Renewable Energy – Make The Switch Over Winter

Interested in switching to renewable energy? Learn more about the different types, and if they will work for you. Find out how to make the switch, get tips from Megan.

How to Make the Switch to Renewable Energy

Over the Winter and Save


If you’re like many homeowners out there, you know the importance of transitioning your household to renewable energy, but you’re really not sure where to begin. All the information out there can is a little overwhelming. What kind of system should you change to?

Do you want wind power? Solar Power? Would they even work in your area? How much will the installation cost? With all these questions running through your head, it’s understandable that you wonder if renewable energy is even worth the time and effort.

You’ll be relieved to find out that transitioning to renewable energy really isn’t as difficult as it may seem, and won’t cost you an arm and a leg. All it takes is a few small changes within your home, and you’ll be on the way to reducing your carbon footprint — and simultaneously saving some dollars in the process.

Here are some small and large changes you can undertake to get your household on track to 100% clean energy.

Easy Changes

Not all improvements for your home have to be major changes. Some of the quickest and most efficient ways to save on your energy bill are done with the simplest of transitions.


  1. Switch the Light Bulbs

One of the easiest things you can do to cutting down on energy costs and make your house more energy efficient is switching out traditional light bulbs for energy-saving ones. These could be LED lights, CFLs or halogen incandescent lighting, which last years longer than traditional light bulbs, saving you money.

If you’re unsure of what type of light bulb you should look for, make sure that it has the ENERGY STAR label given by the EPA.

  1. Inspect Your Home

Whether you have a newer or older home, an easy way to reduce energy waste during the winter months is to check the caulking on all your windows, doors and weather stripping and look for any weak spots and air leaks. It’s an easy fix that has a big impact on how hard your heating system runs during the winter. Besides, who wouldn’t want to eliminate those chilly drafts? Cozy is so much better for you and the environment.

  1. Track Your Carbon Footprint

Tracking your carbon footprint is a great way to get the whole family involved in making smarter choices about energy use. The EPA has even made it super simple by developing a calculator specifically for the home. Knowing your current CO2 emissions level is exactly what you need to begin making changes, which could be as simple as having a family checklist for turning off devices at night or committing to using less electricity.

Ambitious Changes

By slightly more ambitious, this means that you will want to look at some changes that might require a bit of a larger investment or implementation, but will still ultimately save your household money and be eco-friendly.

  1. Switch to Energy Efficient Appliances

Heating your home during the cold winter months can have a huge impact on your energy bill — and ultimately your bank account. Use the same ENERGY STAR method to find heating and cooling systems, washer/dryers and even dishwashers that are more energy efficient. This will be the most effective in driving down the cost of your monthly energy bill.

However, if replacing all of those units at once isn’t in the cards, you can also take simple steps to maintain your existing units by investing in a programmable thermostat, changing out air filters regularly or just having an expert out for regular maintenance.

  1. Switching to Battery Power

One of the great innovations from Tesla is a home battery, which you can power your home from to be more energy efficient. It sounds a bit too good to be true, but it’s actually rather easy to install and can help your home become almost 100% energy efficient. The Tesla Powerwall is a rechargeable battery that can take itself off the power grid periodically to save on energy costs and also cut down on your household energy use. The newest model can run a two-bedroom household for an entire day.

Large-Scale Changes

Even though these choices are the most ambitious of the lot, doesn’t mean they’re extremely difficult. Switching completely to clean energy will just be a larger investment than the previous options, but will have a huge payoff for your pocket and the planet.

Invest in Solar Power

Solar energy is one of the easiest ways to convert your home to 100% clean energy. Installing a full solar panel system can even transition how your heating and cooling system run. In fact, if you invest in solar energy, you can receive a 30% tax deduction from the government. You can even couple your efforts together with the Tesla Powerwall. The battery will store the energy taken from the solar panels, and use it when on days when energy production is lower.

Harness the Wind

Energy generated from the wind doesn’t always have to come from the huge wind farms you see across the US. There are also at-home options for you to incorporate into your household. Wind power is actually more stable than solar power, so if reliability is one of your concerns, wind energy might be a better choice.

Whatever additions or changes you decide to make to make your home more eco-friendly, it’s important that you try. Not only is it beneficial to your monthly budget, but you‘ll also do your part to help reduce CO2 emissions across the country, which is a very achievable goal. Everyone just needs to do their part.



