You cannot go very far these days without hearing the terms renewable solar energy or wind power in one form of media or social interaction or another.  The talk of renewable and sustainable energy sources is exciting and controversial in many ways.  But what if there was a way to harness both wind and solar energy sustainably every day in your own backyard through free or inexpensive methods?  Here are some ideas to help you do just that!

  • Solar cooking: As children there were always stories about it being such a hot day you could fry an egg on the pavement.  While that may not sound tantalizing to the taste buds, there are methods of harnessing solar power to cook a variety of foods.  You can purchase a solar oven or assemble one yourself with a little bit of time and know-how.  To do solar cooking, one has to collect and concentrate the sun’s rays with a reflective surface such as aluminum foil.  And then direct that renewable energy to a metal base or pot with a lid that converts it to heat and cooks the food resulting in an inexpensive and sustainably powered crock pot.
  • Line dry laundry: A dryer is one of the top energy-consuming household appliances in the average home, so this might be a good place to start. The initial investment involves clothespins and a line to dry clothes which you can purchase pre-assembled or just buy the clothesline rope and do it yourself at minimal cost.  A sunny spot that might contain a breeze is a perfect location.  A little pre-planning is required though, as it can take several hours to dry clothes depending on time of year, weather and location.  If clothes come out stiff a 5-10 minute fluff in the dryer does the trick!
  • Sun drying food: This is probably one of the most ancient forms of food preservation known to man.  But with the advent of freezers and canning, it has become a lost art.  Sun drying food is far less expensive as it requires only an initial investment of a drying screen and an elevated surface to keep food off the ground.  The technique varies slightly depending upon the type of food, but it is a widely used and delicious method of preserving food.
Sunflair Portable Solar Oven with Complete Cookware and Thermometer
Amazon Price: $109.99 Buy Now
(price as of Aug 9, 2015)