology, but since I’m guessing a good number of you don’t live next to a river like the Little House on the Prairie or the like, other options are available.
Solar panels are costly investments, ranging anywhere from $10,000-$30,000. So for the average, eco-conscious consumer, this is a commonly overlooked solution for obvious reasons. However, it is possible to build solar panels for a fraction of that cost, using simple materials such as wood, plexiglass, caulking and of course solar cells.
The biggest expenditure will probably be on the cells, as they will usually come in lots of 30 to 100. Perusing the Internet will prove handy in finding the best deals, especially Ebay. A typical 18-volt, 3×6 solar panel array with 36 cells (most people wire 0.5 -3.6 amp cells) will cost less than $180 to make, making this do-it-yourself project quite affordable.
Of course, you’ll need a guide to do all of this unless you have a degree in civil engineering or something. There are plenty of DIY guides on the Internet, however some of them do have price tags on them. Look for free guides, as they are no less substantive and will suit your needs just fine.
Also, there is no crime in integrating both methods (or possibly more) maximize your clean energy quest. More will mean “more,” in terms of saving money on your electricity bill as an added benefit.
On top of it all, the pleasure of crafting something from scratch will not only be creatively rewarding but expedient for the household in the long run. So stop wasting money buying manufactured solutions and make a solution yourself!