This week at TreeHugger: We uncover another great way to stick it to the local power utility, with a DIY project called the Pedal Powered Prime Mover that'll juice up your TV and almost anything else that plugs in. Plus, Israel s energy future is so bright, they have to wear shades: the National Solar Energy Center will soon start testing a ginormous solar collecting dish capable of concentrating the intensity of the sun's energy by a factor of a thousand. Lastly, a reader wonders why Americans aren't taught to turn off the lights when they leave a room; the answer inspires readers from around the globe to weigh in.
David Butcher has your lazy days in his sights. He has constructed what he's calling the "Pedal Powered Prime Mover," and uses it to power everything from his TV to air compressor to vacuum cleaner. For anyone feeling compelled to offset their couch-potato TV-watching with stationary bike-riding, David is offering plans, so you can build your own power generator. Got a screwdriver, hacksaw, wrench, hand drill, and wood chisel, plus a spare day? Perfect. A bit of galvanised water pipe, and some particleboard later, you ll soon be enjoying The Simpsons and burning calories at the same time.
Israel s National Solar Energy Center will soon begin testing a 400 square meter solar collecting dish. The huge dish, lined with 216 mirrors, is capable of concentrating the intensity of the sun's energy by a factor of a thousand. That'd be pretty darn bright, so no more than a quarter of the mirrors will be uncovered to sunlight for the initial experiments. The mirrors concentrate the light onto a small square of concentrator photovoltaic cells, which convert the light into electricity. Just don't forget your sunglasses...
Lastly, a TreeHugger reader wonders "why people in the US are not taught to turn off the lights when they leave the room. This is especially evident in all the businesses (offices and stores) across the country that have most of the lights (computers and other electric appliances) turned on, even at night." Good question. Are we too dang lazy, or maybe just afraid of the dark? Some of our readers/commenters thoroughly disagree with the answer.
TreeHugger's EcoModo column appears every Tuesday on Gizmodo.