Daily headlines make everyone aware of the dangerous situation in which our environment must operate. The human population has historically overtaxed its natural resources and today we are seeing the long-term effects of this selfish behavior. While many people try to reduce their “carbon footprint” by recycling, spending their money in more effective ways and eating a more “earth friendly” diet, one of the most important practices we should all begin is improving our energy efficiency. One of the most well developed methods of becoming energy efficient is through the use of renewable energies such as outdoor solar lights. In fact solar power is the best developed and most broadly applied of the modern energy technologies and almost anyone can use it to reduce their traditional energy consumption.
How? It is actually quite simple to recognize the ways in which the sun’s energy can be put to use in even the most basic methods. For example, during the hot summer months a home owner or apartment dweller could close all window blinds, curtains or shades to reduce their need for Air Conditioning or home cooling. (Imagine a summer without warnings about “rolling blackouts” because everyone has to keep their air conditioner turned to its highest settings simply because they allowed the sun to pound into the room all day long.) Alternately during the winter months they could easily rely on the sun’s warmth to heat up a room during the earlier hours of the day and then close the blinds before dusk in order to capture the remaining heat. Those who have the financial means can use solar energy in a significantly wider number of ways, and not just to heat their domestic hot water or supply their homes with some energy. While such functions are ideally where all home owners should be headed, currently the materials and equipment required to convert a home’s energy supply entirely to a solar powered system are not within everyone’s budget or ability. Home owners can however employ a wide number of solar powered LED lights and appliances (including radios, solar landscape lights, ovens and attic fans) as an effective approach towards energy efficiency.
Finally, solar power has finally reached the automobile industry and several major manufacturers have promised consumers that they will make cars with rooftop solar panels available by the year 2010. While such vehicles may not be fully powered through solar energy it is clearly a step towards a healthier planet.