It’s common knowledge that generating electricity with solar and wind is a green living move but did you know we can take it one step further by using green building materials to build our own solar panels?
Generally speaking, building materials are considered green when they are not detrimental to the environment or people. Green products can be recycled materials, which put waste to good use, eliminating the need to dispose of them in landfills. Using recycled materials also eliminates the need for energy and resources to make the same product again. By combining the effort to produce electricity for your family’s needs with finding productive uses for used-but-useful materials, we can take going green to a whole new level.
Generating electricity using the sun and wind is no longer the mystery it once was. Entrepreneurs are now explaining in plain English how solar and wind energy work to power electrical appliances. They go a step further by explaining how to build solar panels and wind generators, giving us a lot of latitude in the types of materials we use to create these power producers.
For example, the face of the solar panels can be tempered glass, Plexiglas® or a number of other clear products. Local glass outlets often carry used tempered glass. Used patio doors, for instance, come in a variety of dimensions. Any of these sizes can accommodate the 36 solar cells need to generate the necessary 17 to 19 volts.
As an added bonus to recycling perfectly good glass, these used tempered glass sheets, which can start at about $25, cost far less than buying new tempered glass, which generally runs over $10 a square foot. The resulting savings can be over $100 per solar panel, not to mention the money you save making your own solar panels over buying factory (or foreign) made ones.
The backing of the solar panel is another place where recycled materials will work as well as new. Building surplus outlets that carry used-but-good building materials sometimes have plywood seconds or used acrylic panels that will work just fine as a backing for your green solar panel.
With the rising cost of buying electricity from the power companies, it makes more sense than ever to look into generating some or all the electricity you need to power your home.
Understanding how solar panels and wind generators work is an important step in learning how to harness — recycle — sunlight and wind into electric power you can use. Using environmentally friendly green products is a sensible way to take green to a whole new level.
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