How Solar-powered Household Items Make Green Living Easier
By Eugene Bryson
Tired of soaring electrical bills? Do you have too many household appliances jammed into too few electrical outlets?
There’s good news. Renewable energy is evolving, especially in the realm of household products and appliances that use the power of the sun to recharge. Using products that rely on solar power is a great way to reduce your monthly electric bill and to make green living easier.
Government statistics show the average electric bill for people in Washington State is $1,120 a year. Since many power providers burn fossil fuels, large amounts of pollution are pushed into the environment.
You can defray your dependency on the power company by going solar. Solar power offers greener, more-sustainable electricity, and is now available to recharge small appliances. These types of solar-powered products won’t take you off the grid the way rooftop solar panels can. But they can help reduce your electrical bill and decrease fossil fuel pollution.
Use the Daytime Sun to Light Up the Night
The most practical product to use solar power is outdoor lighting, some now with motion-sensing technology. These small, portable lights absorb the sun’s rays during the day and shine during the night. They can also come with sticky pads, so you can easily place them anywhere outside your home. They’re great for doors, windows, driveways, fence posts, or backyard gardens. They save power by acting as a dim safety light until they get brighter when they detect motion. Solar lights are affordable and offer greater security and safety for homeowners while saving energy and expenses from installing wired lighting around the house.
Make Use of South-Facing Windows
Every home has multiple phones recharging via their household power. Why not recharge them by harnessing the power of the sun? Solar phone chargers now come with a small panel that sticks to a sun-facing window. Use them at work or home to charge your phone.
Cutting the Grass
Need a break from pushing a heavy gas-guzzling mower around your yard? Manufacturers have introduced solar-powered lawnmowers. These lightweight, fuel-free mowers have batteries that you can plug into a solar panel charging station. Many of them are also autonomous: They mow your yard while you sip iced tea in a lawn chair. No more oil and gasoline. A solar mower can save you money on fuel and electricity — if you’re willing to spend as much as $1,700 on one. Considering the average price for lawn mowing in Washington is about $44, it will take many mows to recoup your investment, but after that, it’s all green.
Cool It With House Fans
Another innovation that reduces dependency on electricity is the solar fan. These fans can be installed in open windows in bedrooms, in attics for vent fans, in bedrooms as ceiling fans, and in backyards as patio fans.
Sun-Powered Water Features
Running electricity to your lawn fountain can be expensive and labor-intensive. A solar-powered water fountain solves your problems. With solar, you can place your lawn fountain anywhere the sun shines. What better way to go green! A solar fountain looks great, sounds soothing, and provides drinking water for birds and bees. While electrically-powered fountains require a power-hungry pumping system, a solar-powered fountain needs only direct sunshine to operate.
So next time you plug in an appliance, think about how you can find a similar solar-powered version of that same product. Renewable energy products are now less expensive and more widely available. Some states, including Washington, have laws and policies that encourage and even offer incentives on the cost of materials and installation of solar products. By switching to solar, you can save money, make your home more attractive and marketable, and make green living easier.
Eugene Bryson is a freelance writer and part-time home inspector. As a Washington native, he roots for the Mariners to one day make it to the World Series.