Free and Low-Cost Solar Energy
From Sierra Club Green Home
Making the most of the sun’s energy without spending a bundle
If solar electricity or solar water heating isn’t your cards right now, there are plenty of other ways to take advantage of the sun’s energy–for little or no money.
One of the simplest is hanging your wet duds on a clothesline. It only takes just a couple more minutes of your time than throwing them in the dryer. Plus it’s a good excuse to get outside on a sunny day. Find more energy-saving laundry tips in our “Washers and Dryers” article.
As long as you’re taking the time to smell the sun-warmed sheets, why not get dinner started too? With a solar oven you can cook a casserole, make a pot of rice and even bake some cookies-using only the power of the sun. You can make your own solar oven from low-cost materials or buy one already made. Find out more in our “Ovens and Cooktops” article.
If you’re wondering what to cook in that solar oven, how about some homegrown spuds from your own organic garden? Plants do a miraculous job of transforming the sun’s energy into nutritious, delicious food, and growing your own helps you slim down your carbon footprint. Check our “Healthy Eating” article for more fodder for your green kitchen.
While you’re in the kitchen, take a fresh look at your lighting. Making the most of daylight lets you keep electric lights off when the sun’s shining. What’s more, most people just feel better when they’re in daylit spaces. Our “Windows, Skylights, and Doors” article has bright ideas for saving energy and letting in more light.
With all the attention being paid to renewable energy these days, it can seem like solar energy systems were just invented yesterday. But many of these technologies are as old as the hills. Passive solar design, for example, is an ancient approach to designing buildings so they are warmed by the sun in the winter without overheating in the summer. Read about the basics of solar heating in our “Heating Systems” article.
When it comes to solar energy, just remember–you’ve got the power!