There’s no doubt about it: we’re all looking for ways to save money, and often, the most feasible solution that comes to mind is by cutting energy costs, either by using up less energy or – a more palatable solution for our energy-hungry civilization – by finding an alternative energy source that costs less, or costs hardly anything at all. Also, in the interest of preserving our environment for future and even present generations, we are looking for energy sources that are green and sustainable.
Some of the alternative energy sources that we’ve found are truly strange, but as they say, desperate times call for desperate measures. Believe it or not, some of these “strange” energy sources are already in the market. Check them out:
1. Human energy. This is not as strange as it sounds. Products have been designed to harness everyday human movements through wires in clothing, creating enough energy to charge the wearer’s cell phone or MP3 player when the wearer flexes his arms or walks to the parking lot.
There are even gyms now that have generators in their stationary bikes, treadmills, and exercise machines, which create the power used for the gym’s lighting, air conditioning, etc.
If you’re interested in putting something like this in your home, check out the Pedal-A-Watt bike, which can be fitted with a power pack to store energy you create, for later use on appliances that require no more than 400 watts of electricity. These would normally include a desktop computer (75 watts), a stereo (20 watts), or a television (200 watts).
2. Piezoelectricity. In regular English, this means the energy created when a substance such as a piezoelectric crystal is hit by another substance – like, say, when we hit a button.
Now imagine this: if the buttons we so love to press all around us had a piezoelectric crystal underneath it, generating piezoelectricity, we could, perhaps, charge our cell phones simply by texting on them, or charge our laptops simply with all the typing we do on the keyboard!
In 2008, a product using this technology has already been released in prototype form. However, it has not yet been seen in the market.
3. Poop power. Not everyone in the world exercises, and we dare say there are still people out there who don’t text or type. But of this, we can be sure: Every one of the world’s 7 billion people defecates, and if all that manure could be turned to energy, it would certainly amount to significant savings.
It’s already here. In Rwanda, Norway, and yes, in the UK, human poop has been used for generating electricity and heat. It’s just a matter of time before the technology benefits the rest of us.
But if you’re thinking you can go off the grid simply from harnessing all the energy going down your own household’s toilet, don’t hold your breath. It takes the combined manure of 100,000 people to generate enough electricity to power five hundred 51kW light bulbs, according to http://www.upd8.org.uk.
The good news is, if you’re looking for alternative energy you can use right here, right now, you already have several available options, such as solar photovoltaic panels, solar thermal panels, biomass systems, micro CHP systems, ground source heat pumps, air source heat pumps, micro hydro power, and micro wind power.
There are energy companies such as British Gas that offer free consultation and assessment, plus expert installation services, to help you access these available alternative energy sources.
If you’re interested in lowering your energy costs and preserving the environment for yourself and your children, ask your energy provider about these alternative energy options today.