8 Completely Awesome DIY Home Energy Projects

June 9, 2009

diy renewable energy 8 Completely Awesome DIY Home Energy Projects

Small-scale renewable energy is a must for a sustainable home – but converting your home to clean energy options can carry a huge initial price tag.  We’ve scoured the web for some of the most innovative examples of homemade energy solutions to compile a collective list of DIY projects to make your home greener and more energy efficient without costing you a fortune.  From solar water heaters and gadget chargers to homemade super-efficient refrigerators, you’ll find links (with instructions) to some of the best projects you can make at home…

Homemade Energy-Save Fridge

air fridge hack 8 Completely Awesome DIY Home Energy Projects

The ‘Ambient Air Fridge’ isn’t quite a year-round green appliance but when things cool down in the winter, this homemade fridge will definitely shave a few dollars off the electric bill!  The insulated wood box fits snugly in an out-of-the-way doorway and even controls the temperature with an inexpensive thermostat and a couple of computer fans.  

DIY Electric Lawn Mower

electric lawn mower 8 Completely Awesome DIY Home Energy Projects

A small DC motor, two 12-volt batteries, a circuit breaker, and wiring can transform your polluting, fossil-fuel dependent lawn mower into a clean, green, grass mowing machine!   The first version of Lee’s mower required an electric battery charger.  After a few more updates, Lee has created a completely eco-friendly solar powered electric mower.

Make Your Own Wind Turbine

gotwind mini turbine 8 Completely Awesome DIY Home Energy Projects

It may not generate enough power to charge up your electric mower, but this mini-windmill from GotWind.org is a great way to operate small power tools or turn on your garden lights.  DIY wind turbine projects are a bit more complicated than some of the other renewable energy options available, but are well worth the effort when it comes to off-grid living.  There are an assortment of plans available for more powerful wind generators, but do some research before buying.  You’ll find a good selection of reasonably priced DIY wind power projects at GotWind.  

Low Cost Solar Water Heater

solar water heater 8 Completely Awesome DIY Home Energy Projects

Imagine the savings on your electric bill – and the environmental benefits – if you no longer depended on fossil fuels to warm your water!  This DIY solar water heater is inexpensive to build and provides scalding hot water in just a couple hours.  This particular project requires a little scavenging if you want to keep things cheap and the 5-gallon bucket isn’t quite enough hot water for the average family, but the mirrored solar pre-heater found on Wired actually pumps the heated water into a household tank.

Pedal Powered Generator

bike generator 8 Completely Awesome DIY Home Energy Projects

From laptops to cell phones to blenders – bicycle generators eliminate the need for electricity to power your favorite gadgets and allow you to stay in shape at the same time.  This particular pedal-powered charger was created by the librarian at Phillips Elementary School in Virginia – shouldn’t all schools utilize these?!  You’ll also find free plans for a solar assisted bicycle generator here or can purchase plans from the pedal power generating master, David Butcher, for $50 – including photos and online support.

DIY Hydro Power

water wheel 8 Completely Awesome DIY Home Energy Projects

It’s scenic, it’s rustic, it’s tranquil – and it’s clean, renewable energy.  This DIY water wheel was created with many recycled materials and generates about half of the designer’s electrical needs – complementing the output of his solar panels at the New England home.  Hydro energy is an old, but not forgotten, sustainable energy option!

Human Powered Laundry Machine

human powered washer 8 Completely Awesome DIY Home Energy Projects

Simple construction and easy, manual operation make this energy-free washing machine the perfect choice for developing countries, as well as off-grid living.  Designed by Michael Perdriel, the ‘think-small washer’ agitates clothes by pumping the mechanical arm and can clean a load of laundry in less than half an hour.  The machine is currently in use in Nepal and features a portable, wheeled design for convenient filling and emptying.

Homemade Solar Gadget Charger

solar 485 8 Completely Awesome DIY Home Energy Projects

A small DIY solar charger like this one is an ideal backup if the power goes out, but this project can easily be expanded to serve as much more than an emergency power source.  The version pictured here costs about $150 to build and can charge up cell phones, laptops, or iPods or could power a portable DVD player at the pool.  The 12-volt battery requires about 8 hours of sunlight for a full charge and the unit is perfect for camping use or at home.

