Sometimes all you need to go green is an active imagination and some common sense. You don't need to have thousands of dollars to invest and you don't need to be an expert in any field either.
Take Daniel Strohl, for example, he had inspiration from his father and a desire to warm up his garage. A few soda cans later he has a homemade solar furnace to warm it up.
I understand what its like to have a cold garage especially during the winter. Just to wash clothes, I have to put on socks, shoes and a jacket because my washer and dryer happen to be in my garage. It's ridiculous considering that on the other side of the garage door is my semi-warm house. I say semi-warm because my house doesn't stay that warm either.
Now, I know it's not winter anymore, but I keep thinking that if only there was a cheap way to warm up my garage or even my house for next winter it would make my life a little easier. I haven't been able to come up with an affordable solution, but Daniel Strohl sure has. The best part about it is that he is sharing his innovation with the world.
Thanks to Treehugger I can now go to his blog and see the step by step process in which it took him to make this solar furnace. Surprisingly, he didn't use fancy equipment to build it. Instead his materials included aluminum soda cans, some plywood, nails, and Plexiglas. He also used a vacuum hose, some 2 x 4s, adhesive caulk and a little bit of black BBQ paint. I don't have to look around my house to know I already have most of these materials. There are a few other items he needed to build the solar furnace, but for the most part and from the looks of it it seems simple enough to make, even for me.
Are you wondering what the benefits of making a homemade soda can solar furnace are? Well, you generate free heat for your garage (perhaps other place in your home if you can think of a way) and you reuse material you probably already have in your home. So, you recycle and you save money. Not bad if you ask me.
Daniel Strohl is planning to build another more efficient solar furnace one of these days. He's even taking his readers suggestions into consideration, such as using glass instead of Plexiglas or flatting the soda cans instead of drilling holes in them. The only thing I suggest is not to overdose yourself on soda just to have enough soda cans to use. There are easier and healthier ways to collect soda cans. Collect them from friends, family and neighbors or maybe a recycling center will let you have some. Don't drink them all yourself.
A solar furnace is a pretty neat idea and at prices like these almost everyone can afford to go solar. What do you think? The only drawback, depending on where you live, is that you may have to consider where you place this funny looking solar furnace in case your HOA has a problem with it and wants to fine you a fee for it. For more information take a look at Daniel Strohl's blog.