Category Archives: Renewable Energy

Solar Powered Fuel for Your Body!

Solar ovens and solar dehydrators are two awesome and easy ways to utilize the sun’s energy for cooking and preserving your food. They both can be built with something as simple as cardboard or if you have the capabilities and want, then you can make a sturdy structure with wood. Obviously, the options are as abundant as your creativity allows.

Dehydrators are an excellent option for storing all the excess fruit and vegetables from your spring and summer’s harvest. While freezing is an option as well, drying your food frees you from relying on an electrical appliance that has the ability to fail or shut down. The food that you dry can be kept in a sealed container, such as a glass jar, for up to a year!

Solar ovens are especially useful for those who live in an efficiency or studio. A friend I work with constantly complains about not having the capabilities to cook because she does not have a conventional oven or stove. However, living in Durango, Colorado, which is a city proud of it’s sunshiny 300-days a year, she has yet to realize that a wonderful cooking option is at her back door.

Here are a few sites to give you some insight and examples of how some solar dehydrators and solar ovens are built.

Mother Earth News: This aricle is extremely informative and gives the reader a good insight to a good solar dehydrator design.

The Farm: Here is another design that incorporates found cardboard and household items, making it easy for anyone to get creative.

Solar Cooker: This link sells different soalr cookers, but it also shows you some of the easiest ways to make a solar cooker. All you need is something reflective and you are in business.

Pizza Box: I think this may be a link for students and science fair projects, however, it still shows a good idea on a how to make a solar oven with simple objects.

My suggestion would be to build a box, with whatever you have and make sure it is sturdy. Then, find an old window at a garage sale and maybe an old screen as well. Use some rocks to place inside the box to capture some heat. Depending on where you live, you may not have to paint anything black. Just experiment and have fun and make sure your oven is not too big so you do not have a ton of heat loss. Finally, enjoy the deliciousness of a slow cooked meal under the sun.

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Filed under Agriculture, Conscious Consumption, Natural Health, Renewable Energy, Urban Sustainability, waste minimization

Keep Earth Hour going by slaying some vampires…energy vampires that is!

On Saturday March 28, 2009 the citizens of the world stood up and called for action on climate change with a simple flip of a swtich.  All over the world people turned out their lights for 1 hour from 8:30pm-9:30pm to make a statement to the leaders of this world that it’s citizens are ready to take the challenge of climate change head on!  Check out this video from Earth Hour 2009 rolling out across the globe:

Why not make every hour Earth Hour?  Well, living without lights everyday could be pretty hard in modern society, but we can at least cut back on our energy use right?  An easy way to save energy as well as money on your monthly bills is to slay some vampires…at least the ones plugged into your house!  That’s right, I am talking about energy vampires also known as any electronic device plugged in when not in use.  Even though the device may not be ON it stills draws energy from the circuit which leads to higher energy usage and bills.  According to the EPA the average US home spends $100-$200 extra dollars a year on energy vampires.  Just think what you could do with that cash!

Some of the most notorious energy vampires include TV’s, DVD players, cell phone chargers, computers, stereos, kitchen appliances like blenders, toasters, coffee makers and microwaves. How does one slay an energy vampire?  Do you throw garlic at your TV? No way! An easy solution to stop those vampires from leeching off the planet is to plug everything into a power strip.  Then you can simply switch the powerstrip off or unplug it when not in use.  This is especially important in the home entertainment and office areas since that is where many of the really thirsty vampires leark….muahahaha.

If you are in the market for some new appliances or other electronic devices consider purchasing Energy Star qualified products.  Energy Star products meet strict energy efficiency criteria set by the US EPA and the US Energy Department.  Energy Star rated products include products ranging from home appliances and electronics, to office equipment, lighting, heating and cooling products, and more.

So continue your commitment to Earth Hour by slaying those energy vampires and reap great savings for your wallet and the planet!

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Filed under Conscious Consumption, Renewable Energy, Urban Sustainability

Drink up and Fuel the Nation!

…At least that is what some beer companies are aiming for.  According to a recent article in Environmental Leader, the companies E-Fuel Corp and the good folks at Sierra Nevada have teamed up to start producing ethanol from discarded beer waste!  Pretty darn innovative right?  Well turns out that Molson Coors, yep the folks that bring you Keystone and Coors, have been producing ethanol from beer waste since 1996 and produce almost 300 million gallons a year!  Woah!  Surprise to me!  Well, at least those beers are good for something, right?

In fact, it was some ethanol produced by the Coor’s beer waste that fueled the vehicles at the Democratic National Convention last year!  This was just one of the many green initiatives that was taken on by the DNC last year.  To further, the convention had green events happening everyday to encourage attendees to live with a lighter footprint.  As a planner I am so happy to see events like this, and to see so much waste be diverted with a little progressive planning!

So if Sierra Nevada and Coors beers are not your thing, you can always reduce your beer’s footprint by buying organic beer, locally brewed beer, or even brewing your own!  Check out BeerTown.org to find a local brewery in your area and help save some transportation resources while supporting your local economy.  If you enjoy projects and libation, then home brewing your own organic beer may be for you!  Check out Seven Bridges Co-operative for all your home brewing needs.

So drink up folks and re-power America!


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Filed under Conscious Consumption, Renewable Energy