Learning more about consumption levels and investing in a standby-saver or two to cut down on waste energy is a great way to start becoming more green in the home, but there are also ways to utilize renewable energy when you're out and about.
Not only can energy harnessed from kinetic, solar and wind-power save on batteries and mains charging, it also offers genuinely useful benefits in those situations where traditional sources of power are unavailable.
Wind-up devices, such as torches, radios and torch-radios offer distinct benefits since these typically consume very little power and can go for many hours on a full-charge. This technology is slowly making its way into more modern gadgets however, such as the Eco Media Player (£129.99/ USD$350) , which offers 40 to 45 minutes of playback from just one-minute of charging. There’s even talk of wind-up cellphones that use kinetic energy and the wind-up remote control from EZ Power is available now for a pocket-friendly £19.95.
Blown awayWind-power is less practical when it comes to portable devices, unless you happen to live in Texas , but there have still been some developments in this area. The Orange wind charger can potentially charge a phone in under two hours and both the HYmini and Kinesis K2 combine solar and wind power.
Shine-onSolar power is perhaps the most well known of renewable energy solutions for portable devices, and panels have been woven into all manner of accessories to subsidize or replace batteries. The SCOTTeVEST Solar Jacket is rather expensive at upwards of USD$200 but is a good example of how this technology can be integrated into everyday items. Solar equipped backpacks and bags are also springing up everywhere and there are some interesting ideas being floated about how solar portability might be expanded even further - even applied to headphones.
Perhaps the most useful portable solar products are multi-purpose portable chargers. Solio leads the line with compact devices like the portable solar charger (USD$49.99) and the versatile H1000 hybrid.
These typically come with a range of connectors to support all manner of gadgets, media players and mobile phones, and in most cases specific adapters are available for different makes and models when a compatible attachment isn’t supplied.