Friday, May 29, 2009

Teaching About Going Green Early in Life

When did you first learn about being green? When did you start thinking about the environment? Or have you always lived the green lifestyle? Or not.

This is interesting. I just read an article that it is important to teach kids about the environment early in life. This way it becomes second nature.

I have kids in first grade and have seen projects come home that involved environmental stewardship. Also because I do the green thing the kids already hear enough about it from me. I regularly tell them what to recycle and what needs to be composted.

I was brought up in the Netherlands where recycling and composting are a way of life. There is not a lot of room to throw garbage so much needs to be recycled. The local pig farmer would go around and pick up kitchen scraps to feed his pigs. Cans and bottles were all returnable. Riding the bus, train and bicycle are a standard occurrence. You did not have room for a hot water tank - a tankless water heater is the norm.

It has been many years since I've moved here to the U.S., but many of my childhood habits of basic environmental conservatism still holds. So I applaud any and all the education system has to offer kids in way of the environment.


Thursday, May 7, 2009

Cheap and portable power source. Part 2

Did you like the portable power source? We had a lot of great questions on this unit at the North Country Sustainable Energy Fair. As a matter of fact the unit became a good lead in for the guys from SOS Solar.
Portable Solar Power Station
It was created as supplemental power station for my back yard. I have since added a solar panel onto my portable power station.
I've mounted a Global Solar 12 watt solar panel along with a charge controller. This gives me a trickle charge going to the 12 volt car battery I never exchanged.

I have yet to drain the battery to see how much and how long it will draw power. Of course I only have enough power to light up a couple of low watt CFL bulbs. I can also recharge my cell phone or other portable electronic devices. It will definitely power my laptop. This would be a good test to see how much and how long I can draw power from this thing.

I did install everything in a rolling wood box. This way I would not have separate pieces to keep together when powering the unit.
The solar panel is mounted on a threaded broom stick into a flag mount which I was no longer using. The whole thing comes apart pretty easily and can be nicely stored away.

All together I think I spent about $150. Most of the materials were from things I had lying around anyway. A real good way to re-use and recycle some materials in my garage.
Portable solar power station
I would like to put together a larger, more powerful solar power generator. One that would create about 1500 to 2000 watts of power. This way when the power goes out I'll have the backup resources to run the refrigerator and a lamp. The search is on.

I'll have to let you know when I put the upgraded model together.

Let me know about your own experience in creating one of these units. I am sure I am not the only one out there doing this. I'm looking forward to your comments.