solar power http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/2066/all en-US What Americans Can Learn From How the Rest of the World Saves Energy http://www.wisebread.com/what-americans-can-learn-from-how-the-rest-of-the-world-saves-energy <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-americans-can-learn-from-how-the-rest-of-the-world-saves-energy" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3362778812_c00bd81329_z.jpg" alt="water tank" title="water tank" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Most Americans aren't as devoted as <a href="http://www.edbegley.com/environment/">Ed Begley, Jr.</a> to conserving energy that they'll ride a bike to create energy to run a <a href="http://planetgreen.discovery.com/tv/living-with-ed/ed-begley-bicycle-generators.html">toaster</a>. But travel abroad to Europe, Australia, or any other developed country, and you'll see that much of the rest of the world is serious about saving energy and the world's resources.</p> <p>The United States is known for doing a poor job at being energy efficient. In a <a href="http://www.aceee.org/portal/national-policy/international-scorecard">report</a> about a dozen countries with the biggest economies, the United States' energy efficiency efforts were only ahead of Brazil, Canada, and Russia, according to the nonprofit American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, or ACEEE. The United Kingdom ranked first, followed by Germany, Italy, Japan, and France.</p> <p>While not everyone can live near an efficient public transportation system, such as Sydney's <a href="http://www.cityrail.info/">rail</a> service, or can afford to rebuild their home with solar power, there are some things that much of the rest of the world does that Americans either don't do, or if they do, don't do in great numbers. Here are a few. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-save-water-energy-money-the-world-in-one-afternoon">5 Ways to Save Water, Energy, Money, and the World All in One Afternoon</a>)</p> <h2>Use Clotheslines</h2> <p>While these are a common way in America to avoid running wet clothes in a dryer, they don't seem to be as common as they are in Europe or elsewhere. Clothes dryers are often small in other parts of the world &mdash; to save money and space &mdash; and thus encourage people to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kilowatts-a-killer-tips-for-air-drying-clothes">hang clothes out to dry</a>.</p> <h2>Pay Higher Gas Prices</h2> <p>While not as cheap as Venezuela, gasoline in America is relatively cheap when compared to other countries. A $4 gallon in the U.S. can cost <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/slideshow/2012-08-13/highest-cheapest-gas-prices-by-country.html#slide1">double</a> in Europe, due partly to higher taxes. Paying more for gas can have two positive results: You'll either walk or take public transportation to get anywhere, or it will make buying a car with better gas mileage look like a deal. If a U.S. company can make cars for Europe that get <a href="http://gas2.org/2009/12/03/european-legislation-creates-62-mpg-gas-carsfrom-ford/">62 miles per gallon</a>, it can do the same for Americans.</p> <h2>Make Buying Solar Power Easy</h2> <p>On a recent trip to Australia, I noticed a mom-and-pop store on a corner selling <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-your-own-power">home solar power</a> kits. It wasn't a huge warehouse with miles of supplies, and it didn't have professional looking signs, just a simple window sign offering solar panels for the home. While <a href="http://content.usatoday.com/communities/greenhouse/post/2009/12/home-depot-lowes-sell-do-it-yourself-solar-panels-/1#.UEd5eVQjTRw">Home Depot</a> once sold do-it-yourself solar panels (that were geared more toward contractors than DIYers), installation and sales is often done in the U.S. by professionals who sell to the masses. You don't see small stores on American street corners selling solar power kits.</p> <h2>Practice Rain Water Collection</h2> <p>Collecting rain water and saving it for watering plants or pumping it inside a home to flush toilets or wash clothes is a great idea in dry climates, but can also be used in the U.S. as a way to save water. Large tanks that hold at least 10,000 gallons are common outside Australian homes.</p> <h2>Automatically Turn Off Lights</h2> <p>While staying in a hotel for a week on a recent trip overseas, each time I wanted any of the lights on in the suite, I had to put the door card key into a slot just inside the door that would let the power turn on. It required me to be in the room to turn on any lights, and all of the lights turned off when I removed the card key and left the room. It was a simple way to turn off every light without having to remember to do it or go around to every light and switch it off. About a month later I stayed at a hotel in America. While I didn't expect to find the same device, there was nothing to prevent me from leaving every light on before going out for the evening.</p> <h2>Use Smaller Refrigerators</h2> <p>Everything is bigger in America: homes, cars, kitchens, bedrooms, and even everyday appliances such as dryers and refrigerators. Whether it's because their homes are smaller or they like to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buy-your-groceries-european-style">shop more often for fresh groceries</a>, Europeans typically have smaller refrigerators. After air conditioners, refrigerators are the <a href="http://michaelbluejay.com/electricity/refrigerators.html">second-biggest</a> users of electricity.