It’s my first step toward going green. This is a partially constructed wind turbine built from a bicycle spoke that will soon be welded onto a motor. Construction has stalled because I’ll need to buy a DC motor to replace the AC motor I have attached now. After that I’ll build airfoils out of PVC pipe or plexiglass, create a pivoting frame and ground the thing to a 20 foot tall mast. It sounds expensive and it is.
Even when building your own green energy devices from scratch you’re going to have to pony up some cash for complicated parts. Factory assembled solar panels and wind turbines aren’t too bad to buy off the internet. High watt models will run you about $700 in the case of a solar array and $300 for a wind turbine that will harness the same amount of energy. Wind tech is currently more efficient than solar but that’s for a later post.
The problem is, after you’ve bought or made your green energy machine from scratch you need to pump in more money to buy these necessities.
An Inverter. Ebay cost >$100 for a 1000 watt inverter.
Deep Cycle Batteries. Ebay cost >$150 individually. You may need two.
Charge Controller Ebay cost >$25
So if you install a single solar panel you’re looking at a cost of about a grand. The wind turbine may be a little less expensive but don’t forget you need to buy additional items for it like a mast and a DC motor. It’s also a little trickier to build and install. I’ve begun my wind turbine project so I’m going to finish it. But with my budget that probably won’t happen by the next blog.
So what can you do? You believe as I do that no matter the cost we’ve got to reduce our energy consumption. How can we do that if we don’t have the money to front the costs for wind or solar?
Increase Your Efficiency
- Reduce watt consumption. Replace all the lights you can with fluorescent bulbs and turn your lights off when you leave a room.
- Switch off your power strips. When your TV is off and plugged to a wall it’s still draining electricity! Use the OFF on a power strip to really cut off these appliances when they aren’t in use.
- Use ceiling fans instead of your air conditioner and set your AC a little higher than 75. Also change your AC filter every 30 days. It increases efficiency and extends the life of the unit.
- Air dry clothes and dishes whenever possible. You can run your dishwasher on wash only and open the door for an air dry effect, eliminating the energy demand of a dry cycle.
- Choose quick showers over baths they take less energy.
- If you’re in a cold climate keep your thermostat a little more chilly in winter and keep upper floors colder since heat rises.
- Drive the speed limit in your car and keep your tires properly inflated to increase MPG. You can also spring for a high performance air filter. You’ll never have to buy another one (only clean it) and it will increase your MPG by just a little bit. I’ve heard about 2 MPG.
- Replace worn and ineffective weather stripping around thresholds like windows and doors. Close doors t0 unused rooms whenever possible.
We Can’t Afford Not Too
Unfortunately for the green boom energy costs are going down. New technology is being implemented to draw new sources of outdated and destructive fuels. If there isn’t a huge profit for sustainable energy than a non-profit should be created. We can’t afford not to switch to sustainable energy. Whenever we turn on our lights or start our cars we are taking the future from our children. Fossil fuels will run out and destroy our environment. The sun will always be shining. The wind will always be blowing. We must convert to sustainable energy and we must begin now.
So don’t just read and nod your head. I challenge you to do an inspection of your home right now. Identify the areas where you can increase your energy efficiency. Install a sustainable energy source if you’ve got the money. But please do it today, for posterity. The earth does not belong to us. It is leased to us by future generations. Don’t ruin it for them as our predecessors ruined these times for us.