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Buy Renewable Energy for people living in Rented Accomodation

Updated on January 5, 2010

Renewable Energy in Rented Accommodation

I love the idea of having my own renewable energy, from cases when the electricity goes out (say during a storm) to the hight cost of electricity bills having some way to get electricity independent from the company providers is important to me. So what's the problem? Well I live in rented accommodation. This means I have to get permission from the land lord to do any installing of solar panels or wind turbines etc. My land lord is not the sort who wants the hassle of complaining neighbors or anything above collecting the monthly check.

This is not an ideal situation but I have found a few ways to supplement my energy needs. I am an avid outdoors person and some of the solutions I have found have actually come from things I got for camping. The solar rope lights to the right are one item I bought for the tent but use in the flat as well. The light is not enough to say read a book but its a great way to have a night light. Walking into a dark room is much easier with this lovely light (its a bit like star light) and the solar charger is fixed to a window so never adds to my electricity bills.

Another favorite of mine is this wild grass solar garden light. It is designed for the outdoors but I use it close to potted plants next to the window. They make for a great conversation piece when people come to visit, especially if we all come back to my place and its after dark. These little lights are pretty useful and a lot of fun to have. It may not be the ideal, having a wind turbine for example but it does make a difference if I don't have to turn on a main light when passing through a room. It has always seemed silly to me to turn a light on for a few seconds and I usually just walk through the dark but these give me just enough so that I don't trip.

Free portable power for your batteries

From TV remotes to my cell phones I have quite a few batteries to keep charged. In my searches for a solution to recharging batteries like my cell phone and for the various remotes I have come across two very interesting bits of tech.

The first is the free loader. This advanced bit of kit charges any hand held device anywhere, anytime. The way it works is to charge its internal battery using the solar panels (it can also charge via a USB charging cable). It will then recharge your favorite devices such as your MP3 player from its internal battery.

The appeal for me is that I can strap it to the outside of a back pack and be able to charge my batteries as I am out and about. I do not need to find a power source or go home because my cell phone has died. You may not need it but the USB charging capability is a real bonus because it means you are not limited to charging from sun light alone and gives you real options.

Hand Crank Self Power

I really love this one, something about being able to manually generate electricity myself feels liberating. I actually have several different sorts of hand crank lights, my husband and I both have small ones that we use as simple flashlights around the house and out camping. We have a larger unit with a lot of LED lights that are bright enough to act like a spot light, it also has AM/FM radio built in. We are currently waiting to receive one with both solar charging option and cell phone charging option.

Winding up one of these may seem like a bit of work at first but its not really that big a deal. I sometimes wind up the larger one while watching TV in the evening and the smaller ones I charge for a minute of less when I need to actually use them. When we went camping last summer these wind up flashlights came in really handy and the job of winding them up when to the kids! If you have kids I would highly suggest that they get the job of winding your flash lights as our kids were fascinated with the fact that they could create light. They did tend to want to keep the light on while winding the lights but after dark this was not a problem at all. 


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    • kirstenblog profile image

      kirstenblog 8 years ago from London UK

      Your in a pretty difficult situation Home Girl. All the available solutions are really like an investment in your future bills, a spend money to save money situation. The most basic step is to make sure that all appliances are as energy efficient as possible but this in and of itself is expensive to do in the first instance. Equipment like portable solar panels might help reduce the electricity you use from the power companies but again the initial cost is going to be hard. It's particularly hard if your potential landlord has not invested in the building as far as good insulation and power efficient stuff (like the heating system or if the place comes with a fridge freezer etc.) There are ways to do limit power consumption like using low energy light bulbs and having timers on things like your TV that will cut the power when its not needed (these things do use power on stand by). The biggest thing I could suggest is to find out if there are government run programs to help make residential buildings more efficient. If you were here in the UK I would suggest looking into grants that will improve insulation in the walls and roof. I imagine other countries are offering similar schemes because of carbon reduction targets they have agreed to aim for. I do pay for gas, water and electricity separately from the rent too, it has motivated me to buy better, more energy efficient stuff whenever I can. If you do move into this rental with separate electricity bills please feel free to email me with specific info (like is it a house or an apartment or a converted apartment in a house) and I would be happy to share what I do to keep my bills as low as possible because I take it to extremes! I even leave hot water in the bath to help heat the house and then use that water to flush the toilet.

    • profile image

      Home Girl 8 years ago

      I am contemplating to move into a rental with hydro you are supposed to pay separately. I do not know what to do as I am scared I will not be able to pay for it. Any ideas? Is it possible to use something differently. Heating, stove, everything seems electrical!

    • hypnodude profile image

      Andrea 8 years ago from Italy

      Definitely right. I don't know in the USA but here in Italy almost everything green costs a lot of money and, especially in these hard times, not everyone can afford them. I'm not so sure it's only because they have a greater cost of production, otherwise why almost everyone is jumping on the green train? Even those companies which are the main responsible for pollution? So I begun to look around and found that as you rightly said camping tools can be the right answer. I'm planning to buy soon a solar generator, which even if not extremely powerful, at least will give me the freedom to use my own energy.

      Great hub Kirsten.

    • mpurcell10 profile image

      mpurcell10 8 years ago from Arkansas

      We were talking about getting a hand cranked radio for bad weather. I am looking into lighting for when the power goes out. You would think in the south were there is little snow we wouldn't lose powere so much.

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 8 years ago

      Great products. Thanks

    • Susana S profile image

      Susana S 8 years ago

      Interesting hub and interesting products - I didn't know most of them existed! We have a wind up torch and solar panels on our motor home but I've never seen a solar powered indoor lamp. Great stuff!