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Comments

  • Jeff9

    This covers all the bases = saves you money, helps the environment, helps your health, makes you feel better, it's so easy to do and it costs less than $50.00; Save money and the Earth and be clean at the same time! Add Bathroom Bidet Sprayers to all your bathrooms. I think Dr. Oz on Oprah said it best: “if you had pee or poop on your hand, you wouldn't wipe it off with paper, would you? You'd wash it off” Available at http://www.bathroomsprayers.com with these you won't even need toilet paper any more, just a towel to dry off! Don’t worry, you can still leave some out for guests and can even make it the soft stuff without felling guilty. It's cheap and can be installed without a plumber; and runs off the same water line to your toilet. You'll probably pay for it in a few months of toilet paper savings. And after using one of these you won't know how you lasted all those years with wadded up handfuls of toilet paper. As for water use a drought is always a concern and must be dealt far exceed the water use of household users and in the case of toilet paper manufacture it is huge. The pollution and significant power use from that manufacturing process also contributes to global warming so switching to a hand bidet sprayer and lowering your toilet paper use is very green in multiple ways. Blog; THE BUTT OF TOO MANY JOKES;http://jeff9.livejournal.com/1603.html

  • Jeff9

    This covers all the bases = saves you money, helps the environment, helps your health, makes you feel better, it's so easy to do and it costs less than $50.00; Save money and the Earth and be clean at the same time! Add Bathroom Bidet Sprayers to all your bathrooms. I think Dr. Oz on Oprah said it best: “if you had pee or poop on your hand, you wouldn't wipe it off with paper, would you? You'd wash it off” Available at http://www.bathroomsprayers.com with these you won't even need toilet paper any more, just a towel to dry off! Don’t worry, you can still leave some out for guests and can even make it the soft stuff without felling guilty. It's cheap and can be installed without a plumber; and runs off the same water line to your toilet. You'll probably pay for it in a few months of toilet paper savings. And after using one of these you won't know how you lasted all those years with wadded up handfuls of toilet paper. As for water use a drought is always a concern and must be dealt far exceed the water use of household users and in the case of toilet paper manufacture it is huge. The pollution and significant power use from that manufacturing process also contributes to global warming so switching to a hand bidet sprayer and lowering your toilet paper use is very green in multiple ways. Blog; THE BUTT OF TOO MANY JOKES;http://jeff9.livejournal.com/1603.html

  • anonymous

    how about we take this challenge

    Kick the buckets and hose, no car wash at home

    A typical car wash lasting 10 minutes uses approximately 100 gallons of water. What if we could conserve hundreds of gallons of water in one week. Go to a local car wash that uses recycled water or use an eco-friendly waterless car wash
    http://rejuvenateauto.com/car-wash-waterless.php

    It takes only 15 minutes, is effective and uses no wate

  • anonymous

    how about we take this challenge

    Kick the buckets and hose, no car wash at home

    A typical car wash lasting 10 minutes uses approximately 100 gallons of water. What if we could conserve hundreds of gallons of water in one week. Go to a local car wash that uses recycled water or use an eco-friendly waterless car wash
    http://rejuvenateauto.com/car-wash-waterless.php

    It takes only 15 minutes, is effective and uses no wate

  • Chris

    Recycled water? You mean they don't make their water by combining hydrogen and oxygen atoms, but instead recycle old water?!?!?! I’m sorry, I care for the environment and everything, but I can’t stand to drink water that has been used before, I need it as fresh as it can be!

  • joejimaug

    My wife and I have implemented a diy rain barrel into our recycling program. Works great for those plants that need more than weekly waterings.

  • insulation

    nice share
    keep it up. check also http://www.garage-door-insulation.blogspot.com

  • dannas

    Wow! I don't know which one I want best… I should probably begin with my electricity system, I have some big changes in plan and I rely on my Chicago electrician to cope with me. Thanks for this great post, it really gave me few awesome ideas!

  • houstoncomputerrecycler

    These great little green gadgets reminded me of some commercial products I saw the Go Green Expo in New York City last year. It is amazing what can be done with recycled electronics!

  • http://www.diysolarpanelsworld.com John@ DIY Solar Panels

    To double the fun, I recommend combining the solar heater and the solar electric generator so it can produce electricity and warm water with only 1 panel.

    When photovoltaic solar panels become hot, their output is reduced. Therefore we can cool it by running water through thin copper tubes behind the solar panels. In this way, water that's heated up can also be used.

    Other than this, I'll definitely try out the pedal powered generator. Seems like the perfect exercise solution for the desktop warrior. (talk about multi-tasking…)

  • mdea

    It's pretty cool. Tells you how much you can save by going greet at home, and specifically what ways you should do it.
    designer clothes

  • jon665

    may be I`ll build one like the bicycle,that way I have to keep my blood flowing when I play poker.And the Laundry machine Loocks simple to build.