Everyday Clean Energy Solutions Revealed

There’s a lot of “green” money being thrown around out there from President Obama’s economic stimulus package (ARRA) and other sources that has everyone talking about Alternative Fuels and Renewable Energy, e.g. electric cars, plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), wind power, solar power, hydro-power. It seems that there are a lot of carrots being dangled out there in front of us — solutions that are coming, but not quite here yet. So what can we do about it? What solutions are available today? (OK, besides the Prius).

Renewable Energy is not just a topic for politicians, government programs and do-good organizations. Did you know there are things YOU can do to help preserve the environment today? And they are cheaper than you might think! While you’re at it, you will be helping our nation become more self-sustaining, thereby promoting our national security. Here are some things you can do right now:

1. Convert your car to an Electric Vehicle (EV).

Here you have a few options: (1) you could take your car to a shop that does this and have it professionally done for $15,000-$25,000; (2) you could buy a kit and do it yourself for $5000-$15,000; or (3) you could do it yourself from scratch for $500-$5000. This is not as far out of reach as you might think. Even if you are not mechanically inclined, you probably know someone who is and would be glad to help (just trade for piano lessons or something). All you need is a good instruction guide, some basic shop equipment, and a little help from time to time. Chances are, there are people in your neighborhood who have done this already or are in the process. Check around. A good source of information is your local chapter of the Electric Auto Association. Keep in mind that the range of your electric vehicle will be much less than it was before. You may get as much as 100 miles before you need to recharge the batteries. For most of us that covers 90% of our driving in a given day, but there are times we want to go further. My advice is to keep your existing car for the long trips and find a vehicle with a blown engine but otherwise in good condition that the seller is willing to part with for a few hundred dollars. Convert that and now you’ve got something better than a hybrid!

2. Build your own Solar (Photovoltaic) Panels.

Most people would love to have their electric bill reduced. Don’t count on the electric company reducing rates. Instead, do something to capture an endless source of energy… the Sun. Most people are thrown off by the high price of state-of-the-art photovoltaic panels. Let’s face it, most of us don’t have $70,000 or so sitting around with nothing better to do. But did you know that you can make your own panels for only a couple hundred a-piece? OK, so they’re not going to be the super-efficient, high-tech gadgets that you pay thousands for, but hey! You aren’t paying thousands. Best of all, you can start with one at a time and get better at it as you go. Before you know it, you’ll have a whole system generating enough power during the day to run your lights at night. You might even have enough extra to sell back to the electric company. Think of that!

3. Capture the power of the Wind.

Do you live where it is constantly windy? Well, even if you don’t, you could benefit from building your own wind generator. OK, so if it’s always dead calm at your house, this may not work for you. But in most places even if it is calm during the day the wind generally picks up at night, enough to generate a reasonable amount of electricity – a perfect supplement to the solar panels that can only work during the day. Best of all, you can make a wind generator yourself and avoid the big up-front costs of a brand-new one. Get some plans, buy the materials and get to it!

4. Make your own Bio diesel.

People have been doing this for years. You can power your truck, car, generator, fuel-oil furnace; basically anything that takes standard diesel can take bio diesel. Right now you can buy bio diesel from some gas stations at about the same cost as regular fuel. The only thing you get is the satisfaction that you can sit and breathe the emissions without worrying about health problems. So what if you want a cheaper alternative? Get a supply of grease from your local restaurant and put it to good use. This is not a cakewalk, remember you’re dealing with fuel here, but it is pretty simple. As long as you carefully strain, mix and heat according to reliable detailed instructions, you will end up with a recycled, clean, multi-use fuel source. Don’t get scared off by the people that say bio diesel is bad for your engine. As long as you take precautions and follow some simple maintenance procedures, your engine will run just fine. If you live in a colder climate, during the winter you may need to mix standard diesel with the bio diesel to help keep it from gelling. Even at a 50% mix, you’re still running a cheaper, cleaner rig.

So what does Renewable and Alternative energy have to do with you? Everything! If we all did just one thing for our environment, we would find ourselves living in a cleaner world, breathing cleaner air and living better lives. I’ve shared just a few examples, but as you can see, there are things that you can do to improve and preserve your living environment today. You may not be able to do all of these things, but all you have to do is start somewhere. If you need help finding a good instructional, visit my web site. I think you’ll find that as you begin to take initiative on some of these things and build them with your own hands, you will gain confidence, security and self-worth. Perhaps best of all, you’ll be putting money back in your own pocket.