</p> <p>Beyond tougher regulations and fewer resources, the rest of the world may also have a leg up on America in saving energy because they live in smaller communities and smaller populations. America is such an expansive land that even with <a href="http://www.census.gov/main/www/popclock.html">314 million</a> people, there's room to stretch out and forget about the millions of people you share the country with. Europe has more than double the population, but it's split among many <a href="http://exploredia.com/population-of-europe-2011/">countries</a>, giving a feeling of intimacy in a smaller geographic area and possibly the incentive not to waste energy because you care about taking care of your neighbors.</p> <p>During my trip to Australia this summer, I noticed a small benefit of going to a city park in Brisbane, a park similar to one you might find in America. Free gas grills are available for the public to use at these city parks, with a nearby sign asking users to clean up after themselves and keep the grills clean for the next user.</p> <p>I never saw a dirty grill while there, leaving me to conjecture that no one wanted to leave a mess for the next person to clean. Americans may keep public barbecues clean for the next user in some parts of the country, but I haven't seen it happen where I've been.&nbsp;It's not that Americans don't care for others, but that taking the little steps to take care of the environment because it will help you and your neighbor isn't as common in the U.S. as it is elsewhere. It's a small step to leave something in the same (or better) condition than you found it. It's only an example, but cleaning up after yourself at a public park can carry over to energy consumption and other aspects of life.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/aaron-crowe">Aaron Crowe</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-americans-can-learn-from-how-the-rest-of-the-world-saves-energy">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-awesome-uses-for-milk-crates">20 Awesome Uses for Milk Crates</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-home-diy-projects-you-can-do-in-one-day">10 Home DIY Projects You Can Do in One Day</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-own-eco-friendly-dryer-sheets">Make Your Own Eco-Friendly Dryer Sheets</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fall-cleaning-101-the-spic-and-span-basics-of-making-your-home-sparkle">Fall Cleaning 101: The Spic-and-Span Basics of Making Your Home Sparkle</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Home Lifestyle Australia dryer energy Europe savings solar solar power washer Thu, 06 Sep 2012 10:36:42 +0000 Aaron Crowe 954325 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Make Your Own Power http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-your-own-power <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-make-your-own-power" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/windmill.jpg" alt="Windmill" title="Windmill" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Have you ever wondered how to <a href="http://www.littlehouseinthevalley.com/5-ways-to-live-greener">power your home</a>, small electronics, or a generator using natural resources? I know I have. Countless times I've forgotten to charge my cell phone and wished I had a solar powered source to trickle-charge it throughout the day. While riding my bike I've pondered how to harness my own pedal-power and charge a laptop, especially when I'm no where near an outlet. Generating your own power isn't just a lofty thought anymore; today there are a plethora of products that make it possible. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/houses-you-can-build-yourself">Houses You Can Build Yourself</a>)</p> <h2>Solar Power</h2> <p>One of the most abundant sources of energy available to us is solar power. The sun's rays <a href="http://www.briansager.com/docs/articles/Nature_Article.pdf">create more energy in one hour</a> than the entire world uses in one year. Though solar panels have gone through years of improvements, today portable solar devices such as the <a href="http://www.solio.com/">Solio</a> can charge small electronics within a few hours or help extend battery life by giving them solar-powered boosts. Larger solar chargers are also available through a few different vendors.</p> <p>Want to power your home off the sun's rays? Home solar panels can help reduce your dependence on other energy. If you produce more energy than you need, some solar systems allow you to store your energy for a cloudy day or sell it back to your utility company. Not only are you saving energy; you could be profiting off it as well.</p> <p>Many everyday items also have solar panels built right into them that can charge small electronics, like the Voltaic Solar Backpack, cell phones such as Samsung's touch-phone Blue Earth, computer keyboards and mice, calculators, outdoor lighting, and bicycles from <a href="http://www.therapyproducts.com/products_sunnybike.html">Thera-P Products</a> in Toronto to name a few.</p> <h2>Water Power</h2> <p>Much of the electricity I purchase through our utility company is created at Hoover Dam's hydroelectric plant. But did you know you can create your own hydroelectric energy if you have a constant water supply, like a lake or stream, near your house? An example of this in action is <a href="http://www.judyofthewoods.net/hydro.html">Judy of the Woods </a>in Wales. Using micro-hydro turbines, she turned her nearby springs into a source of energy.</p> <p>There are also water-powered gadgets such as clocks, calculators, or radios. However, I owned a water-powered clock a few years ago and couldn't get it to work. Maybe the newer products hold their charge better.