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Solar Lamp DIY – Light Your Outdoor Living Space

Make your summer nights beautiful by creating your own outdoor ambiance with this Solar Lamp DIY project.


Solar Lamp DIY

Add Some Style to Your Outdoor Living


I have been wanting to make a solar lamp for our backyard patio area for a long time. So, I kept an eye out for the perfect base to accomplish my goal. Luke and I stumbled upon a tall candlestick with a concrete base that we thought would work perfectly.

Gather What You Need:

Since this lamp is tall and will be outside (where you may get a breeze), we needed a heavy base to support the lamp. We found our base on clearance at one of our favorite craft and hobby stores. You could also find a heavy candlestick or lamp base at a thrift store or garage sale.

We picked up a hanging plant basket, a solar yard lamp, and a long screw with a washer to complete our project needs list. Choose a yard lamp and planter basket that fit the proportions of your base stand. We already had a can of black spray paint, some fine-to-medium sandpaper, and a couple pieces of scrap wood. You will also need zip ties, a pair of vice grips, saw, miter box, and a drill.

Make A Plan:

The first step in our project was to assess our components and come up with a plan that would work the best to provide stability and durability. Make sure you measure everything, so you can be sure to have the proper length screw(s), etc. for your project. Having a solid plan helps the work go together faster.

Get Started with the Fitting Process:

We removed the glass candle holder (I used that for something else later). As you can see in the first photo, our glass candleholder sat down inside a metal dish attached to our stand. A second metal piece inside the glass allowed for a screw to hold the glass to the stand. This second piece turned over and fit perfectly over the first piece. We made a wood block to fill the space to give strength and stability to support our yard lamp and planter basket. We marked it with an “X” to find the center for drilling a hole for the screw.

Take the stem off your solar yard lamp. Measure the stub on the lamp that the stem fits over. Then, decide how tall you want your lamp to be with the planter basket shade on it. Once you have the proper height, measure and cut the stem. We used a saw and miter box.

Now, you want to find a scrap of wood that you can cut (and file if needed) to fit snugly inside the stem. This will add strength to your stem to support the weight of the lamp head and planter basket. You want to cut this wood to a length where your screw will go from the top of the wood and screw into the base of your lamp. This screw is what holds the lamp together. Make sure there is plenty of room for the screw head and lamp stub to fit easily into the stem. Drill a hole all the way through the scrap wood (length-wise). Then, shove the wood scrap inside the stem, it should be tight.

Getting the Lampshade Ready:

A wire hanging planter basket makes a great lampshade for your solar lamp (use the coconut liner for another garden basket). The one problem with the basket is the bottom wire supports. They will cut across the solar panel of the lamp. Those wires need to be removed. A pair of vice grips makes this an easy job. Just a little wiggle and jiggle, and you’re done. Watch this quick video:


How simple is that?


Test Fit:

It is always important to test fit any project. Get the bugs out, and make any tweaks and adjustments that are needed, before you put on the final paint and polish.

Start by making sure your base is ready to add the solar lamp. For us, that meant having the wood block in place inside the metal dish. Then, take the screw, with the washer, and place it through the solar lamp stem. Tighten the screw, attaching it to the base. Notice the wood does not fill the entire stem, so there is room for the screw head and the lamp stub. Place the solar lamp stub into the stem.

Set planter basket upside down on top of the solar lamp, to create a lampshade. Decide where you will need to drill the lamp cap to place zip ties for attaching the lampshade.

Attach the Lampshade:

Since we did not paint the planter basket, we attached the lamp shade to the solar lamp cap. We had a square cap, so we drilled holes on either side of each corner edge, and threaded the zip ties through. We used white for the pictures for you, so they would be easier to see.

Time for Paint:

Rough-up the base and all pieces that need painting with some fine-to-medium sandpaper, so the paint will stick well. Spray in short, even bursts at a distance of about 12 inches. Make sure everything dries thoroughly before assembling the lamp.

You can see that we changed out the white zip ties for black ones for our finished product.

I know you will enjoy this solar lamp as much as we do. It was a fun project to create, and we are getting lots of use out of it. Impress your family and friends!

Looking for another fun idea for outdoor entertaining? Check out my DIY – Bug Umbrellas For Party Drinks!







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