With all the excitement surrounding the worldwide push to “go green”, there have been some fascinating innovations that make it easy and even fun to save energy. Thanks to their creativity, we are entering an age where saving energy is almost as convenient as wasting it. Here are 12 green inventions that are helping us make this a cleaner planet.
Solar Powered Cell Phones
German researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute have created a prototype for the world’s first-ever solar powered cell phone. While full-fledged solar panels are still quite large and expensive, the researchers have integrated smaller, high-efficiency cells into the phones which, they claim, offers a module efficiency rate of 20%. In other words, the phone will stay steadily charged as long as it gets roughly 2 hours of sunlight per day. Failing that, the phone can still be charged via conventional methods.
Power Generating Revolving Doors
Ever feel like a farm animal when you’re passing through those huge glass revolving doors, bunched up next to other people who are probably feeling the same way? Well now, everyone can take heart in the fact that they are helping the environment each time they pass through these doors. The New York design firm Fluxxlab has created a revolving door that harnesses the kinetic energy of the door’s revolution and converts it to usable electricity. In a busy New York City or L.A. office building, this could add up to some serious, carbon-free power!
With summer right around the corner, homeowners nationwide are dreading the huge spike in electricity bills that air conditioning season will cause. It is a pain virtually all homeowners know. Fortunately, one innovative company has stepped forward with a solution: Ice Energy, with their “Ice Bear” installation. The Ice Bear integrates with your air conditioner, freezing water overnight when the temperatures are lower and the electricity is (in most places) cheaper. During the day, the ice cools the air conditioner’s refrigerant instead of using fresh electricity to do it. The end result: roughly 30% energy savings when the AC is in use.
Clothing made out of bamboo, you ask? No, it’s not a joke, and it’s actually quite comfortable! Shirts Of Bamboo has found a way to turn this Panda snack into wearable items of clothing, ranging from shoes to bathroom attire to shirts and slacks. The secret to the eco-friendly use of bamboo lies in how fast it grows; a bamboo plant grows several feet per day and matures to full growth in only four years, compared to 25 years or more for average species of trees. Bamboo is also completely biodegradable, which translates to virtually no perceptible impact on the environment. Combine these great benefits with the fact the bamboo clothing is thermo-regulating, anti-microbial and requires no chemicals, and it’s a wonder more people aren’t wearing bamboo already!
Wind-powered bicycle light
Everyone agrees that it’s far safer to ride a bike at night with a safety light that identifies you to motorists. The only problem is the dozens and potentially hundreds of batteries those lights will consume over a lifetime of riding. Luckily, a company called Duck has created a bicycle light that draws its power from the wind resistance you generate! As you pedal furiously into the sunset, the wind spins tiny blades that deliver electricity to a bright LED light via a hidden copper coil. A small, rechargeable lithium ion battery kicks in if and when you aren’t actively pedaling anywhere.
Solar Powered Aircraft
Don’t let the picture fool you: we can’t (yet) harness enough of the sun’s energy to get this plane off the ground. What these solar panels can do, however, is provide enough juice for the pilot to conduct his pre-takeoff diagnostics and checks. The panels also send a continuous flow of power to the plane during the flight, which translates to less fuel being consumed per flight. The savings will be huge when major carriers start incorporating solar technology into their commercial flights!
Most of us look forward to that fresh morning brew when we wake up and stretch out in the morning. Unfortunately, we also boil twice the volume of water that we actually need to boil our tea or coffee water. Think it’s a trivial amount? Think again: experts estimate that we’re wasting almost 50 light bulbs worth of energy each time we do this. So what’s a green coffee lover to do? Enter the Eco-Kettle, which you fill and regulate the amount of water you use with a measuring button that knows how much water you want. Just specify how much you need – a single cup up to a full jug. By the time you rush out the door with your coffee or tea in hand, you’ll have racked up a water savings of 30%!
Solar Powered Dehumidifiers
This decide makes damp, uncomfortable indoor humidity a thing of the past! Using solar energy, musty, choke-inducing air inside your home or office is neutralized with fresh, dry, sun-warmed air from the great outdoors. Best of all, there are absolutely no running costs incurred by using the device, and your carbon footprint will be markedly reduced. Visit the link below to inquire about having a SolarVenti dehumidifier fitted for the outside of your home or office.
While many cities are engaged in a death match with developers who want to encroach upon their green spaces, some municipalities are thinking outside the box and taking the fight to the rooftops. That’s right, the rooftops! In many cities, the roofs of buildings and office blocks now house gardens, flowers, and even fully-soiled and grown lawns of green grass. While this may sound silly at first blush, green roofs are far more than just an environmental affectation. One financial benefit is lower air conditioning costs, as the green roofs cut down on the heat that gets trapped in the building. Many speculate that over time, green roofs will even improve the air quality in busy cities. It’s a win-win!
Fast, Stylish Electric Cars
What’s the biggest problem with hybrid cars? Face it: while we love the concept of eco-friendly vehicles, we hate how they look! The typical hybrid car is a boxy, futuristic-looking heap of plastic that looks like something George Jetson dreamed up in outer space. The other major drawback is that most hybrid cars are severely lacking in the power department. However, one company is revving their engines in an effort to leave both of these problems in the dust. Tesla Motors, backed by the founders of Google and PayPal, has created an all-electric car that looks like a Mustang and can go from zero to sixty in 4 seconds. The vehicle emits only 1/3rd third the carbon-dioxide pollution of hybrids and can drive 250 miles per charge on its lithium-ion battery.
Water Powered Gravity Clock
This alarm clock from AmbientWeather.com delivers you the time using nothing but water and the natural force of gravity. The secret is a “battery pack” that holds the water required for the clock’s operation for months at a time without being refilled. When you’re running low on power, just add more water straight from the faucet. Other features include an alarm, temperature reading, a timer, and a special gravity sensor which allows you to toggle between functions just by tilting the clock at a different angle (ie, changing its center of gravity.) Best of all: the entire clock is itself recyclable!
Solar Power Harnessing Backpacks
Ever dream of being a walking, talking power generator? Maybe not, but thanks to this new backpack from Voltaic Systems, this dream is becoming a reality. To the naked eye, it passes for a totally normal backpack, but to the trained observer, there are solar panels affixed to it that capture the sun’s energy as you walk across campus, up a mountain, or just about anywhere with sunlight. The best part: the pack is outfitted with standard connections for cell phones, iPods, USB, and more, allowing you to put the 4 watts per hour of sunlight that you capture to use on virtually any device you desire.