</p> <h2>Wind Power</h2> <p>The concept of wind power via a windmill isn't new; it's been around for over 1,000 years. Yet today's personal windmills are mostly used on farms and ranches to pump water or mill grain. This doesn't have to be the case. Depending on your community's rules and regulations, you can erect your very own windmill to generate power to your home or to pump your well water. Smaller windmills can be used to aerate a pond or other stagnant water sources as well.</p> <p>The key to erecting a windmill boils down to where you live; the less dense the population, the less likely you'll have neighbors complaining about the towering structure.</p> <h2>Animal Power</h2> <p>Almost exclusively seen on farms or ranches, work horses can pump water while exercising or charge a generator by walking in a circle. Though this might not be an option for most people, animals can generate about 5-10 times the amount of energy that people do.</p> <h2>Human Power</h2> <p>Many small electronics now come in hand-crank versions: radios, flashlights, generators, even washing machines. You simply crank or squeeze the handle and the energy from your own body charges the item's batteries; it's simple and effective.</p> <p>Want your legs to do all the work? <a href="http://www.econvergence.net/electro.htm">Pedal-A-Watt</a> turns just about any bicycle into a stationery generating machine. Charge your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kick-that-cell-phone-contract-save-with-a-prepaid-plan">cell phone</a>, laptop, or iPod while pedaling, or connect it to a PowerPak for later use. You can even find plans on the web to <a href="http://www.pedalpowergenerator.com/#FREE">build your own pedal-powered generator</a>.</p> <p>Charging my cell phone or laptop on the road no longer seems as baffling as it once did since I can choose from various clean, self-powered energy sources.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/little-house">Little House</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-your-own-power">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-youre-wasting-electricity-without-realizing-it">8 Ways You&#039;re Wasting Electricity Without Realizing It</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/hands-in-your-pocket-the-cost-of-standby-power-environmental-and-otherwise">Hands in Your Pocket: The Cost of Standby Power - Environmental and Otherwise</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-turn-a-2-liter-bottle-of-water-into-a-50-watt-lightbulb">How To Turn a 2-liter Bottle Of Water Into a 50-Watt Lightbulb</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/homemade-deodorant-is-it-worth-it">Homemade Deodorant: Is It Worth It?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-americans-can-learn-from-how-the-rest-of-the-world-saves-energy">What Americans Can Learn From How the Rest of the World Saves Energy</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY electricity make your own power solar power utilities Thu, 11 Aug 2011 10:24:21 +0000 Little House 655757 at http://www.wisebread.com An energy bill of $0.00 http://www.wisebread.com/an-energy-bill-of-0-00 <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/p12b.jpg" alt="Mike Strizki" title="Strizki" width="250" height="165" /> </p> <p>I&#39;m not sure what you pay for energy each month, but combining natural gas, gas for the car and electricity, I&#39;m way over $250. This guy, Mr. Mike Strizki, does it all for nothing. </p> <p>In an interview for <a href="http://www.myninjaplease.com/green/?p=378">GREEN.MNP</a> Mike reveals his many secrets. And none of them are secrets at all really. His background as a civil engineer obviously helped, but with a little studying, some major up-front cash (the &#39;catch&#39; to the story) and some serious hard work, there&#39;s no reason we couldn&#39;t all go green and save the planet (and some green) in the process. </p> <p>Combining solar power, wind power, a hydrogen-powered car and a few other super inventions, Mike has unplugged his New Jersey home from the power grid. Maybe one day we can all live this way. But with the amount it costs to set up, probably not. Yet, anyway.</p> <p><em>Below: Mike Strizki demonstrates his Hydrogen-powered car. </em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="http://www.veoh.com/">Online Videos by Veoh.com</a><embed src="http://www.veoh.com/videodetails.swf?permalinkId=e1281803YaMyg69&amp;id=1&amp;player=videodetails&amp;videoAutoPlay=0" width="540" height="438" bgcolor="#000000" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer"></embed><br/><a href="http://www.veoh.com/">Online Videos by Veoh.com</a></br/></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/an-energy-bill-of-0-00">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-confronting-collapse">Book Review: Confronting Collapse</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-money-recycling">Make Money Recycling: Get Paid to Recycle by 15 Websites</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-i-saved-30000-and-helped-the-earth-at-the-same-time">How I Saved $30,000 and Helped the Earth at the Same Time</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-save-cash-by-purging-your-place-of-plastics">10 Ways to Save Cash by Purging Your Place of Plastics</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-rid-of-your-old-electronics">How to Get Rid of Your Old Electronics</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living alternative energy clean energy fuel efficiency green fuel recycling solar power wind power Fri, 16 Mar 2007 22:10:26 +0000 Paul Michael 360 at http://www.wisebread.com