What does a Garden Gnome do when she is not gardening, in the kitchen or doing genealogy? Well the answer might just surprise you so read the entries to find out more. This blog focuses on everything we do to make our house a home. There will be a strong emphasis on home energy efficiency and do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. At the same time there will also be crafts, knitting and crocheting projects along with any other little tips we do to create that down to earth, I want to be here home. Please enjoy your visit :)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

How to Build a Solar Light Bulb

Solar power really is the wave of the future.  Currently it is a bit too expensive for many homeowners and not easily incorporated into rental units.  However, there are many simple, DIY solar projects using recycled or low cost parts that can help save a bit of money.  For example:  solar ovens, solar water heating,  solar window heaters, solar greenhouses and cold frames are all something anyone can make using recycled materials.  You really don't have to spend a lot of money to start using a bit of solar around you home.  What you do need is a bit of imagination!

I was browsing YouTube videos the other day for a few gardening ideas when I stumbled upon solar light bulbs.  Now this is about as ingenious as you can get!  Each light bulb is made using a recycled 2 L plastic pop bottle, water, a little chlorine bleach, a small piece of corrugated metal, glue and sealant.  As simple as this sounds, each one of these solar light bulbs produces the equivalent of a 50 W light bulb but uses only solar power.  Basically, the solar lights work this well because the water causes the natural light to refract resulting in a amplification of the light hitting the solar light.  These solar lights are being used in under developed countries like Brazil and Mexico, bringing light into homes where little existed and they are even being used in storage facilities and factories.  The down side is these lights only work during the daylight hours but that is when most of household lighting is used anyway so they will still save money.  Household lighting at night is task or room specific, usually only for a couple of hours.

I can see a definite use in our area of southwestern Ontario for lighting up chicken coops, out buildings like tool sheds and covered boat wells.  It might be possible to adapt these lights for use in an attic but that would mean cutting one or more holes in your house roof, something that might not be desirable.  Well sealed, the solar lights should not leak but for household indoor application an actual solar tub be a better solution.  It does freeze in our area during the winter but a clear anti-freeze agent could be added to the water that wouldn't interfere with the light refraction.  Either glycerin or alcohol would work to prevent the water freezing. 

Here's a video demonstrating how to make the solar lights: 

Garden Gnome